Tuesday 16 June 2015

Game 103 - Lizardmen - 2014/03/06

Game 5 - Chris - Lizardmen - Blood and Glory

In the next game I had a pleasure to play against another Master player, winner of 2012 Masters and my opponent from round 1 of Masters 2013 - Chris. Last time we played Chris had his highly mobile, double dragon list with Death Archmage. I greatly enjoyed our first game and I was very happy to meet Chris on the field of battle again. I was sure I could learn a thing or two again and, what's more, it was going to be a very enjoyable game. I also hoped I could repeat my good result from our first encounter! However, I was also sure that Chris would be even a harder opponent to play against as he already knew my army while I - didn't really. This time, Chris brought a very fine looking Lizardmen army led by no other than a special character Tetto Ekko (apologies for spelling errors) and 2 Old Bloods!

Lizardmen - Army List

Tetto Ekko
Old Blood, Cold One, GW, Armour of Destiny, Dawnstone, Other Trickster's Shard
Old Blood, Cold One, GW, Glittering Scales, Talisman of Preservation, Potion of Toughness
Scar Veteran - BSB, Cold One, Light Armour, Charmed Shield, Opal Amulet, Sword of Striking
Scar Veteran, Cold One, Light Armour, GW, Dragonhelm

23 Saurus Warriors, Full Command
23 Temple Guard, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
18 Skink Cohort, Full Command
18 Skink Cohort, Full Command
10 Skink Cohort
10 Skink Cohort
10 Skink Skirmishers
Stegadon Ancient
6 Chameleon Skinks

Here is the picture of the army I was about to play against:

Not quite your typical Lizardmen army - picture courtesy of ThaneG from wargamerau

Not exactly the typical Lizardmen army but there were a few usual suspects. That didn't make it look any easier though! :)

Tetto Ekko - that little bugger does not seem to be that dangerous as you may think. Just a level 2 wizard. However, he knows all the spells from the lore of Heavens and that makes him very dangerous to my MSU army. Comet and Chain Lightning on their own can inflict huge damage. Other spells also can be very dangerous and lore attribute itself is very annoying for my great eagles. The main problem with such a wizard is that it makes very difficult to choose what to dispel. What is more he can re-roll the dice to see if the comet is going to fall that particular turn or not.

His another ability is to vanguard d3 units before the battle. That may mean that some of his very dangerous Saurus, toughened by the presence of the characters, can be way closer to my lines than I wanted them to be. What is more in Blood and Glory scenario the deployment zones are even closer than usual. I didn't like that at all!

Mounted characters - these guys are tough as nails. Even without magic items it takes a lot of effort to put one down. And I had to face 4 of them, 2 of which were Old Bloods! I definitely didn't have resources to fight against all of them so I had to isolate one unit and try to overwhelm it with as many of my own as possible, hopefully inflicting enough casualties to overcome damage done by these characters to break them.

Saurus - both units of Saurus and Temple Guard didn't look that big but the presence of two characters in each (as I thought would be the case) makes a lot of a difference. I could take on one and maybe even soften it with shooting and magic but had to be decisive and do it quick before the other block could come to the rescue. If possible, I wanted to focus on regular Saurus rather than TG.

Skinks - plenty of them. Very annoying. They are very cheap and expendable but they can cause a lot of trouble to my fragile troops. Also, with their ability to divert the units they could have prevented the coordinated charges I needed to make.

Chameleons - they deserve separate entry because they are even more annoying. Scouts with the option to sit at your back and very handy -2 to hit penalty even at short range in the open. Better to deal with them with magic or some good close combat. But it is easier said than done!

Stegadon Ancient - Another tough cookie in the army. It can have a potential to devastate infantry units on its own. Very hard to defeat, in particular when close to the BSB. As if I didn't have enough of the tough guys to deal with :)

It was already a very tough army to play against but the scenario made it more difficult. First of all it positioned armies closer. I was about to face the combat orientated force, with possibility to vanguard up to 3 units. I didn't want it closer at all. I need space to manoeuvre and set the traps against such force.

