Friday 19 June 2015

Game 106 - High Elves - 2014/03/28

Game 8 - Michael - High Elves - Battle Line

Last game of CanCon! With High Elves being the most numerous of the armies it was difficult to avoid a civil war. I evaded them whole tournament but finally had to face them. However, the great thing was I was about to play against Michael, our own Darth Sabre! It is always great fun to meet another forum member in real life and what is more, we had a score to settle too! I had a pleasure to play against Michael 2 years ago at my first CanCon. Back then I was just beginning my journey with MSU and was lucky enough to win. I was sure Michael was very eager to even the score! :)

Any time I play against another HE army it is very special encounter. In games like that we counter our strengths in a unique way only so called mirror matches can. However, every time I played against HE it was never the force that fought in similar fashion to mine. That is always a great thing as it feels more like playing against a force with its own army book!

It was indeed the case this time as well. Michael commanded the following army (thanks for the army list details, Michael!):

High Elves - Army List

Prince, Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Giant Blade, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone
Loremaster of Hoeth, Charmed Shield, Staff of Sorcery, Talisman of Preservation
BSB, Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Star Lance, Dragon Helm, Luckstone
Mage, Level 2, Elven Steed, Dispel Scroll, Golden Crown of Atrazar - Lore of the Beasts

15Archers, Standard, Musican
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musican
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musican
10 Silver Helms, Shields, Full Command

8 Dragon Princes, Full Command
18 White Lions, Banner of Eternal Flame

12 Sisters of Avelon
Great Eagle
Bolt Thrower
Bolt Thrower

Prince - 1+ armour with re-rolls as a good defensive kit and mighty Giant Blade for S7 attacks. This guy surely inflicts damage and can turn the combat into his favour. As he is going with a unit of knights as bodyguards it would be difficult to single him out as all my high S units are infantry and would strike after him and his regiment. So there is a chance that even if attacked they would wipe out the unit entirely. But at the same time he is sensitive to no save attacks and he will not travel alone so he can be harmed with magic and diverted from more juicy targets.

Loremaster - I know this character very well although his equipment is different. The shield cannot be used in combat and I know from experience that 4++ ward as main protection tends to fail if forced to be used often enough. Even S3 attacks have a chance then.

BSB - together with the Prince they make the knights they join a very powerful hammer of a unit. He is not as well protected, although part of the protection is being with the Prince and his unit. Of course there is an option to divide the characters among both knightly regiments but I thought they would go together.

Mage - his presence was to make the cavalry hammer even more formidable with Wyssans Wildform and if lucky with Savage Beasts of Horrors spells. With full command and 2 characters in the unit he would enjoy protection of second rank.

Archers - very good long range support. Very dangerous to my small and fragile infantry and light support troops.

Reavers - one of my priorities to eliminate and I noticed these guys are without bows that put my own light cavalry at slight advantage.

Silver Helms - at such strength they would be a threat to my elite infantry. With 10 re-rollable S5 attacks they are capable of inflicting significant damage. It is risky for them too but they can either support other regiments or go for exchange if the situation demands it.

White Lions - the fact they are with flaming attacks makes them perfect target for Dragon Princes. Swordmasters too can go head on and win against them due to higher WS and more attacks. But that would work only if I could isolate them.

Sisters - single unit and more all together. Very good support but I planned to use their shorter range against them and use my own Archers, if possible, to win the shooting match. Another priority as their S4 and BS 5 means trouble for units such as reavers or Swordmasters.

Bolt throwers - always a problem and something I would need to deal with quickly. Otherwise their presence makes it more difficult for cavalry to manoeuvre and in the case of reavers - survive.

Great Eagle  - another fast regiment that needs to be dealt with quickly simply because I need to have clear path for attack and manoeuvre.

Michael's army had much better tools for direct charge, no single unit in my army would survive that attack. Despite 2 bolt throwers I felt I had better shooting abilities but I also needed to focus them on different targets.

My plan was then as follows. Use eagles to divert the cavalry hammer and slow it down for as long as possible. In the meantime, use shooting to eliminate reavers, eagle and sisters (depending on how these units are deployed and how easy it is to get to them). Move my own combat troops on the opposite side to the hammer to get to other enemy regiments. If possible, use Dragon Princes against Lions in particular.

Duel of Loremasters would be very interesting for sure!


