Sunday 5 July 2015

Game 121 - Vampire Counts - 2014/09/28


Another episode of garage hammer but this time at my friend Kaleb place. Last time we played at the local store and he brought Dwarves then. This time he decided to field Vampire Count army themed around Strigoi Ghoul King and his minions. We played on his beautiful gaming table and being a sneaky opponent, Kaleb made his table 4 x 4 feet wide so that my small units had less space to run around his flanks! Battle for the Pass it is then.

Kaleb brought the following army:

Strigoi King - Army List

Strigoi Ghoul King, Terrorgheist, Level 1, Baguile, Quickblood, Red FuryBook of Arkhan, Dragonbane Gem, The Other Trickster's Shard - Lore of the Vampires - 625
Necromancer, Corpse Cart, Level 2, Master of the Dead, Berserker Sword, Dispel Scroll - Lore of the Vampires - 235

39 Crypt Ghouls, Champion - 400
5 Dire Wolves - 40
25 Skeleton Warriors, Full Command, Screaming Banner - 180

7 Crypt Horrors, Champion - 276
5 Hexwraiths - 150

5 Cairn Wraiths - 250
Mortis Engine - 240
Quite compact undead army if you ask me. I didn't have the usual feeling that there is tons of skeletons/zombies to chew through before one gets to the more expensive characters or models. But that in itself is worrying because it may mean these expensive units/models are not that easy to defeat.

Strigoi Ghoul King - you don't see many of these and I guess lack of protection with only 5+ regeneration when there are so many flaming attacks around is the reason. But Strigoi King is a powerful fighter and if allowed to get into combat can do a lot of damage. Besides, Dragonbane Gem takes care of flaming attacks anyway. His infinite hatred and poisonous attacks add further to the combat prowess. But what makes him truly unstoppable is combination of Quick Blood (ASF) and Red Fury (additional attacks). So, he strikes first, with re-rolls due to ASF or Hatred and then adds some more due to Red Fury. The only small drawback is that he is S5 so heavily armored foes may be hard to hurt.

However, to deal with armor he uses his pet mount, the Terrorgheist! Screaming into combat is very handy, especially that it happens before the fight.

My plan was to avoid combat at the beginning as he would utterly destroy any single unit he would charge. Champions would only postpone the inevitable. But I could use magic missiles and small arms fire to wound him so that at least terrorgheist would be less efficient.

It would be difficult as he can heal himself and his Book is going to help him to be even faster but I needed to try as I know from a few previous encounters that it helps.

Necromancer - only level 2 so that magic superiority is not that overwhelming. Master of the Dead is expected upgrade as it is always good to summon more skeletons to the existing unit. It was interesting to see him on the corpse cart, another thing that is not that popular these days but can be quite helpful with its Vigor Mortis rule.

Has a regeneration special rule that can be quite annoying too.

Crypt Ghouls - they, for the change, are quite popular. Horde of them can produce quite a significant amount of poisonous attacks and with the support of the cart they can be even more deadly. Fortunately for me they are also quite vulnerable and even archers can do some damage against them.

Dire Wolves - very useful fast cavalry and a pity only a single unit as otherwise they would be very helpful in disrupting my movement.

Skeletons - block of ranked infantry is always useful and they carry the banner that forces the enemy to take the fear check on 3d6 and pick the highest two. Due to the numbers they have and possibility to grow more than starting point, they are very good road block and can win war of attrition against some of my regiments.

Crypt Horrors - very tough due to T5 and regeneration. "Only" S4 but against my fragile army this unit can grind through anything. Because of that I needed to attack first and attack fast. If I could combine the charge of Dragon Princes with Flaming Attacks and any of my Elites then I think I would have a chance to destroy them.

Hexwraiths - very good and very annoying unit. Definitely a priority for shooting attacks from Sisters and magic missiles. I cannot let them go behind my back. Possible charge of Dragon Princes may finish the stragglers as I could use their (Hexwraiths) attacks against them.

Cairn Wraiths - in some ways similar to hexwraiths. They are more dangerous in combat due to terror and 3S5 attacks each. Harder to shoot at due to skirmish and 2 wounds each and I have only 5 sisters in the army to deal with all the ethereal creatures. Magic missiles are the answer here.

Mortis Engine - very good support, increasing the regeneration for nearby troops. My small units would suffer if nearby and the longer it stays on the board the more dangerous it can be when it explodes. I can try to kill it early (if there is an opportunity) or try to avoid it and don't blow it up!

My army list for reference:

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster, Earthing Rod, Dragon Helm, Talisman of Endurance - 295
Bob the BSB, Dragon Armor, Golden Crown of Atrazar, Shield of the Merwyrm, Ring of Fury - 155
Nasher the Noble, Dragon Armor, Barded Steed, Enchanted Shield, Star Lance, The Other Trickster Shard - 145

15 Archers, Full Command - 180
15 Sea Guard, Full Command - 210
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spears, Bows - 105
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spears, Bows - 105

5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame - 165
5 Dragon Princes, Musician - 155
10 Swordmasters, Bladelord, Musician - 150
10 Swordmasters, Bladelord, Musician - 150
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard of Discipline - 165
10 White Lions, Musician, Gleaming Pennant - 155
5 Shadow Warriors - 70

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


Armies after vanguards

Elven deployment zone is quite crowded

I managed to squeeze the army into narrow deployment zone. Kaleb won the roll off and picked the side with the river to prevent me from choosing it as a good defensive position. I positioned Shadow Warriors to prevent vanguard move of the Dire Wolves. I also moved back the right regiment of Reavers to avoid potential screams.