Secondly, Blood and Glory, in its modified version for that tournament, meant I had to be extra careful with units with banners and with my characters. While I needed the units in combat I was in a very uncomfortable situation where I needed to do so in a way that prevented losing these with banners. I was not sure if I could do that at the same time.

Last but not least I needed to deploy well but that was also a little bit limited due to narrower deployment zone. If you add the effect of terrain it might be a tough challenge to do so.


* Prologue and Epilogue by Master Story Teller - Il Mastro of Ulthuan.net fame!

‘Did your dream tell us how long we had to search in this god-forsaken forest before we found that temple?’ Bob swatted away another mosquito as he rode next to Larry, impatience etched on his face as he spoke.

‘I like it here as little as you, but do you really doubt the power of the aethyr after all you’ve seen?’ Larry turned away from Bob and peered through the dense shrub ahead, hoping to catch a glimpse of anything important past the swinging machetes of the outcasts clearing a path. Though he had spent his whole life training with the intangible forces swirling through the world, recent events had made Larry question his teachings. The winds had changed of late; though never quite steady, it was normally easier to predict how they waxed and waned. The last few moons, however, had been something that even Larry was uncomfortable with. The aethyr had pulsed with such irregularity as to make it almost impossible to safely use even the most basic incantations. Sometimes he was unable to draw enough power for simplest of spells, whilst mere moments later there could be enough raw energy flowing through Larry as to be able to cast the most monstrous of incantations, the likes of which he had never been able to before. He had come close to catastrophic consequences more than once over the preceding weeks, especially since the outcasts had travelled down to Lustria. It was hard to tell if it was this place or the whole world that was changing, and Larry disliked either option equally.

Then, of course, there were the visions.

Just as the winds waxed and waned, so did his visions; sometimes he could go days without seeing anything in his dreams, and others he could be ambushed whilst awake with extraordinary scenes that unfolded before his eyes, as baffling as they were beautiful. He had less and less control over them as time wore on, and even his oldest tricks to still his mind had little effect on these visions. At first he had thought it was the gods, keeping him alive and tormenting him equally. But the more that he thought on it, the more he dismissed the idea. The gods had never been interested in the lives of petty mortals before, and he saw no reason for them to start now. He was convinced that his near-death experiences were all tied in to the changing winds, and he was determined to find out how and why.

‘Are you having another one? Bob’s voice was softer as he leaned closer, one hand placed on Larry’s shoulder in comfort. Larry looked around and realized he did not recognize any of the trees or plants – he had been in his own reverie for a while it seemed.

‘No, dear friend, just thinking abou-‘

He stopped mid sentence as a bright flash caught his eye from amidst the tree-tops. Bob reacted instantly, his decades of training coming to the fore as he immediately halted the column and drew his weapon, preparing for an ambush. Larry leaned forward in his saddle, trying to peer through the swaying canopies at what had caught his attention. Another flash shone through, and when the bright light had dissipated, Larry’s eyes focused on its source. A giant, reflective gem, sitting atop what looked to be the tip of a pyramid, appeared through the leaves as a giant beacon. Bob’s gaze followed Larry’s and found the gem, and he slid his sword back into his scabbard as he signaled for the column to change direction and march.

‘Looks like your dreams have an answer for everything,’ Bob mused as his kicked his horse into a canter towards their prize. Larry ignored the comment, fixated on the gem as they moved forward. Whilst he was relieved to be making progress, he couldn’t help shake the deep feeling of dread that was beginning to rise in his stomach. The winds were changing again, and he had no idea what was going to happen next.

Off in the distance, a screech echoed through the jungle as a single pteradon circled back to its home, bearing a warning for its master.


Deployment of armies after vanguard and scout moves

Who would have thought that Lizards can be that eager to get to the enemy!
Chris won the roll off that determined who is going to choose the table sides and not surprisingly picked the one with the nice tower near the deployment zone. I had some impassable ruins on my right flank I wanted to use to limit Lizardmen advance and ability to attack my units. At the same time I wanted to move through these little gaps to surround technically slower Saurus and to block TG from joining the fight. The dilemma I had was either to spread out but make it easier to pin down my units by the Lizards or focus on one flank where I could bring more regiments against one Saurus unit and win even with the presence of the characters. That, however, was perfect set up for comets!

