Sunday 7 June 2015

Game 94 - Dark Elves - 2014/01/17


Some time before the Masters I attended a local tournament, Hammer of Dave 2. It used Swedish comp (at least 10) and then used that to modify the final result of the game by adding or subtracting the comp difference between two armies. It also had scenarios.

I brought the following army list to the tournament:

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster, level 2, Shield of the Merwyrm, Golden Crown, Earthing Rod, Sword of Might – 300
Bob the BSB, Dragon Armour, Halberd, Charmed Shield, Potion of Strength, Reaver Bow – 157

10 Archers, Champion, Musician – 120
10 Archers, Champion, Musician – 120
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spear, Bow – 105
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spear, Bow – 105
6 Silver Helms, Shield, Musician, Standard -158

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

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower – 70
Great Eagle – 50
Great Eagle – 50
5 Sisters of Avelorn – 70
5 Sisters of Avelorn – 70

Total: 2391

Swedish Comp: 15.2

In the first game I faced Dave's brand new Dark Elves. We haven't had a chance to play against each other yet although we met many times on various tournaments. It was also the first time I had a chance to play against dark kin. Civil wars are always very bloody and I had no doubts it will be the case this time too. However, with the new book, new units and many other totally new things I was really, really curious about the details.

We also played Dawn Attack scenario that may but does not have to affect even the most carefully prepared plan.

Druchii - Army List

Supreme Sorceress, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Preservation  - Lore of Dark Magic
BSB, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Shield, Obsidian Blade

13 Darkshards, FC
13 Darkshards, FC, Standard of Discipline
18 Corsairs, Additional Weapons, FC, Standard of Swiftness
6 Dark Riders, Standard, Musician, Shields

24 Black Guard, FC, Razor Standard
5 Doomfire Warlocks
5 Doomfire Warlocks
Reaper Boltthrower
Reaper Bolthrower

Swedish Comp: 10.7

The usual suspects with some new flavour. Darkshards as core does not surprise and if these guys close in I can be outshot. Also, with 2 repeaters against one that advantage is even bigger. Single unit of Dark Riders can easily handle two of the Reavers. Their shooting is superior and they also have more armour.

Another danger comes in the form of magic. While the exact amount of punishment to be suffered from Dark Magic was yet to be seen then Warlocks have already gained some reputation. I definitely was not keen to meet multiple Doombolts on top of any shooting the army already had in its arsenal.

2 units of combat infantry were also very dangerous. Black Guard could destroy any of my small units in no time. ASF or no ASF, hatred is simply great. And now they have also re-rolls of 1's to wound! With sorceress among them and possibility to boos their strength to S5 they were really a very dangerous unit.

Corsairs, with additional hand weapons and good armour could fight against any infantry. They have an advantage over my elite troops in the form of ASF now. If they were joined by Hellebron, that is even worse.

In such situations I try to apply Druchii's own approach. Don't fight fair. Focus shooting on the units that are vulnerable or simply small in numbers. Even having a good save/ward save they have to fall if enough arrows are sent in their direction. If the enemy is good in combat avoid it or create a situation when the regiment is weakened, isolated and attacked by 2 or 3 of mine own. Preferably from the direction that does not allow many attacks back.

Fortunately for me I had the tools for the job and more units as usual should be helpful in setting up the traps as well as forcing the enemy to disperse their formation. That is of course easier said than done!


Civil War in the Land of Chill!

Deployment of the armies after vanguard

Druchii occupied the centre of the battlefield with light cavalry moving to outflank the hated Asur. The Outcasts formed a mixed formation, with archers in the middle for better shooting opportunities and various combat troops occupying defended positions. On the left Lions used their natural environment of the woods to close in with enemy and get some protection from shooting. Heavy cavalry supported right flank with many units staying behind the hill to avoid being the target too early. Only shadow warriors marched right towards their cursed kin.

Supreme Sorceress and BSB joined the ranks of the Black Guard while Hallebron led the Corsairs.