Mandatory blurry picture! :(

Armies after vanguards

Michael deployed with refused flank and that was a smart move against MSU. It was clear he wanted to use his cavalry hammer both as attacking force on the flank but also to block any attempt to move against his bolt thrower and Archers on the hill. Very good because he can move aggressively while shooting without blocking his own line of sight.

Silver Helms were deployed as a unit to guard the flank and Lions were the element that joined two knightly regiments, being able to help both if needed and occupying very good, central position of the army formation.

It was hard to breach that formation or at least it looked like it to me and I decided to go for a full swing on my left in order to bring more units against Silver Helms while taking away bolt thrower, reavers and sisters on the way. If that worked I would be in a good position to surround lions and maybe get to second bolt thrower while keeping cavalry hammer away.

Before we started level 2 wizard got the following spells: Wildform, Curse

Michael aka Darth Sabre won the roll off and his cavalry spurred their steeds to charge the Outcasts as soon as possible!

High Elves - Turn 1
The cavalry gallop shook the ground - hence another blurry picture

Cavalry Prince leads by example
The cavalry prince ordered his knightly bodyguard to advance at a double and let the foot sloggers to worry about catching up all by themselves. Lions picked up the pace but Silver Helms stayed to guard the flank.

Sisters and Bolt Throwers picked their targets but only a few of the Avelorn maids from the ranks of the Outcasts fell.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Slightly better focus, I think ...

Rapid movement on both flanks

Outcasts moved in a hurry in order to steal the initiative. Fast support blocked impetuous prince while the units on the other flank advanced quickly. The mental duel between the Loremasters resulted in Miasma cast on the bolt thrower to decrease its efficiency but other than that no spells managed to go through yet.

Almost all missile troops focused on the enemy Sisters and only 3 of them survived that type of attention. Only on the left flank reavers aimed at their bowless counterparts and unhorsed one rider.

High Elves - Turn 2
Attack on the right flank

Seizing the opportunity to get rod of the enemy fast cavalry!

Cavalry prince spotted the opportunity and expertly pivoted past the eagle (Edit: Apologies for inaccurate diagram in the previous turn, I made a mistake and the unit could wheel past the eagle). The charge was precise and even swift reavers were not fast enough to avoid it and were destroyed while trying to flee. That also opened the path for the fast cavalry that attacked the eagle. But noble bird of prey stood its ground and despite being wounded, took one of the attackers down too.

On the other flank another regiment of fast cavalry charged their adversaries but accurate bow fire made them change their mind and they swiftly turned and attempted to avoid the confrontation.

Sisters of Averlorn one more time were the target of the missile fire but a few of them still remained.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Outcasts press forward

Left flank secured, centre under control too

The regiments on the left moved forward at a double. Only reavers chased away enemy fast cavalry so that it is not a problem later on.

Few remaining enemy Sisters were finished but other than that shooting was not impressive. It was partially due to the fact that Sea Guard and Archers moved too.

Brave eagle was finally defeated but again it took a reaver with it.

High Elves - Turn 3
Right flank is lost though

Cavalry Prince and his knights easily removed a single figure that stood in their way and reformed to face new enemy. White Lions and Reavers challenged Sea Guard but they didn't feel that combat is at good odds for them and withdrew.

Both bolt throwers opened fire. Left one aimed at Swordmasters and killed a few while the one on the hill used the opportunity and shot at the exposed flank of the reckless enemy cavalry, unhorsing three of the knights. Survivors held with grim determination though.

The Loremasters could not quite gain a significant advantage over each other and this time Iceshard blizzard (Edit: I think!)  was cast on Archers

Outcasts - Turn 3
Battle for the Pass?

One bolt thrower down, one to go!

Dragon Princes wasted no time and destroyed bolt thrower crew. One war machine down, one to go. Lions and Swordmasters tried to position themselves so that Silver Helms could not possible charge past any of them but at the same time wanted to keep the pressure on.

Other regiments also moved and reformed so that both armies started to face each other as if fighting in the mountain pass.

High Elves - Turn 4
Walking forests again!

Nobody wants to fight against the Prince!

Yet another attempt to charge any enemy failed. Archers and Sea Guard didn't fancy facing cavalry charge in the open and retreated. Frustrated Prince had to try again later.

In the meantime, Loremaster fooled Larry with some mental distraction and cast a spell on his own unit of White Lions. That made nearby trees nervous and they simply walked away towards the formation of Outcasts.

