Saturday 26 August 2017

The Valley of Kings 3.1 - Dwarfs - 2017/08/26

Brocks, Rocks and Glocks!

In the first game of the Valley of Kings 3.1 event I was honored to be challenged by Matt, our local tireless Tournament Organizer and the man behind organizing Clash of Kings in Australia himself! 

I was very happy to play against Matt again as not only he is a top bloke and a absolute pleasure to play against but we also started to develop a Saga of battles between classic enemies in almost any fantasy world - Dwars vs Elves. 

As Matt built his army with fantastic models I was also looking forward to see them in action again as they look awesome on the battle field. While I decided to keep almost the same army as in our previous encounters, Matt kept experimenting in the meantime. As a result, a version of his force called affectionately "Brocks, Rocks and Glocks" was fielded this time.

Dwarfs - Army List

6 Earth Elementals, Horde
- Organ Gun, War Engine
- Stone Priest, Hero, Bane Chant (2), Surge (8), Banner of Griffin
- Greater Earth Elemental, Monster

6 Earth Elementals, Horde
- Organ Gun, War Engine
- Berserker Lord, Mounted, Hero, Sparkstone

10 Berserker Brock Riders, Regiment, Blessing of the Gods (Elite)
- 5 Berserker Brock Riders, Troops
- 5 Berserker Brock Riders, Troops
- Berserker Lord, Mounted, Hero

10 Berserker Brock Riders, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar (Pathfinder)
- Organ Gun, War Engine

Although there were familiar elements to what Matt brought last time, the army obviously changed significantly and it was a different force to deal with. Let's have a look at the units in more detail, also the ones I have discussed before.

2 x 6 Earth Elementals - two hordes of these rock hard Elementals formed a very solid battle line, capable to do very well in defense and in war of attrition alike. The first thing that players notice is probably Defense 6+. That in itself is a huge asset but with their -/17 it makes for a fantastic unit. Cannot be wavered, it is hard to damage and has a nice nerve value.

On the offensive side things are not too bad either. With 18 attacks that have Crushing Strength they can do damage even if they hit on 4+. They are bit slow, however, as they are Shambling with Movement 5. This is nicely balanced by the ability to be Surged.

It looks to me that I would need to try and avoid them in the first turns of the game as I would not be able to do much damage with ranged attacks. There may be better targets for these. But as the Elementals are one of the best units to hold the objectives, they may need to be dealt with somehow. Obviously, the best option would be to isolate them and attack from a few directions.

Greater Earth Elemental - Greater Earth Elemental combines all the characteristics of the regular Elementals but as a Monster it can see over intervening units, hits harder with Crushing Strength(3) but with fewer attacks. Smaller base allows it to add it's weight to many combats and it can hold many enemies bu itself. 

Stone Priest - Stone Priest was obviously added to the Elementals to lead them to battle. He inspires the Elementals so they are even harder to route, can Surge them which is simply great. And in addition to this he also had some Bane Chant to help Elementals (but not only) to inflict more damage and Banner of the Griffin that adds +1 to the nerve values of the units in 6"! It means that the Elementals had it at -/18 and Greater Elemental at -/19! 

It would be very difficult to rout even one of the Elemental unit!

2 x 10 Berserker Brock Riders - These are more familiar units in the opposing army. However, with the Elementals capable of holding the line on their own, Brock Riders can be more aggressive forming the spearhead of the attack. Or be kept in reserves and using Elementals as a shield before they get into the positions without being harmed by shooting.

2 x 5 Berserker Brock Riders - it seems that all Berskerers are now mounted and I think it was a good choice. Troops are still dangerous if unchecked due to the large amount of the attacks but can be sent to chase enemy troops too without the overkill regiments provide. 

2 x Berskerke Lords - if one is good then 2 are even better! They can aid the units or act independently, depending on the situation and they have speed to fulfill a lot of different duties.

3 x Organ Gun - The dreaded war engines add ranged attacks element to the army. It can be used as a psychological weapon too and allows to keep the enemy in check. Even if they don't shoot the foe may not be so happy to risk getting into range and would stay outside. But it also means they are not getting into good positions either.