Bob and Larry both were among Swordmasers, with Bob leading the leftmost regiment.

Supreme Sorceress had following spells: Power of Darkness, Word of Pain, Shroud of Despair, Black Horror

Dave made an attempt to steal the initiative but he didn't roll required 5 and I had the first turn!

Outcasts - Turn 1
Double pincer manoeuver

High Elves advance on both flanks

High Elves advance on both flanks and focus their fire on Druchii fast cavalry. One group of accursed warlocks does not fancy meeting a chariot and withdraw. Second is peppered with arrows and die horribly, despite their dark aura of protection. Their souls truly belong to Slaanesh now.

On the Western flank Dark Riders are the target of High Elven magic and shooting and a single survivor of the barrage flees to safety.

Druchii - Turn 1
Corsairs assault the building

Druchii attempt to fight back

Mad Hellebron orders her unit to storm the building where she glimpsed Shadow Warriors. They stubbornly refuse to withdraw and pay dearly for their bravery.

Other Druchii units move forward slowly, with Darkshards and Bolt Throwers trying to pick some targets. Warlocks decided it is not good time for them to join the battle and disappear from the field.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Relentless advance on both flanks

And continuous missile barrage

Regiments on both flanks use the fact that main combat units of the enemy are in the centre and advance quickly. Shooting and magic almost entirely destroy Western regiment of Darkshards but their hatred towards their kin makes them stay and fight. Black Guard to is the target of quite accurate fire from the Sisters of Avelorn.

Druchii - Turn 2
Dark Elves split up

Black Horror!!!!

Druchii split up their formation. Bloodthirsty Hellebron urges her warriors to move towards the main Asur battle line. While Black Guard turn to face the Eastern task force of the hated High Elves. Supreme Sorceress shows why her sisterhood is dreaded by all. A powerful Black Horror claims all noble Silver Helms!

The shooters once again pick different targets and while they manage to claim a few High Elven lives, their overall effect is not that powerful.

Outcasts - Turn 3
High Elves tighten their grip from both flanks

And keep shooting in the centre!

Ellyrian Reavers attack the flank of the Darkshards but they are not able to break their enemy. White Lions on the West and cavalry on the East close in.

At the same time all the available shooters aim at incoming corsairs and more than half of the unit lies dead after that salvo.

Druchii - Turn 3
Druchii try to fight back again

But archers are not eager to fight against Hellebron

Hellebron screams in frustration as she is unable to reach her hated kin. Supreme Sorceress fares no better when the horror she unleashed claimed many of her own bodyguards. Darkshards aim at White Lions and only single Chracian stands tall after they finish shooting.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Outcasts attack again

Charge of the light chariots!

Fast troops of the High Elves charge again. Great Eagle swoops down and destroys the crew of one of the bolt throwers. Reavers on both flanks, however, are locked in combat.

Magic and shooting is directed at weakened Black Guard and more elite Druchii warriors fall down. Then both light chariots pick up the momentum and slam hard into the ranks of the Corsairs. Only one of the vile crewman of the Black Arc survives that. However, Hallbron, intoxicated by bloodlust and witch elven potions, hacks mercilessly left and right and leaves nothing but a ruin of both chariots.

Druchii - Turn 4
Lions vs Darkshards - Mexican stand off?

Another failed charge by Hellebron!

Hellebron tasted blood but now wants even more. Bob is wise enough not to cross a women with a temper like that and withdraws.

In other areas of the battle field small combats end up in stalemate.

Outcasts - Turn 5
High Elves do not attempt to charge

Final round of shooting almost destroys the Black Guard

High Elves, knowing they won already, didn't attempt to attack their enemy. Shooters aim carefully and first hill the Hellebron and her last warrior while the rest aims at Black Guard and almost destroy it. Unfortunately, a single warrior remained alive.

Unit of Dark Shards is finally destroyed and similar fate met the last crewmen of the bolt thrower.