In that game I actually regretted that I don't have shadow warriors. You see, placing scouts in front of vanguarding units prevents their vanguard move. Would have been golden in here! Instead, Chris perfectly positioned his chameleons so that they prevented Reavers from coming in first and slowing down his vanguarding regiments!

To make things even more complicated Chris won the roll off and his was the first turn!

Lizardmen - Turn 1

Incredibly fast advance of the Lizardmen army

Lizardmen advance aggressively

Three units vanguard and then pick up the momentum to catch the elves before they unfold from their crowded deployment zone. Stegadon and Temple Guard move full speed ahead with chameleons among them. They even shoot at the bolt thrower but fortunately for High Elves only one crew member is slain.

Saurus Warriors move a little bit more cautiously. Tetto Ekko warms up by casting some less significant spell on one of the eagles and it is struck down. Also reavers on the right flank suffer some casualties from the poisonous darts. Elves didn't move but are already hard pressed.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves try to outpace the enemy

Hasty movements!

High Elves were hard pressed and had to act swiftly. Units on the left focused on chameleon skinks but they survived the incoming arrows. Temple guard was blocked but Stegadon had plenty of targets to choose from!

Reavers on the right flank tried to tempt the Saurus to charge them and hopefully give time for the infantry to spread out. Elves were limited in that manoeuver by the river though. Would they be fast enough to encircle Lizardmen infantry?

Lizardmen - Turn 2

Lizardmen army attacks!

Big Three charge in!
Lizardmen combat troops attack without delay. On the right flank Stegadon storms into the ranks of the Sea Guard and the elves barely hold against that stampede. Temple Guard is slowed down by the noble sacrifice of the Sisters. Reavers on the right flank perform feighned flight but Saurus are not fooled and redirect against Swordmasters. They are eager to make that attack count and despite long distance, crush into the warriors of Hoeth. However, the long run must have affected their accuracy and what looked like an easy victory turned out into stalemate. (Edit: If I remember correctly Saurus needed 9+ to reach Swordmasters and Chris made that roll!)

High Elves spotted a chance to counter attack but were also looking into the skies as it was clear that some type of celestial object was directed towards their direction to spell doom and destructions. The effort to magically bring it to the battle field cost Tetto Ekko a lot and the powerful cascade erupted in the building where he resided. Fortunately for him the portal between dimensions was opened for a briefest of the moments and he escaped with his life.

Now exposed Sisters were the target for many poisonous darts and they stood no chance against such a threat.

Outcasts - Turn 2

First comet crushes to the ground!
As Elves move and charge the comet crushes to the ground amongst them. White Lions and Swordmasters already engaged in combat suffer from the attack while only a few Saurus fall down. The combat between the units is then affected. Warriors fall on both sides but the fight continues!

In the meantime Dragon Princes force nearby skinks to flee and reform to engage Saurus while White Lions move to their rear in the deadly all out assault.

Reavers rally and move again to slow down Temple Guard so that they cannot intervene against isolated Saurus.

Lizardmen - Turn 3

Stegadon on the rampage

Stegadon, not satisfied with the destruction of the Sea Guard, charges nearby Archers who also suffer horrendous casualties and for some time they hold.

Temple Guard destroy annoying Reavers but High Elves still have some support troops to keep them out of combat they want to enter.

Saurus warriors exchange blows with Elves and both sides suffer some casualties. However, Swordmasters are no more and only a few Lions hold them in place. Would it be enough? Reinforcements are on the way. But so is another comet! Who will be faster?

Outcasts - Turn 3

Stegadon dominates on the left flank

Bloody combat in the crater of the fallen comet!

Elves charge as one against Saurus and it seems that against such a determined attack from all sides they will not be able to hold. But precise calculations of Tetto Ekko sent the comet right in the middle of that combat. Both units of Lions, together with the Loremaster, simply vaporised! Saurus warriors died too but ironically, that prevented more casualties from the incoming combat as due to unexpected change in the formation of the Lizardmen, elven cavalry found out their only enemy is the Old Blood. Only Swordmasters fighting to the front dealt soma damage but it cost them too. The fight that looked like a victory for Elves was turned up side down!