I won the roll off and got the first turn!

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves begin

Advance on the right flank

High elves seized the initiative but with many enemy units out of range the efficiency of shooting and magic missile attacks was limited. Hexwraiths lost only two of their number and despite every bow (with the exception of Sisters of Avelorn and Sea Guard that was out of range) was aimed at the Strigoi King. Unfortunately for Elves, the creature and its mount were too tough to wound or the ones inflicted were quickly regenerated.

Strigoi King - Turn 1
Strigoi orders his minions to move forward
Dire Wolves unsuccessful charge

Vampire army shambles forward at a slow pace. Only Hexwraiths move fast to the safe spot next to the Dragon Princes. Dire Wolves charge seemingly exposed Shadow Warriors but they kill two of the bests with arrows and three more in close combat before they even had a chance to attack.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Elves cannot move around the flanks
Another round of inefficient shooting

With entire width of the pass blocked by the undead Elves cannot move aggressively and keep shooting. That still proves to be inefficient even if some wraiths are burned by magical fire and the terrorgheist is wounded again.

Strigoi King - Turn 2
Undead cross the river
Undead resurrection

The horde moved forward again, at a slow but steady pace. Only Mortis Engine was left on the other bank to deal with pesky Shadow Warriors. Whatever damage was done in the meantime was undone by the necromacner and Strigoi King.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elves attack - with Fire and Sword!
Crypt Ghouls are destroyed

Seeing an opportunity to break through one of the flanks, elven warriors attack. Dragon Princes spearhead the assault, their lances infused with magical energy and striking with the ferocity of pure fire. Swordmasters follow shortly after and foul creatures turn into ash completely.

On the left flank Hexwraiths are finally destroyed as well. It looks like the Elves achieved advantage.

Strigoi King - Turn 3
An attempt to counter charge
Shadow Warriors are finally caught
Strigoi King became impatient and decided to charge small group of White Lions but they withdrew behind the building. He then urged his mount to unleash piercing scream at nearby Swordmasters and many warriors of Hoeth died.

Mortis engine finally claimed the troubled souls of the Shadow Warriors. Other than that the VC army remained in its position.

Ellyrian Reavers held the line to give the time for the Swordmasters and their BSB to get to that safer position.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Unsuccessful attack on Mortis Engine
Advance on the left flank
Dragon Princes attempted to charge through the river but failed and lost two knights in the process. BSB was urged to withdraw to the safety.

On the right flank Elven units moved fast to engage Ghouls as it was clear they are not willing to close by themselves.

Strigoi King - Turn 4
Strigoi King moves to finish the job but ...
... magical energies claim his unholy soul

Strigoi King can now control the flank and flies his monstrous mount behind the Dragon princes. Noble Knights die to another shriek of the beast. Then Vampire draws way too much energy than is really needed and casts his spell. As a result, a breach in the fabric of reality is created and Strigoi King is drawn into another dimension.

With their master gone the power that animated and controlled undead is weakened and with necromancer gone it had no other source to maintain the bond.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Elves surround Ghouls in a tighter circle!

Elves move around again and once more surrounded confused ghouls who now had no one to tell them what to do. Elven arrows completely destroyed the corpse cart. Without dark magic practitioners, undead force was about to crumble.

Strigoi King - Turn 5

Undead crumble away

Finally, with the bond broken completely, terrorgheist, mortis engine and remaining wraiths disappear. The magical explosion of the engine catches no one in its radius. Remaining skeletons and ghouls disperse in the nearby forest, hunted down by merciless elves.


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After-battle thoughts

That miscast and dimensional cascade were very unfortunate and changed the course of the game dramatically. If Vampire didn't miscast he would have controlled that flank for sure. Kaleb took unnecessary risk by casting Invocation on 5 dice just to add more skeletons and that was not needed at this stage at all.

When we discussed the game he also mentioned that he totally forgot about flaming attacks of the Dragon princes and that sealed the fate of the Crypt Ghouls. I think they would have been better in the center of the line instead.

In general, the advance of undead army was slow and without shooting it didn't put as much pressure as it could. A pity because my shooting was horrible and I just could not score wounds at all.

On my side it was a mistake to leave the spot on the left flank for Hexwraiths. I even repeated that mistake later on but I thought that Sisters would deal enough wounds at that unit anyway.

Other than that I am happy with the outcome because Battle for the Pass is a difficult scenario for me. Of course, I would have preferred that Strigoi King was still there so that Kaleb could not take all the credit for the victory from me :) I am sure this will be just a good story for the future and that next time the dice will be with him!


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