Thursday 8 December 2016

Game 37 - Trident Realms of Neritica - 2016/12/07

Ed's army

Some time ago I had a great pleasure to play against Ed and his Trident Realms. We both had quite a few games in the meantime, both armies evolved and we met again on Universal Battle for a re-match. 

Ed has qualified for UK Masters and is now busy preparing and testing various options. He intends to bring his beautifully painted Trident Realms. However, he also told me that as probably many other players that chose this faction, that Neriticans are very sensitive to enemy ranged attacks. In order to protect his army from such threat he was looking for different options. This time he decided to bring an allied contingent that is designed to battle enemy shooters - Night Stalkers!

Trident Realms - Army List

40 Naiad Ensnarers, Horde, Brew of Strength - 260
- Kraken, Monster - 230
- Naiad Centurion, Hero, Ensorcelled Armor -  145

6 Depth Horrors, Horde, Fire-Oil - 190
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Naiad Centurion, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze -  150

6 Depth Horrors, Horde - 185
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Siren, Hero - 140

3 Tidal Swarms*, Regiment - 75
3 Tidal Swarms*, Regiment - 75

Night Stalker Allies

3 Fiends, Regiment - 130
3 Fiends, Regiment - 130

The Allies are always intriguing concept. On one hand they are obviously meant to be included in order to add variety and individual touch to the army. Allied contingent also offers more modelling and painting opportunities. But at the same time they are included to cover what is perceived as a weakness of the original force. 

Adding Night Stalkers was a very interesting option. From the gaming point of view they offer a lot to the army. First of all, they have Stealth so that they can limit the efficiency of the enemy shooters. Ed decided to pick Fiends that are also fast, have good nerve and can hit reasonably hard with Crushing Strength 1 and Vicious. Mindthirst is also very helpful for this contingent as Allies don't use Inspiring presence of the main force heroes. 

The regiments are also relatively inexpensive so can be played more aggressively and distract the enemy so that the main force arrives intact. 

Potential weakness of Fiends is that they don't have much armor on comparison to heavy cavalry, for example. They have a good nerve value but my own knights and Drakons can still outpace them. Of course I needed to remember it is exactly what Ed would want me to do in order counter attack with his other units. I am sure he would be happy for such exchange. :)

This time I will not go through each unit as Ed kept many of them the same as last time. Please, follow the link to the report from our previous game if you are interested in more details and how I perceive each of them here.

I will only focus on some changes Ed made in comparison to the army I faced last time:

40 Naiad Ensnarers - main unit of the army but this time with a Brew of Strength. It is a very useful combination. They have a very good chance to survive the initial attack but they need a bit of more punch in order to counter charge with a good result. CS(1) is a perfect solution to that. And if Naiads can eliminate units by themselves they may have also a chance to survive the melee thanks to their healing abilities.

Naiad Centurions - this time there is a pair of Centurions, one with Defense 6+, the other with Wings. I think the reason for that is that both can inspire nearby troops while previously present Placoderm could only affect the same type of a unit. Both are very useful thanks to their flexibility. They are not easy to kill and may require more effort to do so. 

Siren - it is not the first time I meet Siren on the battle field. Her Song is a very good skill, capable of disrupting both shooters and heavy cavalry. I was very curious how Ed was going to use that unique hero. 

In general the army seemed to be faster than the previous version. It is still melee orientated force with 13 elements. It can challenge my force in terms of speed and mobility although I believe I had a bit of an edge here. The shooting may still be helpful but with the addition of Fiends I didn't want to rely on it. My aim was to try and focus it on a single unit, preferably the fast ones and inflict enough damage to be able to destroy it in melee on the charge. 

Despite the fact that Trident Realms are designed to fight well in close combat I wanted to use my slight advantage in the number of elements and the fact they are a bit faster to pick the favorable fights. Or create beneficial exchanges.

I had the same army I used in the recent tournament as I really liked the new possibilities it offered to explore. Here is the list for reference:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry - 160

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65

3 War Chariots, Regiment - 140
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65
20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 150 
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
- Elven Mage, Hero, Inspiring Talisman, Bane Chant(2), Fireball (10) - 120

Scenario and Deployment

Terrain and Loot tokens

We played with the standard terrain settings:

Hills - height 1
Forrest - height 4, difficult
House - height 3, blocking
Lake and Wheat Field - height 0, difficult
Obstacles - height 1

We rolled for the scenario and this time it was Loot. It was an interesting situation for me because Ed placed his marker on the same flank. That already suggested refused flank formation. Which I thought would make sense since he had a bit slower force so that he could deny my speed advantage.