(Edit: That was a Master Stroke (literally!) by Chris! He positioned the comet on the head of Saurus champion and using the special skill of Tetto Ekko he re-rolled the roll to see if the comet shows up to make it so! Then he proceeded to roll high for number of hits against both White Lion units that were his most dangerous enemies this combat. Even 4+ ward save for Larry didn't activate and I was unable to save a single wound that got him! Ouch!)

Lizardmen - Turn 4

Skinks hunt down Dragon Princes

Old Blood flees!

Not much of the elven forces are left. Temple Guard destroys one more small target while Skinks pepper Dragon Princes with darts. Swordmasters managed to break the Old Blood but could not catch him.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Trying to save some lives

Bob the BSB orders the retreat of the few remaining warriors in hope they can escape their doom. Dragon Princes make a futile attempt to catch the Old Blood but that didn't work at all. Elves were utterly beaten and only a few of them survived to tell the tale.


 photo output_JIpOsq_zpsqjdrdrb4.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation


‘We must go back home, Larry. We can’t afford to lose any more men like that.’ Bob sat across the fire from Larry, cleaning away the dried blood from his breastplate as the night engulfed them. He was weary from battle, and Larry could sense that his resolve had all but broken. Though their travels in Lustria hadn’t taken Bob’s life, it may well have taken his spirit.

It had been two weeks since they had come across that temple – though now it resembled more of a tomb. Larry had been full of hope as they had approached the outer doors of the ruins, no obstacles in sight. He had heard rumours of the denizens of the steamy jungles and wanted little to do with them, and it had seemed that he would get his wish. With the majority of his army waiting outside, Larry, Bob, and a small detachment of swordmasters had searched the inner rooms of the pyramid, until they had reached the main room of the old gods. Sitting on an ancient dais in the middle of the room, the mummified corpse of a slann had stared at them as they walked in and searched for its hidden secrets. As Larry had approached the corpse, finally able to quell his fears, he truly believed he was going to find some answers.

Then all hell had broken loose.

The first he had heard was a soft rumble off in the distance, growing louder by the second. His skin prickled as he felt another being close by draw a large amount of aethyr, more than he thought was possible. Before he had time to shout a warning, the room had filled with motion as poisonous darts erupted from holes in the walls, felling his brave elves all around. He and Bob had been lucky to escape the confines of the walls and their hidden attackers, but when they reached the outsides of the pyramid they realized the true extent of their supposed luck.

Hoards of walking lizards had fallen upon the awaiting elves, and in their jungle-induced sickness and fatigue, they had been barely able to stop them. Snapping jaws and onyx clubs cleaved a bloody swathe through the outcasts, and even as Larry and Bob joined battle with their new foes, the heavens themselves had turned against them. Larry only caught glimpses of the tiny lizard, but could sense the magnitude of his power as he brought down comet after comet amongst the outcasts’ ragged battle lines, each fiery ball of death delivering more elves to the goddess of the underworld. Unable to oppose such a force, Larry had ordered a full retreat. The outcasts had dispersed and fled with no semblance of order, each elf looking after himself as they tried to escape the slaughter.

For two weeks Larry and Bob had been gathering stragglers, though most had quickly succumbed to their battle wounds or mysterious illnesses of the jungle. Their numbers had dwindled significantly since their initial incursion into Lustria, and for the last few days discontent had seeded throughout the remaining survivors. The morale of the outcasts was well and truly destroyed, and being so far from home and surrounded by enemies did nothing to ease their suffering. And now, even Bob had grown wearisome.