I think there is a lot of flexibility between seemingly completely different types of units, i.e. Brocks, Elementals and Organ Guns plus associated heroes. The Brocks and be a spearhead of the army or aggressive first wave. But they can easily use Elementals as a shield to get into better positions of the attack. While Organ Guns can help by either damaging units that are to be attacked or simply attracting the attention of the foe. 

My initial plan, thus, regardless of the scenario, was to get rid of the war engines as soon as possible. Then try to eliminate troops of Brocks and get the regiments and hordes isolated. If that can be achieved I may be able to choose the targets for multi charges and block the units I don't want to fight.

Terrain and Scenario


The diagram above explains what was what on the battle field. The set up was done with the use of KoW - Maps Set although the dimensions were obviously different. The terrain was themed around Empire of Dust desert too and looked great!

For me the main differences in comparison to what I have played so far was that the hills were bit higher, obstacles a bit lower and difficult terrain was flat. It was thus interesting to see how would that impact the games.

Terrain and Pillage Markers.

I rolled for the number of Pillage tokens and got a '6' meaning we had 7 tokens to place. I happen to place 4 of them and as usual I tried to spread them out. Matt, on the other hand added his so that they could be closer to each other.

Please, note that I was placing the tokens looking at the map from the South and I remained on that side of the table.


Deployment of the armies.

Both armies seem to be shifted towards respective left flanks.

After placing the tokens it seemed like the groups of 3 on each flank would be secured by each army and the battle would be decided by dominating the middle token. In order to do that I would have to deal with seemingly exposed Organ Guns while trying to slow down the advance of the enemy on my right flank.

If I managed to deal with the war engines fast enough I should be able to shift the attention to Brock Riders in the middle and to be able to block Elementals from helping their faster friends.

I won the roll for the first turn and chose to begin.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves advance ...

... and start shooting.

Elves advanced focusing on their primary target - war engines. The drakons on the left flank maneuvered in a way to avoid the deadly Organ Guns but to be in range to attack it. At the same time units in the middle moved into range for their own shooting attacks and managed to eliminate first war engine!

Dwarfs - Turn 1

Shambling Forward.

Dwarfs shoot back!

Dwarfs moved forward on their flank too, slowly taking control over the objectives. On the opposite flank of their formation Brock Riders and one of the Lords repositioned to intercept the Drakons if they decided to attack vulnerable war engines. Remaining two organ guns shot at the Elven fast cavalry but Silver Breeze troops did not get routed.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Outflanking continues.

Organ Guns eliminated.

Elves continued with their plan. On the left drakon riders eliminated one war engine while the last one was shot down to pieces. On the right the units pulled back a little to avoid being charged by Brock Riders.

Dwarfs - Turn 2

Counter attack!
Brock Riders charged now exposed drakons and routed them! What is more, no other elven unit was close enough to attack the Dwarfs and the left flank was not controlled by Elves at all!

The rest of the Elven formation was in a bit of disarray too and that put them in a difficult situation. 

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack!

But it didn't bring the expected results.

Elves decided to commit to the melee and the main target was regiment of Brock Riders in the center of the battle field. While the impetus of charge was blunted for Storm Wind cavalry, the Chariots and the Drakon Lord attacked with full might. Unfortunately for Elves their attack did not destroy the enemy and they were about to get counter-charged!

Dwarfs - Turn 3

Dwarven counter attack is devastating.

Dwarfs seize the initiative.

Elves paid dearly for their folly. Both units of heavy cavalry were destroyed by counter-charging Brock Riders while Chariots were smashed to splinters by the Elementals. Only troop of Brock Riders disappointed as they failed to rout drakons who foolishly exposed their flank. 

Outcasts - Turn 4

Switching to defensive positions.

A little bit of retaliation.

Elves had to redress the ranks and moved back to defensive positions. Fortunately, the Drakons managed to route their enemies while the shooters finished damaged Brock Riders that survived the first round of close combat. But Dwarfs were controlling majority of the objectives now and Elves were in a desperate need of a new plan.