That allowed him to cast a powerful Fireball against enemy Swordmasters protecting enemy BSB and many of them perished. The survivors held their ground and continued their duty.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Getting closer!
Oops! Forgot to change the arrow colour, DP were not charging! Sorry!

Outcasts kept pressing forward and fast units in particular positioned themselves so that they could attempt an attack on the fire base of the enemy army.

Swordmasters and BSB destroyed annoying eagle and overrun to safety. A few remaining Sisters provided yet another distraction so that enemy cavalry still has no juicy target to attack.

Finally, eagle claw crew aimed carefully at exposed flank of the Silver Helms who made a similar mistake as Dragon Princes before. Four knights lied dead, skewered by the enormous bolt and the rest decided to move away from such a powerful war machine and its well trained crew!

High Elves - Turn 5
Switching the sides
Last charge

It was clear that the battle reached the stage where not much could have been achieved any more. Cavalry charged the Sisters but it was hardly an achievement for proud knights. Loremaster this time could not help either and even bolt thrower and archers could not finish the eagle.

Silver Helms rallied though and blocked the path for the reavers.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Last attacks

Dragon Princes noticed that enemy Silver Helms exposed their flank again and charge in, breaking young knights and chasing them off the battle field. Great Eagle had a chance for revenge but its wounds were too deep and it was not fast enough to reach the bolt thrower.

Finally, Larry the Loremaster broke the magical defences of his counter part and focused his mind on the Prince. He aimed to destroy his spirit and almost succeeded. Seeing their leader swaying in the saddle and barely alive, the bodyguards disengaged and the enemy army withdrew.

The battle was not properly resolved but Outcasts walked away with the most minor of the victories.


Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

Last game of the tournament was definitely interesting. A pity we didn't have enough time to play 6th round as a few interesting things might have had happened. It was great to meet Michael/Darth again and try to match the speed of his cavalry hammer! It was very close game and I was lucky to win 11-9.

First things first though: Michael, it was great to play against you again, I am sure next time you will get me! :) It is always a pleasure to chat with you and the games are always interesting! Cheers!  

Civil wars are always interesting because you can easily look at both sides and start wondering about the possible outcomes from the point of view of both forces. After all you play the same army!

I really liked how Michael reinforced his flank and had fragile shooters behind the main line. I think he would have done even better if he pressed harder with all 3 combat units at the same time and maybe even deploy his both bolt throwers on the hill. He nicely spotted the opening I created by mistake and instead of being delayed he killed my reavers. I think, however, that he might have forgotten about possibility of reforming after catching the fleeing regiment. That would have put his cavalry hammer in more threatening position. His reavers on my left were also a little bit wasted and I liked that example also because it shows that it pays off to give reavers bows as it matters in the war between support units.

Michael also nicely delayed my advance with single Silver Helms unit and I think I simply should have been more aggressive. If not for unlucky panic then we would have a draw.

On my own I must say I didn't use my assets well. I simply assumed I cannot defeat Michaels Dargon Princes with 3 characters in it. So I avoided the unit. It only makes sense if I use the fast troops to delay such regiment and use the time they buy to destroy the rest of the army. I didn't and that meant I didn't get many points.

I didn't deploy well as Sisters blocked the advance a little. Having BSB with Swordmasters yet again slowed them down as I wanted to move and shoot instead of advancing rapidly. In this game I had tools to confront the enemy units head on. For example, I could send a unit of Swordmasters against White Lions and cripple them. Even at a cost of Swordmaster unit it was worthy as I had more regiments and could reinforce them or avenge them later. In fact, I was in position to threaten Lions with Swordmasters and Dragon Princes as well as Sea Guard but I moved too fast forward (trying to avoid the cavalry bus). If I kept second eagle nearby instead of using it to hunt bolt thrower (which was threatened by enough regiments already) I would have had a chance to do so.

I tried to move Lions and Swordmasters so that they helped each other if any of the regiments were attacked by Silver Helms. I think I didn't do it well. Again, they were slowed down and probably positioned too far away. This game also showed that I may lack speed if I position the regiments too far away and when the enemy does not want to fight.

I am happy with the shooting phase as it allowed me to eliminate dangerous Sisters and win the war of support units. I got both reaver units with shooting too.

