Saturday 11 July 2015

Game 127 - Vampire Counts - 2014/12/31

Game 5 - Dave - Vampire Counts - Battle for the Pass

The last game of MiniMe tournament was Battle for the Pass. It is another scenario that poses an additional challenge as I need more space for these outflanking maneuvers. Fortunately I didn't draw a gunline that would sit in the corner and keep destroying me from the distance.

This time I played against Vampire Counts again, this time led by Dave. Dave organized a few tournaments himself (CanCon 2013 among others) and I played against him just after the release of DE army where he was running the army with Hellebron. It was great to see him at another tournament after a break and I hope he is going to be a regular participant from now on. Dave's VC were infantry based in the same way as Dustin's but with some notable differences.

Vampire Counts - Army List

Vampire Lord, General, Heavy Armour, Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Ogre Blade, The Other Trickster's Shard, Quick Blood - Lore of Vampires- 359
Master Necromancer, level 3, Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse Icon, Talisman of Endurance - Lore of Death  - 225

Necromancer, Seed of Rebirth - Lore of Vampires - 75
Wight King, BSB, Armour of Destiny, Great Weapon - 165

40 Crypt Ghouls, Champion - 410
40 Zombies, Standard - 125
20 Zombies, Standard - 65

28 Grave Guard, Full command, Banner of Barrows, Great Weapons - 416
5 Hexwraiths  - 150
4 Vargheists - 184

Terrorgheist  - 225

Swedish Comp: 13.9

Ok, so let's see in more details what Dave decided to bring to the table:

Vampire Lord - as always a very good combat character with ASF, S7 and plenty of attacks. Fortunately some of my troops have ASF too but then the units who has a chance to harm him strike at initiative order. The good news is that I can kill him with combat resolution and given the opportunity that is the best way to do. He will also stay with his troops, at least at the start, to provide leadership and ability to march as well as to stay safe among his minions.

Master Necromancer - I think it is the first time when I played against Necromancer with Death Magic. It is a very good lore against characters and that in itself is an interesting choice. Also in addition to Vampire Lord skills in combat where he can go and kill enemy heroes too. I will have to be careful not to get too close.

Necromancer - Master Necromancer helper, he is already useful to provide one more channeling attempt. Additional spell from Lore of Vampires, even if it is "just" an invocation. Little regeneration is also of some value. Sure, it might not provide overwhelming protection but having something rather than nothing is always a good thing in my book.

Wight King - a solid choice for BSB, especially with Grave Guard. His 3 wounds, T5 and 4++ ward save. He strikes at good strength too and with Killing Blow on top of that too!

Crypt Ghouls - usual suspect in VC armies. No need for additional introduction, the question is which characters are going to accompany them :) Luckily for me I know I have the tools to deal with that unit, both at the distance and in close combat.

Zombies - two units, large and small. The advantage of having zombies is that they can grow very fast. They are also dangerous if you let them come at you from the flank. However, I also know that this type of unit can be grind down by my troops. In fact, spearelves or archers will be fantastic in that job as they have re-rolls to hit and they can destroy zombies faster than by shooting.

Grave Guard - Elite infantry of the VC army. Hitting hard with +1 to hit, S6 and killing blows. Can be dealt with by multiple charges (see game 1) and I will definitely look for the opportunity to do so. I expect them to do significant damage if fighting one on one.

Hexwraiths - Quite dangerous unit so I am glad there is only one and only 5 strong. I needed to make sure they cannot jump over my troops turn one and had enough magic missiles and magic weapons to actually hunt them down. BSB has Sword of Might while one of the Nobles has Star Lance. Both perfect to deal with them. But as I said, I have to keep them in my front.

Vargheist - hard hitting unit but quite fragile with T4 and no armor. Frenzy can be exploited but I assumed they will be either turned back to front or stay close to the general and BSB. Another unit I cannot afford having behind my back. Fortunately, these guys are also vulnerable to my shooting. I counted on Heavens magic here too.

Terrorgheist - another usual suspect and priority to kill. It will not be easy to hunt it down but shooting, magic and possible combat should eventually get him.

I admit I was aware of the standings among the players. I was unhappy to lose 2 games already and initially I thought I have lost a chance to place well. However, it seemed that if I won high there might be an opportunity to fight for better overall standings. I was 5th at this moment and the situation looked as follows:

Bretonnia that won 3 games and drew one was fighting against Daemons of Chaos that won 3 and lost 1 game.
Lizardmen that won 3 games and drew one was fighting against Bretonnia (my opponent from game 4) who won 3 and lost 1 game.

