Thursday, 11 June 2015

Game 98 - Lizardmen - 2014/01/30

Game 5 - Lizardmen - Simon - Battle Line

I have faced Simon on many occasions already. We even played against each other on Masters but at the time we didn't know we would. Simon is a hardcore tournament player so I knew I am up to a challenge again. I was very curious what kind of army he came up with for this event and he brought tough Lizards:

Lizardmen - Army List

Slann, BSB, Wandering deliberations, Sceptre of stability - All signature spells
Oldblood, Cold one, Light armour, Great weapon, Charmed shield, Dawnstone, The Other Trickster Shard
Scar Veteran, Cold one, Great weapon, Armour of Destiny
Scar Veteran, Cold one, Great weapon, Gambler armour, Dragon bane gem
Scar Veteran, Cold one, Great weapon, Light armour, Dragon helm, Luckstone, Ironcurse icon
Skink Priest, Dispel Scroll - Lore of Heavens
Skink Chief, Terradon, Spear, Light Armour, Enchanted Shield

10 Skinks, Standard, Musician
10 Skinks, Standard, Musician
18 Skinks, Standard, Musician
10 Skink Skirmishers, Javelins, Shields
10 Skink Skirmishers, Javelins, Shields
18 Saurus Warriors, Full Command
28 Temple Guards, Full Command, Warrior Bane, Standard of Swiftness
Salamander Pack
2 Jungle Swarms


As you can see quite character heavy army. All these S7 Saurus heroes are really powerful in close combat and any of them is a huge threat to my army. As they may lead the big units of Saurus or Temple Guard it also means it will be very hard to get significant points from this force. I have seen more and more armies like that. They have all-or-nothing approach. Either the units is big and supported by the characters or the regiment is small, cheap and expendable.

Lizardmen seem to excel at this type of army lists. The Saurus blocks are already tough enough. With characters inside them they are almost unmovable and fighting them means heavy casualties anyway. Small regiments of Skinks are excellent support troops too. They can divert the enemy, protect the bigger units from shooting and be generally annoying.

My initial plan was to keep back and shoot as much as I can of the support units. Clearing them out may help to get these combined charges I rely on. I could also divert Temple Guard which I probably cannot touch due to large numbers and characters inside. Or if I could I should be able to divert Saurus warriors as I cannot fight two of the regiments at the same time.

Deployment


Brute force versus finesse and subtlety :)

Deployment before the vanguard moves
As you can see Simon did a very clever thing and spread his multiple characters. The small risk was with them failing the stupidity but at the same time small units of skinks were not such an easy prey for faster elven regiments.

We rolled the dice and unsurprisingly Simon won to take the first turn.

Lizardmen - Turn 1
Lizardmen move forward

Then disaster struck!
Lizardmen phalanx rolled forward. The Elves were too far away for javelins to be thrown so it was up to the Slann to cause some damage. He promptly blasted small group of Sisters and nearby charioteers were shocked so much that they decided to go home immediately.

Then the Slann reminded himself he haven't solved that mathematical formula Lord Mazdamundi asked him but yesterday (or was it a century ago?) and he decided it was far more important to do so now. Slann are not hasty by nature but it was far more important matter in the grand scheme of the Old Ones to be delayed by some meaningless skirmish. Hence, mighty Slann created a door between dimensions and slammed the door in front of the Temple Guards who wanted to follow so hard that fully one third of the unit were nocked down never to get up. No one will disturb his meditation now!

Outcasts - Turn 1
Centre holds still

Flanks in the pincer manoeuver

Loss of the Slann was unexpected but Lizardmen army was still a threat. Units on both flanks moved according to the plan to encircle the enemy. Shooters all aimed at the living skink shield while Larry the Loremaster blasted Salamnder from the pond. That in turn spooked nearby skinks who decided that bath time is over and run away.

Lizardmen - Turn 2
Lizardmen adopt defensive formation

Temple Guard starts back pedaling

Surprisingly Temple Guard reformed and started to withdraw. Only Scar Veterans on flanks had the order to attack. On the West, careless charioteers exposed themselves to the charge of the enemy and retreated. On the East, Lizardmen turned their attention to some elven scouts nearby.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Elven fast troops manoeuver

Strike force assembled at the river bank

On the West elven cavalry surrounds the skinks while units on the East prepare for the attack with support troops disrupting enemy opportunities for attack.

Lizardmen - Turn 3
Lizardmen attack!

But Elves hold!