The magic duel between Loremasters was great. But it also meant many spells were not going through. I cannot recall now if it was because the winds of magic were not strong. Michael had even more spells to choose from and I could see how much he needed power dice. I think I had one Searing Doom through on Silver Helms but of course I had to roll something like 1 for number of hits. :) I was happy I managed to get Spirit Leach turn 5. I needed a very good roll and Michael had to roll poor to get the Prince in one go but it was not to be and I got "only" 2 wounds. So close! :)

CanCon 2014 - Summary

In short another CanCon was a blast. Even more so due to the fact we had 122 participants, which is huge difference if you take into account the fact that last year there were 90+ players and two years ago only 70+ were present. There were a lot of interstate players and that definitely added to the uniqueness of the event. But what about the details?


CanCon traditionally is taking place in the EPIC centre in Canberra and that means space is not an issue. I really liked the fact that tables were arranged in pairs that helped enormously with Battle for the Pass as one edge was freely accessible. WFB tournament was only one of the many other tournaments and activities that took place during that gaming event but spectators never were a problem and in fact players were very happy to chat to strangers and explain what they are actually doing.


It is very important to highlight that terrain was provided by the whole community, be it individuals or clubs, who responded fantastically to the call for help by TO's. Initially they had space for 80 players but due to popular demand they managed to secure more space and tables. But it turned out that they were short of terrain pieces. Fortunately, many players were simply top blokes and brought whatever they could. Thanks to that tables looked very good and terrain was varied.

Some players were of an opinion that the quality of the terrain was not good and that it was not well distributed on the tables, creating some problems during the games. If that was the case then I was lucky not to experience such problems and I liked all the tables I played on. The terrain provided very good options for both players and games were definitely more interesting because of that.

Things always can be better but in my opinion it was great anyway!

Organization/Player's Pack

Dave and Tom did a great job as organizers. It also shows that community is great as 2 referees were more than enough for solving problems for 122 players! It was an enormous effort to make that tournament happen and I cannot say how much I am grateful for what they did to run it very well. Fantastic organization guys! Well done!  

This year the players pack used Swedish Comp to modify the games results instead of adding fixed points to the overall score. It meant that Dave and Tom had to spent hours to check the army lists so that all was in order. It is definitely a huge responsibility for the organizers. However, I think it also created a situation where people started bringing things that are not usually seen on the tournaments. I believe many discovered that what they thought might be a liability was in fact a very good choice. If the goal was to achieve variety among the lists then it was there for sure!
My performance

I will not deny that I had high hopes when entering completion this year. After being 4th last year and making to the Masters I think I got used to good results. I had two goals in terms of competitive performance. Win more games than I won last year (5 out of 8) and get more points than last year, possibly getting more than 100 out of 8 games (last year I earned 94 points).

I accomplished first goal winning 6 out of 8 games which I was very happy with. Unfortunately, I earned only 85 points and that was way too low. I ended up on 49th place that was, to be honest, huge disappointment for me :( The conclusion from that result is simple, in order to place well one has to win but has to win big. In fact, it is better to lose and then win big instead of keeping the clean victory record with small wins only.

The winner of the tournament collected 121 battle points giving the average of 15+ per game. With the brackets used at CanCon it means one has to win by 1201+ points at least. It is not a small victory.

I think I made a mistake when I assumed in many of my games that I simply cannot touch the most powerful enemy unit/character and chased the smaller regiments that were easier to kill but were not nearly as expensive. I rarely got enemy characters either. My games were more passive than usual and I tried to hunt down support troops of the enemy as main goal, not to clean the paths for the assault troops. As a result I was winning only small victories. One massacre threw me back by a lot too.

Another reason is that my opponents often knew already what not to do against MSU. That meant I needed to come up with new tricks and with passive play it was not going to happen. Does it mean that the army list is not good enough? Not at all! But I decided to make changes in order to help me get back to the more aggressive and combat orientated play style. I will talk about options I am considering in the army list topic soon.


First of all, great thank you to the TO's, Dave and Tom once again! Then to all my opponents who gave me the opportunity to play 8 fantastic games. Thanks, guys!  

Special thanks go to Il Meastro for his brilliant stories. I wish he had time for all reports but I am sure all readers appreciate what he has written so far a lot!  

And to all the forum members who took their time to comment on the games, it was great chatting with you and I am glad you enjoyed the reports enough to leave your very valuable feedback!

Thanks for reading!

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