In terms of points 1st Bretonnia and 2nd Lizards were impossible to catch unless they lost 20-0. However, DoC and second Brets were close enough. I mention this because it is actually the first time when I entered the game with such thoughts! Seems like I am coming to the dark side!  :shock:  :lol:

I wanted to finish the tournament with a victory if possible (always good feeling) so I was determined to play aggressively. I knew I have quite a few models to hunt down and planned to engage as soon as possible, also with archers. I decided shooting is helpful but way too slow to tackle enemy units (although a wound or two against Terror always helps) and I know from experience that crumbling is faster than healing. I believed I had good speed to get into good combats but I also thought I needed to be bold and sometimes take the chances.

Deployment or early 1st turn

After Vanguard

Respective wizards had following spells:

Master Necromancer - Spirit Leech, Soulblight, The Fate of Bjuna

Vampire Lord - VanHels

Necromancer - Invocation

Archmage - Harmonic Convergence, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Urannon's Thunderbolt, Chain Lightning

Vampires won the roll of for the first turn.

Vampire Counts - Turn 1
Vampires move forward
And stay close to their left flank

Vampire Lord gave the order to march forward and his minions obeyed without delay. However, some of the shambling hordes were a little too far away to feel the dark power properly. As a result Grave Guard and Zombies moved at a slower pace.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elven right pulls back

Elven left pushes forward

Fast troops on the Elven left flank used the opportunity and galloped to surround undead. At the same time the regiments on the Elven right flank pulled back to keep safe distance from the Hexwraiths and don't allow them to jump to the back yard.

Elven shooters aimed at a Terrorgheist but failed to wound the beast this time.

Vampire Counts - Turn 2
Undead shift the direction of the attack
Terrorgheist claims first victims

Vampire Lord decided he will stop the Elves who tried to envelop his forces. He ordered his flying troops to spearhead the attack. He also drew deeply from the winds of magic and added some more vigor to his minions so that they moved even faster. Thanks to that, magically animated Terrorgheist moved over the heads of nearby Reavers and screamed at them. Four elven warriors dropped from their saddles but their companions were determined to keep fighting.

At the same time Hexwraiths attacked the Swordmasters who performed tactical withdraw and exposed them to the counter charge of nearby Spearelves.

Outcasts - Turn 2
First Elven attacks
Hexwraiths and Vargheists are gone

Elves attacked exposed units. Hexwraiths were charged by Spearelves and Star Lance wielding noble and between these two enough casualties were caused to destroy the unit. Spearelves tried to use the attack momentum to keep moving forward but their overrun was more like over-walk.

Swordmasters hit the flank of the Vargheists who foolishly landed in that area. Single beast stroke back but the magic keeping it alive was broken and soon it turned into dust.

Unfortunately, magic and shooting were still ineffective.

Vampire Counts - Turn 3
Vampire Lord attempts to break the encirclement

Terrorgheists strikes again!
Vampire Lord charged the Swordmasters who withdrew as otherwise they would have died for nothing and allowed undead to break the ring tightening around them.

Terrorgheist, now on its own, flew to land near Dragon Princes and another powerful scream killed entire unit. Nearby Reavers lost their nerve this time and fled to safety.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elves continue their attack
Three powerful strikes

Elves kept attacking, seeing the opportunity to stall undead advance and secure the flanks. Spearelves engaged Zombies and with the assist of the Curse spell cast on brainless dead, they tore through the bodies as hot knife through the butter. Archers followed their example and showed they can be very efficient in combat too.

On the other flank, Dragon Princes enraged by the destruction of their companions, charged the Terrorgheist. Eagle riding Noble tried to follow but even he was not fast enough. However, Dragon Princes hit hard and managed to kill the monster on the spot (Edit: I was lucky to inflict 5 wounds this time.)

Vampire Counts - Turn 4
Zombies melt fast

Undead army is dangerously divided

Grave Guard, far away from the Master, stayed motionless, awaiting orders. Zombies, without any form of support, kept falling apart at alarming speed. Vampire Lord killed the Eagle that blocked his path and awaited Elven attack. But he was prepared as he ordered his Master Necromancer to make his enemies weaker with a Soulblight spell. That went off irresistibly and the feedback killed the necromancer's apprentice.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Setting the stage for an attack
A gamble

Dragon Princes and Swordmasters attacked regardless and hit both flanks of Ghouls simultaneously. Swordmasters suffered the brunt of the attack by Vampire Lord but Elves still managed to destroy enough Ghouls to win the fight. They now had to hold on one more turn before the reinforcements could relief them.