Scar Veteran on the East was eager to attack but his mount had other business to attend and the attack was delayed. Saurus pretended they don't notice the stupid behaviour of their leader's mount.

Another veteran led small skinks in the attack against elven scouts. Elves killed skinks in droves but Scar Veteran was too tough for them and only one survivor was left standing. However, he held the line nevertheless!

Skink Chief swooped down and attack Silver Helms but elven nobles also held the line.

On the West skinks threw poisonous javelins at the elven light horse and one unit had to withdraw to safety under such ferocious shooting attack.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Blurry picture number 1

Elves counter charge

White Lions storm through the waters to hit the flank of the enemy group. Brave Shadow Warrior perishes but the Scar Veteran is wounded and many skinks die. Lizardmen hold however with coldblooded determination.

Silver Helms keep holding the Skink Chief in combat as they know another regiment of Lions hurries to their aid.

On the West Dragon Princes trample the swarms and gallop beyond the hill.

Lizardmen - Turn 4
Stalemate on the East

But Elven Western flank disintegrates

Scar Veteran on the East finally manages to control his mount and Saurus attack the eagle. Lone Scar Veteran keeps fighting against the Lions who cannot strike him down. Silver Helms hold a little bit longer and it seems the fate of the Skink Chief is sealed.

On the West group of skinks led by Scar Veteran charges elven cavalry that elects to perform feigned flight. They are a little bit too enthusiastic in that manoeuver and flee the battle completely.

Outcasts - Turn 4
High Elves counter attack
And change the direction of the march

White Lions finally dispatch the Scar Veteran while their companions destroy Skink Chief. Eagle lands in front of the Saurus to buy time for the Elves so that they can form a new battle line.

On the centre Elven units reform and unleash a magical and mundane missile barrage. Lots of skinks die and even their leader, Scar Veteran, is wounded.

Lizardmen - Turn 5
Something went wrong
That was not the plan

Saurus charge the eagle who flees and then redirect into White Lions who also elect to withdraw. But their companions misunderstood the intention and withdrew as well. So much for a trap. :(

Temple Guards changed their minds and advanced one more time while Scar Veteran on the West abandoned his unit and moved to the safety of the nearby hut.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Larry chases the Scar Veteran

Eastern Flank in trouble

Larry the Loremaster is determined not to let Scar Veteran escape. But as he cannot attack him he is chasing him down and tries to cast some damaging spells. This time without success.

On the East one group of Lions fails to rally so Silver Helms try to block the Saurus from chasing them down.

Lizardmen - Turn 6
Last attempt to charge by Lizardmen

"Brave" High Elves :(

Oldblood orders the Temple Guards to charge the Swordmasters. Bob the BSB does not want to risk such confrontation and withdraws. On the East Silver Helms didn't close the gap well and Scar Veteran forces Lions to flee the battle and then redirects into Silver Helms and kills them to an elf.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Not good end for Elven army
Swordmasters with BSB fail to rally! :(

Larry the Loremaster managed to sneak through his last attempt of Spirit Leach but all this running around took away his strength and he could not muster enough mental focus to fry the brain of the Scar Veteran. Eagle Claw crew aimed at the lonely Scar Veteran but they also failed to hit their target.

What is more, the Swordmasters with Bob the BSB decided a bit too early to go home and celebrate the victory when the battle was not finished yet and the victory slipped through their fingers in the last possible moment.

Summary

 photo output_AK7Uag_zpsc3wk9ovg.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

At first I thought I was simply unlucky. Quite a few panic checks that cost me 2 chariots, one unit of Lions and unit of Swordmastres with the BSB definitely added many victory points for my opponent. But when I was writing this report with every turn put into a diagram I saw more and more evidence that I simply played that game badly. And the failed panic checks were just a consequence of that.

First, I got a great gift in the form of the Slann cascading first turn. It was very unfortunate for Simon to lose his general and very powerful spell caster. But it also meant I should have been able to use the opportunity and win the game. With 4 fighting character intact Lizardmen army was very dangerous anyway but Simon went for defensive mode and that was my chance. I failed to take advantage of that.

Let's go turn by turn so that I can show better what I mean by bad game and inability to use the opportunity when it presents itself.

Deployment

I was actually happy with the deployment. I separated characters so that they are not close to Slann and potential Spirit Leach. I reinforced the flanks so that if the opponent goes for the centre he immediately surrounds the flanks and risks being enveloped. If he goes for a flank, he risks being shot at (not much of a problem for the Lizards) but also abandons the chance to get many points as my characters are safe.

