Monday 14 November 2016

KoW - 3d6 October - Game 3 - Varangur - 2016/11/13


In the third and last game I played against Michael and his Varangur. Yet another army I have almost no experience to play against. I have had a single game against them so far and that proved to be a very bloody encounter. 

I was thus curious what kind of army Michael is going to field. He went for a force that had very few units but almost all of them were tough and hard hitting.

Varangur -Army List

40 Bloodsworn, Horde, Crepognon’s Scrying Gem of Zellak, Headstrong and Fury - 280
- 10 Warband, Troop - 75
- Cavern Dweller, Monster - 205
- Magus Conclave, War Engine - 100
- Magus, Hero, Lightning Bolt (4), Bane Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman - 120

20 Sons of Korgaan, Regiment, Fire-Oil, Headstrong and Fury - 235
- 5 Tundra Wolves, Troop - 110
- King on Chimera, Hero, Ensorcelled Armor, Lifeleech (1) - 355

6 The Fallen, Horde, Brew of Strength - 270
- Herja - 260

Only 10 elements in the entire army. That means almost each one of them will be harder to damage. The difference in the number of units and characters will be mitigated by Scrying Gem of Zellak, the artifact that was used against my army in the previous battle. 

As usual, let's have a look at each element in more detail:

40 Bloodsworn - I faced that unit before and I knew they can take a lot of punishment and hit back hard. However, they are also quite expensive unit so if it goes down it usually means a significant swing in attrition points. The usual disadvantages of an infantry horde apply here, i.e. wide frontage allowing more units to charge against them, difficulty in avoiding terrain, etc. It is also one of the slowest elements of the army.

20 Sons of Korgaan - elite infantry of the Varangur army. They hit harder than the horde and on a narrower frontage too. As a regiment, they have lower nerve but 16/18 is still great. With CS(2) and hitting on 3+ they may still overcome the enemy defending the position in some kind of terrain or behind the obstacle. 

6 The Fallen - this is a completely new unit to me. As fast as cavalry and as well armored, they are much more maneuverable due to Nimble and Pathfinder. They will hit hard too, as with the Brew of Strength they have effective Crushing Strength (2). Yet another Defense 5+ unit with 16/18 nerve!

10 Warband - one of the few more fragile units, Warban is here to act as a living shield for other infantry units. Expendable, may also act as a scoring unit and control some objectives when other elements need to do the fighting. I will try to get rid of them quickly so that they don't interfere with the movement phase.

Cavern Dweller - I met two of these before and boy, they are tough. They are not only hard to kill on a charge but also can heal back all the wounds if you give them time. Fast enough to get where they are needed and not caring about any terrain or obstacles thanks to Strider. I got them last time but even when attacked with overwhelming forces, they do not go down easily.

Magus Conclave - one of the two elements with shooting abilities, Conclave is very annoying due to Individual special rule. Fortunately, this one does not have Elite to make it even more dangerous but this unit was on my priority list to eliminate,

Magus - multi-purpose hero, can inspire nearby units and keep blasting at the enemy with the Lightning Bolt. He will be more dangerous in later turns where his ranged attacks may pick damaged units and force that one more nerve test to rout them. But he was not my main concern for sure. 

5 Tundra Wolves - combat orientated fast cavalry, the Wolves are definitely dangerous thanks to their Thunderous Charge (1). Being nimble means they can get to the flanks easier. I would like to hunt them down with my own fast cavalry before they get anywhere near to cause trouble.

King on Chimera - the most expensive model on the table, the King was without doubt the most dangerous unit in my opponent's army. I admit big fliers cause me a lot of problems. This one looks like one of the toughest challenges. Defense 6+ is already bad enough on a fast and extremely mobile model. Very high nerve also means he can get in and shrug off whatever the enemy throws at him. Lifeleech will further help with recovering. With CS(3) he can also get into units in defended positions. Last but not least, he does not have to commit to melee because of breath attacks. In his case it is not even short ranged type of shooting because it is effectively 22" on a flier. 

I don't expect my own shooting is going to do much damage. But as we are playing with Clash of Kings players pack it may help to attack him to pin him down, if possible of course. Otherwise, not giving flanks or rears will be extremely important. Although easier said than done.

Herja - that hero was a big unknown for me. I learned that she can "resurrect" a unit and Michael nominated Sons of Korgaan. These guys are tough enough already but that makes them even more difficult to get rid of. She is quite a capable character on her own too. Good amount of attacks, CS(2) and Elite mean she will always inflict some damage. As a flying individual she is also the most maneuverable model on the table and it is a great asset both in attack and in the defense. Individual with Defense 6+ is also very hard to rout. With the King present I was not sure which hero is more dangerous as they can easily team up too.

