Saturday, 3 December 2016

Kings of Cro-Nation 1 - Game 4 - Undead - 2016/12/03


In the last game of the Kings of CroNation  1 tournament I faced Chris who was commanding his trusty Undead. I played against Chris once before and he won then. I was thus eager for a re-match and to see if I learned something from that game! 

Chris has a blog of his own and I encourage you to pay visit, as he has some really cool stories about his army: The Vampires War Diaries

Chris brought exactly the same army I had a pleasure to play against last time. It meant that he could field entirely painted army of old school miniatures. Here is the detailed army list: 

Undead - Army List

20 Skeleton Spearmen (Thorned Wall), Regiment - 105
- 10 Skeleton Archers, Troop - 75
- 10 Skeleton Archers, Troop - 75
- Necromancer (Grimgul the Wise), Bane Chant (2) - 100

20 Revenants (The Nightmare Legion), Regiment, Undead Giant Rats - 130 
- 10 Ghouls, Troop - 65
- 10 Wraiths (Black Harvest) - 140
- Revenant King on Undead Wyrm (Lord Charnel and Pla) - 235 

40 Zombies (Grave Mistake), Horde, Undead Giant Rats - 140
- Cursed Pharaoh (Arkan the Bleak) - 145 
- Balefire Catapult (Skull Chucker) - 100

3 Zombie Trolls (Flensers), Regiment - 115

3 Werewolves (Night Hunters), Regiment - 160
- Lykanis (Shadow Stalker), Ensorcelled Armor - 180

6 Wights (Brutal Justice), Horde - 235

As the army is exactly the same as the last time we played I decided to copy-past the unit-by-unit description. I tried to update it here and there but I hope you don't mind I did that this way.

20 Skeleton Spearmen - Shambling infantry with a Phalanx special rule. They are not expected to inflict a lot of damage but can be great at holding objectives or slow down the enemy. In particular cavalry. The fact the unit cannot be wavered is a great advantage (the case of many Undead units). And Shambling is a very handy rule in combination with Surge. Something I don't have that much experience in playing against! 

Fortunately for me, this type of a unit may be defeated by my own infantry, even in the one-on-one situation so I will not be shy to get close and personal if the opportunity arises. As I have also learned previously, they can be annoyingly resilient, especially when forced to be attacked from the front. I hoped not to make that mistake again!

10 Skeleton Archers - 2 units of support ranged attacks. They look as if they are not dangerous but many times I learned that 1-2 points of damage in the late turns of the game is all that is needed to rout wounded units. Again, additional elements to hold objectives or to be sacrificed whenever the commander wishes!

As the last time they proved to be even more dangerous than I though (i.e. their arrows wavered Drakons and finished them off eventually), this time I wanted to make sure I get rid of them early.

20 Revenants - a better quality infantry, with higher Defense and Nerve values. Their offensive capabilities are also a bit better. A good defensive choice, especially if able to use some terrain but also the unit that can be dangerous if allowed to attack a flank, quite possible with Surge!

They don't have Phalanx, however, so even a frontal attack of heavy cavalry may see them routed, provided they are caught in the open.

10 Ghouls - One of the units that is not slow due to Shambling. They are also Speed 6 so quite fast for an infantry. The disadvantage is that they are possible to waver and have very little armor. But as they are also very cheap they are perfect expendables.

If I can catch them outside of Inspiring range a round of shooting may see them off, however. Hopefully I can get rid of them before they start being annoying and interfere with the movement of my own units. 

10 Wraiths - A very interesting unit! They fly and have a very long charge range, they have excellent defense but are also Shambling. It means, they can potentially threaten to attack as any other flying unit but may also spend longer to get into the position. However, they have been known to be the main beneficiary of Surge. Fly over the enemy, pivot and then get surged into the exposed rear or flank. With CS(1) they would do some damage for sure. 

This unit needs to be dealt with fast as otherwise they will cause a lot of trouble. Hopefully, my own fast units will intercept them.

40 Zombies - I guess no Undead force can call itself a true restless dead army without Zombies :) Entire horde of them is an excellent anvil. They may have poor Defense but are super cheap for a unit of that size.

Another harsh lesson was that even if the unit is not skilled, the large amount of attacks can still hep a lot. Definitely not a unit to be ignored.

3 Zombie Trolls - more Zombies! This type of trolls does not regenerate but can hit hard and can be Surged too. That means that they will operate differently to their still alive brethren. The good thing is I can hit them with a shooting and then try and finish them off in melee, even attacking from the front. 

3 Werewolves - probably my favorite unit in the army. I like their speed and maneuverability a lot. Very good armor, very good offensive skills, you simply don't want them to hit your flank. I still have a few units that can outpace them. Also, if they are not allowed to attack from the flank I may be able to hold them for a turn.

6 Wights - Extremely hard hitting unit. CS(3) is something to be afraid of and this unit packs 18 attacks with such a brutal strength. Speed 6 is also very good. Defense 5+ and high nerve mean that they can take the charge and counter attack comfortably. This makes them very dangerous as they can move aggressively forward and force such charges. 