Deployment order

As expected, Ed deployed majority of his army facing loot tokens. However, I didn't expect a fast contingent on the right flank. I think it was a very good idea and I was glad I decided to deploy with fast elements on both flanks so that I could potentially counter the Knuckers.

Fiends in the front line, protecting slower and more fragile Horrors was also to be expected. I made them a priority to deal with as otherwise they would cause a lot of trouble. I wanted to use my shooters to hopefully soften them a little before the melee. It may sound as a bad idea but the plan was to inflict some damage, not to destroy them. This way their advantage of higher nerve would be negated.

On the left flank I wanted to use the refused flank Ed adapted to my advantage. Since two units would need to advance between the edge and house, I could intercept Fiends and at the same time block the Horrors behind. Even if going for exchange of units I considered that a good option because that would potentially open that flank for my units.

The problem was that nearby Kraken could ruin that plan easily so I needed to be decisive and catch the advancing units at the right time.

Final deployment.

I focused on eliminating enemy units first rather than collecting the Loot because I wanted to maintain speed advantage. With the loot the units would get slower. If I succeeded I would be able to pick up the treasure later on to meet the scenario objectives.

Ed won the roll off and chose to go first!

Trident Realms - Turn 1

Neriticans and their allies advance.

Trident Realms army moved forward but not at full speed. The units maintained coherent battle line and while some advanced in the charge range of their enemies, not all of them could potentially attack at once. And if they did they would had to face the second wave too.

On the right flank, fast and nimble Knuckers, led by the flying Centurion, landed in the nearby forest, clearly with the intention to hit the vulnerable side of the Elven army.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves charge to block the outflanking maneuver.

Elves advanced with caution, it was too early to commit and they wanted to use few advantages to create even better opportunities for a well coordinated attack.

In order to give time for the army to prepare to do so, Drakon Lord and Regiment both charged the Centurion in the Forest. It seemed like a foolish attack against the enemy in a very well defended position. However, Elven flying cavalry intended to block the Knuckers from attacking more vulnerable shooters.

Silver Breeze cavalry focused on the incoming Night Stalkers. With the help of War Chariots they inflicted quite a substantial damage and evil Fiends wavered. At the same time infantry entered the forest on the left to stop the Naiads while the units on the far flank tempted Fiends for an early charge.

Trident Realms - Turn 2

Siren's Song!

Fiends took the bait and charged Storm Wind cavalry. The Elven knights held but were wavered. Their companions were lured by the Siren Song and broke the formation too.

On the right flank both Knuckers charged Drakons but one of them lost the impetus due nearby obstacles. That saved the Drakons but they still were hard pressed and could only hold. At the same time Centurion challenged Drakon Lord.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Powerful attack!

Advancing enemy left a few openings so Elves used the opportunity to launch a preemptive strike. On the left flank, the knights pulled back and made room for a flank charge of Sea Guard. They managed to rout the Night Stalkers!

Army Standard used his exceptional mobility to move around the units and to block Depth Horrors from joining the fight. That gave time Drakons and Palace Guard to engage Kraken. The beast was without support and surrounded by multiple enemies. That disorientated the monster completely.

But the hardest punch came against Naiads. Caught in the open, Ensnarers were charged by three units at once. Storm Wind in particular, ashamed for breaking the formation, wanted to redeem themselves. With the aid of magic, they hit the exposed flank really hard and Naiads horde disintegrated.

“… Sexy Sadie warmed up for the contest ahead with a few practice strums on her lyre, some soft arpeggios and some gentle shimmying motions; she felt irresistible today. The Trident King had told her to be careful how she used her powers of attraction, but she would show him what she was capable of. As the enemy battle line approached she spotted some dashing Elven knights on prancing steeds. Those boys were hot - all chiselled features and tasteful apparel, so without waiting for commands she showed them her best moves and launched into her most seductive song. It worked like a dream - the Elves dashed towards her, unable to help themselves and into the jaws of the trap. But wait a minute, what is this? The devious Elves - tricksier than hobbits - suddenly veered off course and charged into the unsuspecting flank of the Naiads. Oops, oh well, these things happen (shrug). Sadie could feel one of the Trident King’s boring serious talks coming on when the battle was over and they were safely back beneath the waves - yawnsville!” - by Ed

The fast cavalry focused on their task and kept shooting at the Fiends. And again evil creatures were confused under the unexpected fire and wavered.