I knew I was facing the biggest challenge in this game. Despite the fact the army had significantly fewer elements than mine and it looked tiny, it was very tough and mobile. I knew my chance was in isolating elements and trying to get them down with multiple charges but I was not sure how I am going to force that. 

I decided to deploy my shooters in the center, especially that I knew I would need to place a few units of my own in one go. I expected Varangur army to deploy in tight formation, probably on one flank, regardless of the scenario. If I could use that to outflank them, while inflicting some damage with shooting, I thought I may have the chance to put up the fight.



We had the following terrain:

Forests - Height 4
Rocks - Blocking - Height 4
Hills - Height 1

Deployment and Scenario

Armies arrayed for battle.

Varangur in a very tight formation.

In the last game the scenario was Push!. We both decided to put all 3 tokens on a single unit, Sons of Korgaan and Sea Guard, respectively.

I decided to use some of my fast units on the left flank to quickly counter the Conclave and turn to threaten the flank of the enemy. The center was to approach the enemy and shoot at the infantry so that the flanking force would be attacking the weakened opponent.

The units on the right were to intercept incoming enemy and pin them for a while to allow the flanking force to help. I didn't necessarily expect to hold the Sons and prevent them from reaching my half of the table but I though I may do the same and maybe the winner would be decided through attrition points.

I won the roll off and decided to take the first turn.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves approach the enemy.

The shooting is less efficient than usual.

The Elves begun their approach towards the enemy. Fast units on the left flank rushed towards the isolated Conclave. The shooters in the middle aimed to remove the Warband but failed to do so! Not a good start.

Varangur - Turn 1

Varangur rushes along the flank.

The Wolves are unleashed.

Majority of Varangur army rushed along the flank, using the protection of the forest. The Wolves were unleashed and now Elven Knights faced a very difficult situation. If they charged, they would be exposed to an attack of multiple enemy units. If they didn't that would have not saved them from the attention of the King on Chimera anyway.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Avoidance Maneuvers.

Elves decided to try and avoid the enemy but in doing so they completely disorganized their own battle line and some units exposed themselves badly. Only on the left flank fast units did their job and were now turning towards the center of the battle field.

Varangur - Turn 2

Elves are in a very bad spot now.

Varangur units intercept the enemy.

Using the excellent opportunity, Varangur press the advantage. First, King, Cavern Dweller and Wolves race further along the flank and open the path for the Sons of Korgaan to accomplish their mission.

Next, the Fallen attack an exposed flank of the Palace Guard regiment and destroy the unit on the charge. It is a very bad situation for Elves now because they are in no position to counter attack and their battle line is now shattered.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Delaying actions.

Elven forces split.

Realizing that a huge mistake was made, Elven commanders abandoned the initial plan of stopping Varangur and now focused on saving as much as possible from the lost cause. First priority was to allow Sea Guard a safe passage. In order to do so, some of the units attacked the enemy to buy time for their companions.

Varangur - Turn 3

Varangur hit very hard.

Varangur forces continue their attack and this time four Elven units perish almost at the same time. That is truly a powerful blow and it is clear that Varangur would carry the day. However, Elves still had hope they may diminish the margin of defeat.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves try to get away.

Would that be far and fast enough?

The remaining forces moved fast away from the enemy. Only Army Standard remained behind to delay the Fallen again. Silver Breeze cavalry also tried to get rod of the Wolves but somehow their usual accuracy was not there and the pack was in a  good shape.

Varangur - Turn 4

Varangur closing in.

The chase begins.

Varangur army begun the chase, with the King and Herja spearheading the attack. The Cavern Dweller and the Fallen were trying to keep up. Would the Elves have a way to slow them down?

Outcasts - Turn 5

The King is slowed down

Storm Wind charges to stop the King.

The Elven battle line was still in disarray but they managed to mount an attack to slow down the King. Storm Wind troop charged against him and managed to wound the beast. That was enough to attract its attention and allow a bit more time for the Sea Guard to run away.

Varangur - Turn 5

Herja catches the Sea Guard!

Elves are running out of options.

While the King and his pet Cavern Dweller destroy the blocking unit of Elven knights, Herja finds a gap and manages to catch retreating Sea Guard. They are not yet stopped but she is close enough to keep attacking them again.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Another attack to stop the advance of Varangur

Not being able to attack neither the King nor the Dweller, Storm Wind charges Herja. Unfortunately, they had to cross the line of obstacles and that completely blunts their attack.