Balefire Catapult - this army does not have that many ranged attacks so the catapult comes in handy to fill in that department. Very useful with indirect fire as it ignores cover penalties. It may not hit that often but when it does it hurts. It may be difficult to get it but if there is an opening for one of my fast elements I would definitely use it. 

Revenant King on Undead Wyrm - first of the characters in the army, the most dangerous one from my point of view. Very fast, super high nerve value and while hitting on 4+ with 9 attacks does not sound like the most dangerous option ever, if it hits - it does damage. And if it hits from the flank or rear then only lucky Snake Eyes roll may save me. 

Such big fliers are always a challenge. With only one of them I could potentially harm it with shooting a bit and then try and use my own fast elements to at least pin it down. I saw exactly what he can do if allowed to attack the flank or rear. He can easily destroy entire units by himself.

Lykanis - a very interesting choice, it will definitely lead Werevolves in the battle. But can also be a very dangerous on its own. Almost as fast and maneuverable as Revenant King, it has better armor and hits more often when in melee. It may be actually as difficult to hunt down as the King and having to deal with both at the same time will be a challenge.

Cursed Pharaoh - this is a very good, multi-purpose character. Good leader, quite resilient with good Defense value and Regeneration. Can Surge units too and has some reasonable melee capabilities if required. Fortunately, he is not flying as it would have been even harder to contain him. Because of that I expected I would need to deal with him in the later part of the game.

Necromancer - last but not least, the Necromancer is included to provide some useful spells, depending on the situation. Surge (8) is the best value in the army and Bane Chant (2) would help many units to inflict even more damage.

The army had 15 elements in total, exactly the same as I did. Based on the experience from the last game I expected that the King will be placed as the last and had to keep that in mind. It meant I needed to be extra careful so that no matter where he lands I don't expose any flanks yet.

Deployment and Scenario


We had the following terrain types:

Hills - height 1
Forests - height 4
Ruins - blocking, height 0
Obstacles - height 1
Pond - blocking, height 0
Towers - blocking, height 3

This time we played Loot. As both our armies had enough units to spread across the board and catch any of the tokens, it was already interesting to seek local advantages. Undead are potentially slower so I started wondering if I can simply run towards the loot tokens, grab them and use other units to shield them. On the other hand, there were some quite fast units in the enemy army that could charge far and catch those that tried to escape with the treasure.

The tokens were indeed placed in a way that forced wide deployment and this is what we ended up with:

Deployment and loot tokens

My initial plan was to use my speed to seize token on the left with Palace Guard and use cavalry to protect them. Nearby Palace Guard regiment was also close enough to help if needed. I deployed more units in the center because I also planned to reach the token as fast as possible and then help either flank, as needed. In addition, the units on the right were to either threaten to take the last token or slow down the units on that flank in order to help other two to be taken to safety.

In this game too I had the first turn!

Outcasts - Turn 1


Elves claim the first token

The Elves advanced fast on the left flank, using the forest as a cover from few but still annoying ranged attacks the Undead army could muster. But it was in the center where the advance was the most decisive, as war chariots sped forward and captured the first treasure!

Undead - Turn 1

The counter attack was swifter than Elves expected.

The power of Surge

The Undead counter attack with a speed and ferocity that Elves didn't expect. The power of evil magic invigorated Zombies so that they could attack together with their master and caught Elven War Chariots off guard. Elves fought bravely but could not stand against mass of Zombies and powerful King. They perished and the treasure was taken away from them. 

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves strike back.

Counter charge!

The Elven army had to act quickly before the Undead would take away the treasure. Sea Guard attacked the King to distract him while Drakons, their Lord and Storm Wind cavalry all charged against the Zombies. They succeeded in destroying the horde and reclaiming the treasure but were now quite exposed to the counter attacks of the second wave.

In the meantime, Palace Guard on the left claimed another artifact. As the Drakons had to be recalled to help in the center, the Elven infantry had to be left on their own. Fortunately, they had the assistance of Storm Wind that started distracting the nearby Undead units by running circles around them.

Undead - Turn 2

Undead attack the center.

Elven army under attack.

The fight for the possession of the treasure intensified and both, Drakon Riders and Storm Wind cavalry died to protect the Drakon Lord. The King attacked Sea Guard but the Elven infantry held the ground.

On the left Silver Breeze was wavered by the Skeleton Archers while brave Army Standard held against entire pack of Werewolves all by himself!

Outcasts - Turn 3

The desperate fight continues.

Elves attack the King!

Elves were now in possession of all the treasure but taking it to safety seemed extremely dangerous. On the left flank the situation was relatively good. The Drakons used the opportunity and flank charged the undead King but somehow the evil magic kept him in this reality. Now the Drakon Lord was really in a bad spot, with slim chances of survival.

Undead - Turn 3

Undead reclaim one of the artifacts again.

Drakon Lord is dead.