‘Larry, listen to reason. Let us leave now an-‘

‘And what? What are we to do then?’ Larry posed the rhetorical question to Bob, knowing that he had no answer. ‘Are we to slink back to the isles of Ulthuan and just hope that this all goes away? You remember why we started this quest. The aethyr is changing, and I fear for the whole world. Look at what that little lizard did to us out there! He fully decimated our army, and I could do nothing to stop him! We may have lost a lot, but that is the meaning of sacrifice. We face a far greater threat than you or I had imagined, and I would sacrifice every single living outcast if it meant saving this world, because that is what we represent – we are the last hope, when all other hope has faded. Will you turn away from your duty at this, our weakest moment? Because I shall not, so if needs be, I will go alone! That is what must be done, and I will see it completed, or die trying.’

Larry took a deep breath and paused for a moment to gain his composure, and looked past Bob to the other fires surrounding theirs. The outcasts were motionless, some seated and some standing, though all were facing him. Light from the flames flickered off their faces as they stared at Larry, the dancing shadows hiding their expressions as if they wore a mask. Larry sighed as he released his breath, and turned to catch the eye of one of the closer elves, ready to face the stinging responses. But he saw something else, something unexpected.

He saw hope.

As his gaze moved from elf to elf, he no longer saw weary and tired faces, sick and disabled bodies. In their places stood proud and noble warriors, each willing to give themselves in service of the greater good. He saw past the blood and disease, and saw the unblemished souls of his comrades underneath, willing to lay all on the line for the world’s sake. His eyes moved between faces, each filled with strength and conviction. He turned back to Bob, and saw the inner strength of the proud warrior shine through his fear and hopelessness. Their eyes caught, and for the briefest of moments, they totally understood each other.

‘As will the outcasts.’ Bob broke the silence, his voice renewed and full of newfound strength. ‘Where do we follow you to now?’

Larry looked his best friend in the eye and responded with the first thought that came to mind.

‘If the winds of aethyr are changing, let us go to their source. We march north.’

After-battle thoughts

I messed up something with pictures and it seems that I didn't have all of them. I believe we may have played one more turn because I definitely lost these Dragon Princes and I remember that Old Blood also rallied. I did save BSB and few Swordmasters though.

That didn't change much, however. Chris played a very good game as befits Master player. He pressed hard, made right decisions, while I didn't and made some mistakes too. The end result could only be one, total destruction. Chris also got 700VP extra for Blood and Glory scenario and that gave him a well deserved 19-1 victory. Really, really well done, Sir and my congratulations for schooling me in style!  

I had a great game despite the loss and I did learn a few things too! So maybe there is still hope! :)

As to the game itself, hm, where do I start?

1. Deployment

I should have deployed on the edge. First, I knew it was blood and glory so the distance between the armies is already shorter. Second, I knew Chris is going to vanguard and I could not count on him rolling low for the number of units that are allowed to do so.

I wanted to use the impassable terrain on my right flank to prevent his big units to reach me but it looks like I helped Chris to cast comets in doing so. Maybe I should have deployed with the regiments more spread?

2. Reavers/Dragon Prince

I could not use them to prevent these vanguards but maybe I could move them forward anyway? I was concerned though with all the skinks in front of me.

I badly positioned the unit on the left so that when the enemy moved forward I could not intercept any unit at all! 

3. Chameleons

I wonder if I should not have charged them with Sea Guard and even redirect against Stegadon if they fled. If they didn't I was charged by the beast anyway. If they did similar situation.

4. Reavers and flee reaction

I don't know why I fled. I opened the path for Saurus as they were not blocked by the Sisters as intended. Then 9+ charge is not the easy one to make but ... I let it go. Another mistake.

5. Units on the left

I think that as soon as Stegoadon moved against Sea guard I should have moved 3 remaining regiments forward toward the tower or against Skins. That would have brought the fight to the enemy, threaten their spell caster and helped me to avoid the combat units. Chasing skinks is not easy but at least it would serve me better.

6. Comets

While I could do nothing against the first comet (Irresistible Force and Dimensional Cascade but Tetto Ekko was lucky to avoid his doom) I made a huge mistake with the second one. I had enough dice to dispel it but chos not to as I thought Chain Lightning is more dangerous. Stupid :(

It was a quick game in terms of when it was decided. By the end of turn 3 it was all over. But as I said, a great game against great opponent and hopefully I will remember the lessons!

I hope it was still an interesting read! :)


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