Trident Realms - Turn 3

Neriticans press on the right.

The things didn't go according to the plan of the Centurions so they had to adapt quickly. Knuckers were ordered to press harder but stubborn Drakons refused to yield.

Depth Horrors in the center started to shuffle to the side as it was clear that the Fiends would keep them blocking. Another horde of Horrors got rid of the annoying army standard but were now exposed to the attack of more powerful Elven units.

The Kraken pulled back to lick its wounds but his regenerative system didn't kick in just yet.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves continue their attacks.

Trying to get the most out of the initial successes, Elves pressed forward. Sea Guard on the left kept Horrors busy so that other units could finish off Kraken and Tidal Swarms. At the same time one Palace Guard unit was detached to support Elven marines.

Storm Wind in the center had a new task. They were to finish off Night Stalkers and to block Depth Horrors until the reinforcement arrived. Last but not least, the shooters shifted their attention to the Knucker, taking advantage of the fact it was still blocked by the Drakon Riders.

Trident Realms - Turn 4

The Drakons hold against all odds!

The battle was far from over as none of the armies tried to grab the treasure. Depth Horrors on the left, with the aid of Centurion, destroyed Sea Guard. But the Horrors in the middle of the battle field could not rout Elven Knights!

To make matters worse for the Trident Realms, the Drakons on the right held one more time! (Edit: Double 1's for the nerve happened!)

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves attack again.

Elves were gaining an advantage but had to attack again to make sure the enemy is not going to get away with the treasure.

On the left Palace Guard inflicted substantial damage to the Horrors but they held their ground. The other unit was not so lucky and perished under brutal flanking attack.

The units on the right continued to exchange the blows with Knuckers who held but started taking damage.

Trident Realms - Turn 5

Taking the loot!

Withdrawing Horrors snatched the loot while nearby Centurion tried to stop one of the Elven units. So did the Siren but it didn't work.

On the other hand, Tidal Swarms overwhelmed War Chariots completely!

Brave Drakons on the right flank finally fell but the enemies were held there long enough to prevent them from helping in the center.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Reclaiming the Loot!

With majority of the enemy army gone, Elves could now focus on reclaiming the treasure. Palace Guard on the left engaged Horrors to do so while their companions kept the Centurion busy.

Drakons in the middle had no problems with defeating Tidal Swarms and reclaiming second piece of the loot.

The rest of the units focused on the remaining Knuckers in order to prevent them from attacking the center.

Trident Realms - Turn 6

Last attempt.

With very few remaining units, the options for Trident Realms army were limited. Both centurions attacked the chosen enemies but both failed to destroy them. The Knucker was not successful either and Elves seemed to control the treasures for good.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last charges.

With the majority of the treasure under control, Elves attacked one last time to make sure the dangerous Knuckers would not follow their trail.

Both Centurions withdrew without the army.


Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

I would like to thank Ed for another great battle! While this time the end result was a decisive Elven victory, I think his plan was sound and the army is really dangerous. There were a few crucial factors that helped me to carry the day and definitely ruined the plans for Ed.

First, the unexpected waver result for the Fiends in the middle. Or rather that my 3 units would inflict enough damage to make it possible. I even parked my Army Standard in front of this formation to slow their advance but in the end it was not necessary.

Second, the blocking of the Knuckers on the right flank. I was surprised it took so long and that in the end I actually lost only Drakon Riders while both Knuckers were dead. Thanks to the fact that melee lasted for a few turns I had enough time to stop the advance through the center of the battle field.

Next, the Siren Song. Instead of disrupting my troops, the Song repositioned my heavy cavalry to allow a flank attack. They had a clear charge path and even without their lances but with the aid of the mage, they inflicted huge damage upon Naiads.

In addition, I managed to kill second unit of Fiends and waver Kraken. I was prepared for some exchanges on that flank but again, things worked better than expected.

The Horrors managed to inflict some damage but failing to destroy Storm Wind also sealed their fate.

I am also glad that my plan to focus on the enemy army first and then taking the loot worked. In my previous game with the same scenario I tried to take the treasure first and it didn't work that well at all.

I know that many of the above were frustrating for Ed but I hope he still enjoyed the game and that he is going to continue experimenting with Trident Realms + Night Stalker allies. I think it is actually a very good and interesting combination.

Thanks for reading!

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