The Undead units slowly but surely were surrounding the Elves. Drakon Lord fought well but he could not hold against Wights alone. The units on the right flank kept the treasure for now but Lykanis and Werewolves were about to start closing in fast.

Outcasts - Turn 4

The King is destroyed!

Delaying actions.

The Elves were hard pressed now. Both Palace Guard troops were moving away from the enemy but the treasures slowed them down significantly. Sea Guard charged Wights to slow them down and Silver Breeze cavalry also sacrificed itself to buy a bit of time for their companions.

In the meantime, Drakons finally managed to destroy the King himself and a ripple of released evil magic bond spread across the battle field.

Undead - Turn 4

The Undead attack last time.

Suddenly everything stops.

Undead units seem to move with even less vigor than before and while they still managed to destroy two more units of the Elven army it was all they could do. Suddenly, the magic that animated the corpses was gone and the Undead army stopped motionless

Edit: At this moment Chris run out of time. According to the rules, he could not perform any further actions while I could complete my turns within the remaining time. 

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves attack anxiously.

It is quite strange to attack motionless warriors.

Elves were not sure what is going on and moved cautiously. Palace Guard and Storm Wind on the left flank destroyed Revenants as planned. In the middle of the battle field Drakons and Palace Guard moved towards Wights in order to reclaim the last artifact.

Outcasts - Turn 6

The last artifact was kept by Undead

Wights somehow do not perish.

Drakons and Palace Guard attack together but despite destroying almost entire unit of Wights they could not find the artifact they were after among the pile of rusty armor and weapons. Not wanting to push the luck the Elven army was satisfied with the two other pieces of treasure and withdrew before the Undead started to move again. (Edit: I rolled double 1's for the nerve test :D)


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-Battle Thoughts

Many thanks to Chris for a game and sorry it ended this way. He was in a much better position and I would not be able to run away with the token on the right. I don't think I had enough units left to defeat Wights either.

It feels strange to win the game this way. If I only had these tokens in a safe place anyway that would have not mattered. But I clearly won this game only due to time out. At least the result was modified in Chris favor due to attrition. The fact I didn't kill his Wights was main reason for that.

Well, the plan didn't quite work as I intended. I simply underestimated Surge again. I thought Chariots are safe. Even when it was revealed they can be attacked by the King they still had a good chance to survive. But Zombies moved 5" and they needed 7" more through Surge. With 14 dice total from the Pharaoh and Necromancer it was not that difficult to achieve.

Because of that I decided to redirect Drakons from the left flank because I knew that even by destroying Zombies I would be exposed and as expected, the units from the second wave were soon after Drakon Riders and Storm Wind.

That is also why I moved the cavalry around and kept avoiding the enemy on the left flank. I didn't want to front charge Spearmen with heavy and large cavalries as they might have been slowed down. In the end I managed to outmaneuver the enemy but that flank was occupied entire game.

The good thing was that the King was committed early and I could first pin him down and then flank charge with Drakons. I can't remember what was the required result for nerve test but the fact he stayed there for one more turn also didn't help. On the other hand my Army Standard also survived one turn longer than expected when attacked by Werewolves.

What would I do differently then? Well, in terms of deployment I would probably position the silver breeze cavalry on the right in the open. The fact they were in the difficult one meant I could not move at a double to shield Storm Wind from the Wights. And I had to expose their flank to them or to Zombie Trolls.

But main thing would be to either climb on the hill and wait one turn for the enemy to move into charge ranges or move further forward and claim the token with another unit. This way I could block the advance and have second wave to counter attack while the unit with the token would be moving away. I still need to rethink how to do it properly because the fact that the unit slows down to 5" speed and loses fly/nimble makes it quite difficult to get away.

It seems then that my rematch didn't work well and I still have to find a way to defeat Undead properly!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Another great report! Nice to see one with some army pictures too.

    I've been saying this for months now, but I'll need to bring my Undead army back from Glasgow when I am home at Christmas, see if there are any KoW players in the Newcastle area.

    1. Hi corrm!

      Thanks a lot for comment! Yes, I am glad I attended the event also because I can showcase some cool armies.

      I hope you will find some people to play against as KoW seems to be popular in UK. And there is also Universal Battle!

      In any case I have started writing that general article about KoW but I noticed I still need more experience to make it good. Not to mention writing reports takes away precious time :)

      But if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will tell you what I learned :)


    2. What did you think of the timed turns? It obviously worked in your favour in this game, but was it a hindrance in others?

    3. In general I think it is a good idea to have timed turns. I was concerned at the beginning but with a bit of practice is actually quite interesting. Somebody compared that to a situation when commander has to make decisions very fast and it does feel like that. Yes, you may make mistakes but that's part of the game too.

      It definitely helps in tournaments. Makes life of an organizer easier because you can make sure the rounds will finish on time. It also removes the problem of stalling.

      Personally, I didn't consider it as a benefit in this game. I should have played better, it feels unfair to get a victory when it was clear I was in a bad spot.