At the same time Spearelves were too enthusiastic in killing zombies and were now exposed for a counter attack by Grave Guard.

Vampire Counts - Turn 5
Dragon Princes and Swordmasters hold the line!
But Spearelves fail
Spearelves were determined to hold the line against Grave Guard so that Swordmasters could help them with a timely flank attack. BSB challenged Wight King but he was not able to destroy it and was killed in return (Edit: Killing Blow!). Spearelves suffered horrendous casualties and could not hold.

On the other hand, Swordmasters and Dragon Princes kept hacking Ghouls and won another round of combat. It meant that Vampire Lord was doomed as Elven reinforcements were about to strike at the rear of thin line of Ghouls.

Outcasts - Turn 5
The end of Vampire Lord
Only Grave Guard was left

Archers, Reavers and both Nobles charged in. Many spells were cast to support the Elves and despite the fact some troops were visibly shaken by the prospect of fighting against such a powerful enemy as Vampire Lord, undead were all turned into dust. Only Swordmasters didn't survive that combat.

On the other flank Swordmasters and White Lions prepared for coming back of the Grave Guard (Edit: While writing this I realized we made a mistake as in Battle for the Pass there is no way for units to leave the battle field through the sides.)

Vampire Counts - Turn 6
Grave Guard returns

Only to see there is no trace left of their master

Grave Guard returns to position themselves for incoming attack of Elven elite infantry.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Last charge of the Swordmasters!

With only one enemy regiment left the plan was simple. Both, Swordmasters and White Lions, charged in but only Swordmasters made it. Archmage rushed to help and managed to support warriors of Hoeth with Harmonic Convergence. Swordmasters were brutal, killing 11 Grave Guards but it was not enough to crumble entire unit and they disengaged. (Edit: It was the first time where Convergence really helped)

It was clear that Elves won although they were a little disappointed they didn't destroy all the undead minions.

Turn-by-turn Summary

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After-battle thoughts

I was very happy the plan worked and that I got solid 17:3 victory. I pressed hard and that paid off, in particular in the turn where Soulblight affected Dragon Princes and Swordmasters. Unfortunately for Dave he made some mistakes that helped me in this game too. I am not sure, for example, why he exposed his Vargheists to flank attack. I think he didn't have to rush with his Hexwraiths either. In the end, the crucial mistake was to split his forces that allowed me to hit his units from many directions.

There were some issues in my game too. For example, I was way too optimistic I have a chance to hold Grave Guard so maybe some redirecting with reavers was more important. I was concerned my two regiments would not hold in second turn of combat against Ghouls so wanted to have fast troops to mount another attack. But maybe I was too cautious?

Even in that situation I should have fled with Spearelves. While I would lose points I would not lose both banners. Always important thing.

In any case I was happy to finish the tournament with a victory and many thanks to Dave for a great game as always!

Tournament Summary

I would like to start with big thanks to Mark, who organized the tournament but also stepped in as a player to make sure we have even numbers. He was also very kind to lend me his 2 griffon riders so that I could play test nobles on eagles.

It was smoothly organized tournament and it was also made to be a practice for CanCon at the end of January 2015, hence the player's pack and scenarios taken from that event. Although as a test and practice it didn't have painted army requirement.

It was fantastic to meet some of the people I played against before and to have a chance to play against new people too! I also chatted with Master players and it was great to catch up with these great players.

In the end I was lucky to jump on 3rd place as in the other 2 games leading Bretonnian player defeated Daemons 19-1 and kept his 1st position. Congratulations to Richard for a great performance, not only he won the tournament but defended his title from the last year. Anthony Spiers with his Lizards was in hot pursuit and he too won his game 19-1 but it was not enough to get to the top this time. Still fantastic achievement with his unique Lizards. Because both losing players were contenders for 3rd position their big losses and my solid victory resulted in that change in the final standings.

I was also honored to win best sport award but as I was already 3rd overall that award was passed to the next person. But it was amazing to know people gave me their votes!

I was happy with the army list and eagle nobles in particular. They do need better protection though, even if it is one use only so I will give them Charmed Shield and Golden Crown. In terms of magic I was unable to use the potential of Heavens magic. I have discovered that even with the best spell configuration I have 2 spells that do damage and 2 that are either hex or augment. That means that usually I was limited to two per magic phase, depending on the turn of the game. That made dispelling much easier for the opponents. I will come back to Larry the Lormaster then. But I like Magic Resistance items, they are very handy, so I might add one of these too.

Thanks again for comments and for reading!


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