Druchii - Turn 5

With almost entire army destroyed, Supreme Sorceress orders the retreat while Asur allow for it. This time hated Asur carried the day!


 photo output_2poFfX_zpsee3bszc7.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation
After-battle thoughts

I was very happy with the result of course! Winning against Druchii is never an easy thing, no matter how it looks like. The things worked well for me in general. I guess Dave's inexperience with DE (it was his first game I was told) also contributed to the loss, I am afraid.

For example, he knew it was unlikely to get first turn so maybe it would have been better to use vanguard to actually protect his fast cavalry. They would have been very helpful during the game. Dark Riders are very good at shooting while Warlocks can contribute to magic phase nicely and make my decision making as what to stop very, very difficult. As it turned out they didn't even have a chance to cast any spells (or engage in combat they are good in too) and saved me a lot of trouble. I still wonder if it was not worthy risking to hold the ground against the chariot. With their 4++ save they can reduce the damage significantly and with 2 S4 attacks each + hatred they had a chance to even things out too.

Spreading forces was partially determined by the scenario but the regiments in the centre could have stayed closer together. I didn't exploit frenzy of the corsairs this game but -3 to Ld tests for that can be a disadvantage. In that regard I totally screwed up the opportunity with Shadow Warriors. Instead of going into the building I should have kept them in the open and simply flee. I slowed the corsairs down by chance since they occupied the building and they had to move out losing a little bit of the momentum but I simply sacrificed SW for nothing.

Another thing I could have done differently is moving reavers along with both heavy cavalry so that three of them could have charged bolt thrower, even with the loss of one due to magic/shooting. I stalled my advance and that was not good.

On the left flank I should have moved Swordmasters in support to attack Darkshards together with Lions. Alone, lions were in bad position as they would strike second with DE having re-rolls too. But against 2 units they had to divide the attacks. Not to mention I could have eagle and/or reavers to support to. instead, I ended up standing there and doing nothing. I lost momentum.

There was also one thing I am not sure I didn't try. I could charge with Dragon princes against Black Guard and attempt an assassination of the Sorceress. With 3 S5 attacks hitting at 3+ I had a good chance to do so. Even if I lost I was winning already so it was worth trying too.

Of course if we played one more turn I would get that last Black Guard and maybe character or two as well. I guess I have to play faster but also in a more decisive way. It might not always be possible but I have noticed that I sometimes prepare the attacks too long.

The final score: 13.85 - 6.15

Thanks for reading!


  1. Tough game for your opponent. The most important takeaway is the need to protect fast cavalry. And as you mentioned, the vanguard move is a great way to do it. I feel like a couple units of shades would have been helpful. They can either take out opposing shooting or at least cause some chaos to allow other units a reprieve from shooting for a turn or so. I'm also not a huge fan of special characters and have a tough time critiquing how to best use them. It's too many points in one model for my taste. Especially since she is one of the most fragile special characters (against high elf shooting no less). This list may fare better against a warriors of chaos or beastmen list, but high elf shooting, empire cannons, etc are going to be tough. It's a difficult list to take to a tournament not knowing what you're facing and just a tough list to use effectively for a newer player anyway.

    1. Hi Dan!

      Hm, I definitely didn't feel like I have an advantage here but I used the opportunities I had to get an upper hand. Things like failing panic checks and then not rallying are of course unlucky but they could have been avoided in the first place. I had nothing to lose by trying. But it was my opponents mistake to expose his regiments like that. So I agree, vanguard can be used to correct these! :)

      It is interesting about special characters because Hallebron is quite popular now. However, she is usually in some big units with ward saves or other protection. And she is ultimate glass cannon very well suited to destroy some of the most powerful characters out there.

      In general I agree about army lists and tournaments but there are also things to consider in that regard:

      - in local tournaments in particular people bring what they have and what they like based on many other factors, not necessary on the efficiency (which is also a subjective term and dependent on the list)

      - even unusual lists can be dangerous

      The good thing was Dave had fun with it and while he didn't win in our game he learned a few things about it faster than it would have been if he played these 5 games over the course of 1-2 months (assuming the chance to play regularly).