Turn 1

Too enthusiastic move on the left and not aggressive enough approach on the right. On the left I exposed chariot to the attack, first mistake. Then moved Reavers too close so that Jungle Swarms could block it. As a consequence, I exposed the chariot and instead of being ready to attack with 3 units against one, where I had a chance to break the veteran by killing his skinks, I lost the chariot and an opportunity to attack.

On the right all 3 units should be on the river bank immediately. They were in the charge range of the Scar Veteran but positioning should be such that allows for counter from any other 2 units. If I spread Silver Helms they would have been steadfast too as I had a champion to issue a challenge.

Turn 2

I exposed light cavalry to shooting. I should have charged with one unit to either destroy or stop the jungle swarm. The second unit should have faced isolated skinks and shoot at them too, being in the position to charge in unison with Dragon Princes. I am not sure why I didn't charge with them either. One possibility is that this particular Veteran had 2++ against flaming attacks.

On the right I should have risked charge with White Lions. At worse I would have failed but still be close. Instead I moved three units slowly and what is more without mutual support to cover each other. Because of that Skink Chief attacked Silver Helms and I was lucky they held.

Turn 3

While the attack on the right flank was good and I had eagles to block the counter from Saurus, then on the left I failed miserably. I attacked the swarms but should have blocked skinks with veteran with reavers. While I had a chance to flee and remain in place with cavalry I risked rolling too high too. As I did.

Turn 4

I should have simply moved Bob to archers and allow Swordmaster better mobility. I slowed them down and made them reactive rather than independent units to guard the flank of  a more fragile formation.

Turn 5

Another stupidity on my part. My initial plan was to hold with eagle, let Saurus pursue into Lions and then counter with two other units. Why did I abandon the plan is beyond me. :(

I also failed to position Silver Helms in the way that blocked individual charge.

Turn 6

Another consequence of my bad play. I should have moved Swordmasters back so that Temple Guard cannot charge them. Instead I was afraid that long 10 or 11+ charge might have happened and fled only to roll box cars to rally next turn.

It is really a miracle I got a very minor loss: 9.65 - 10.35 after so many mistakes that made me ask a question if I know how to play warhammer any more.

I still hope it was a report worth reading if only to know what one can do to lose a game that started so well.


Hammer of Dave 2 - Summary

Hammer of Dave became a special tournament for me. Last year I attended it as a first local tournament. This year it was one of the "biggest" events as Dave tries to run different formats that often require smaller armies. But it is great to see quite nice attendance considering the fact the community in Canberra is relatively small. I like the fact there are new players attending too (although they might be new to me as unfortunately I don't play that often :().

In any case a great Thank You! to Dave for organizing the event and for Good Games Canberra for running it! As always, awesome job guys! 

In general I was very happy with the overall performance. I won 4 games and lost the last one very narrowly. It gave me a very respected 3rd place! The army did well, the general had some good but also not so great moments. I guess learning process never ends! :)

It was good to test some new ideas. Here is the little summary of things I observed.

1. Chariots - I am sure I haven't used them to their full potential yet. What I have found a little bit annoying is that feeling that against the armies with cannons it looks like giving away free points to the enemy. Yes, they don't shoot other things but in general I don't have good targets for the cannons anyway. By including chariots I suddenly provide them. And I need to position them accordingly so that loss of one or both does not cause a chain reaction of panic checks.

They are good to table control and if used in pair they can do some damage. They can blunder too and against good armour S5 may not be enough (see the game against Bretonnia). When divided their potential is limited and depends greatly on that impact hits dice roll.

After that experience I decided to get back to my heavy cavalry again as I feel more comfortable with them but at the same time I don't discard the chariots entirely. I admit I need a better plan on how to use them in my army.

2. Heavy Cavalry
- I don't have enough of them. It was clear in the last game in particular when the enemy decided to pull back and I was too slow to get them. Also, while Silver Helms are good as medium cavalry they are not as good as Dragon Princes (obviously!) and should not be used as such. There might be minor differences in how you use them but they might be significant too.

Last but not least and definitely the most important thing. I would like to thank my opponents for 5 fantastic games. Dave, Adam, Rich, Sam and Simon, thanks a lot as without your fantastic attitude the whole event would not be as great. I am looking forward to meeting you on the field of battle again! Well don guys!  

I hope you enjoyed the battle reports from that tournament and thanks a lot for reading!  :)

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