Drakon Lord sacrifices himself to stop the King for a bit longer.

Varangur - Turn 6

Varangur claim more units.

Yet another Elven attack left their units exposed and Varangur didn't wait to exploit that. Retreating Sea Guard got attacked by Herja again and though they survived this time it would have been a miracle if they did so for the third time.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Last desperate attack of the Drakon Riders.

Last charge of the Elves.

With almost all the units gone, Elves attempted to hold the advancing Varangur one more time. But ultimately, they had no more options to do so.

Varangur - Turn 7

The end. Elven army is massacred.

Desperate attempts of Elven army to save Sea Guard failed. Last Elven units were destroyed and Sea Guard could not hold against the third charge of Herja the Fallen. Only the Mage was spared to tell the tale of that most crushing defeats.


Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

Ouch! That was by far the most crushing defeat I have ever suffered in Kings of War. I made tons of mistakes and Michael exploited them all expertly.

I think that all actually started with the deployment. Not a surprise really but I must admit I didn't anticipate that Varangur army will be deployed on the extreme flank like that. It is my fault, I should have seen that. Perfect corridor with the woods as a protection from the shooting and potential flanking attack.

In addition, I didn't deploy sufficient blocking force and moved the units on that flank badly. I am embarrassed that I exposed the flank of Palace Guard like that in turn 2. It was a huge blunder and entire idea of redeploying against fast enemy is simply bad. I should have moved the Knights back, reform Palace Guard to be ready to help if the King attacked and used Silver Breeze to shoot at the Wolves instead. Not a perfect solution but would have helped to stay in the game.

I knew I am losing the game after turn 2 so I tried to save the tokens. I almost made it but unfortunately for me there was turn 7. I also lost entire army in the process, something I could have avoided too, while doing a better job in delaying the enemy.

The crucial moment in that regard was turns 4 and 5. I didn't position my cavalry and drakon units well. That is why I could attack the King with Storm Wind troop only. What I should have been able to do was to land with Drakons to block the Line of Sight for Herja and not allow her to charge Sea Guard.

Also Storm Wind regiment was in a bad spot. Although I could draw a line of sight to either the King or Cavern Dweller I was in the flank arc of both. There was no room to complete the charge though. Charging Herja over the obstacle was again a bad move. I was hitting on 4+ without bonus from Thunderous Charge. I had no chance to stop her and gave away another unit for free.

Even Palace Guard troop was moved to the wrong direction, if they faced the other way I would have used them to coordinate the charges, instead I kept feeding Varangur army with one unit at a time.

The situation in turn 6 was that I fulfilled the scenario objective and had a few units left so maybe I could have saved some points. Michael would have won by attrition points but at least the margin of the defeat would have been smaller. But I guess it was fitting to go to turn 7 and I deserved to be massacred after quite an embarrassing performance.

It seems like this game is a perfect example of how NOT to play in Kings of War :)

Many thanks to Michael for a great game, congratulations for a well deserved 1st place and hopefully next time I will provide a better challenge!

Thanks for reading!


  1. wow - that was brutal - Varangar are tough

  2. It was! Varangur is indeed a tough army, that is why it is even more important not to make that many horrible mistakes against them :)

  3. I'm all to familiar with being matched against Herja and a flying lord. it's never an easy combination to deal with. I was wondering how you'd tackle them with smaller units.
    Valuable lessons learnt and onto the next one. If there's a choice then i'd like to see you matched against Nightstalkers again as it's only been the once and is the army that I'm now collecting! In any case, keep up the good work! - Cornwall

    1. Hi Cornwall!

      Thanks for your comment! I must say Herja is a great addition to the army. Incredibly flexible, hard to kill, very maneuverable too. Just the fact that she has 20" charge range in any direction meant I approached that horde on the hill very carefully. I simply didn't want to get grounded by the hero I cannot kill with a single unit.

      Unfortunately, this time I completely fail to tackle the flying duo but hopefully the lessons will help to perform better next time.

      I am participating in another one-day event this Saturday and Jules, the player who used Night Stalkers in the game I reported some time ago, may attend too. If he does there may be a chance we will meet again!

      You can expect some introduction to the new series of reports soon. :)

  4. Hi man, great report as always!! I follow your reports from the days of, always looking forward to the next, greetings from argentina

    1. Thanks a lot! It is fantastic to know you have been reading the reports for so long! I will do my best to provide some more. In fact, I am currently preparing a new one, this time against some Dwarves and their Earth Elemental friends :)