Dwarfs - Turn 4

Dwarfs consolidated their positions.

Although badly damaged, Elves were not beaten yet and Dwarfs did not want to over extend their advance. Instead, their consolidated their positions and moved to secure the objectives.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Drakons fly over - was that a good idea? :-P

Blocking attacks on the right flank.

Elves were running out of units and time. They had to quickly reposition in order to be able to claim the objectives while trying to stop the enemy from advancing. The Drakons landed in the empty space to be able to threaten the flanks of the enemy units there but it was, in fact, a deadly mistake. 

Dwarfs - Turn 5

Another heavy blow.

Dwarfs once again punished Elven units for their mistakes. Brock Riders successfully counter-charged the Palace Guard while Elementals were surged to the rear of the Drakons formation. 

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last attempt to slow down the Dwarfs.

Claiming the objectives.

Elves still had a small chance to swing the balance into their favor a bit. They could not win anymore but there was an opportunity to secure a draw. Sort of.

Thus the fast units moved to secure the objectives while Palace Guard and Army Standard sacrificed themselves to stop Dwarfs one more time.

Dwarfs - Turn 6

They hold!

Dwarf units attacked one more time but surprisingly, all Elven units, Palace Guard, Silver Breeze and Army Standard held their ground! That meant that both armies held 3 objectives each and the battle was not resolved. However, this cost Elves more than Dwarfs.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

Many thanks to Matt for a great game and for being so kind to me in the last turn! :) I was lucky that my units held, in particular Army Standard who prevented Elementals from reaching and claiming the objective in the center. The fact that there were no turn 7 also helped enormously. 

Matt played a solid game, approached patiently and exploited all the mistakes I made. He deserved to win so I am glad that at least the final score was modified to his favor and the battle ended 12:8 to him.

It was great to play on the first table too because our game was recorded and streamed live. In fact, all 4 games played on that table were recorded and if you are interested, here is the link to

It is clear that the lucky charms I received from my best friend Jimmy (check out his fantastic blog here: That's No Moon) worked really well. Thanks, Jimmy! :)

I think this game shows that I had a break and was a bit rusty. I made some mistakes that I think I would not have if I played regularly. Exposing myself to Surge is a perfect example.

But for starters I think my deployment was not good. I think I should have positioned both Drakons on the left and make sure they are facing forward instead of at an angle. That would allow me to fly full range and pivot towards the center while avoiding organ guns and still be in range of other targets.

I could organize the units on the left flank better so that they would occupy the enemy there and prevent it from turning towards the middle of the field.

I did not coordinate the units well either. In many cases they were not supporting each other. For example, when I routed organ gun I should have moved back my units so that any attack at them would have been hindered. And at the same time second unit of Drakons should have been in range to lend the support. 

I am not sure I needed to charge turn 3, I could pull back a bit so that only Brock Riders could attack my units and if they did I would have been able to counter while blocking the Elementals. While I had a good chance of routing the enemy on the charge I should have anticipated that if I didn't it would have put me in far greater risk than necessary. 

Despite numerous mistakes I really enjoyed the game and I just hope that next time I play against Matt I will offer him a proper challenge :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi SM!

    Great to see another report up. I'm typing my reply as reading, so no doubt I'll answer my own questions as I go along.

    That certainly looked like a tough adversary for your first round of the tournament. It seems like you had a great first round destroying a single organ gun which ironically enough I can re-collect in your previous successes, you've 'generally' destroyed at least one unit per turn. Luckily for you the retaliation fire isn't as fierce it seems.

    It is interesting that Matt completely left his war machines undefended and with no support to speak of. Any clues as to what he was hoping for here? Also, I'm not even sure if it makes a difference in this game but is there any advantage to not deploying those warmachines in a straight line parrallel with the rest of his forces? Would staggering them make a difference to the way the enemy charges them at all?

    Ironically enough you've mentioned that the Brock Riders re-position to counter attack the Drakon on the flank, was this Matt's original intent all along do you think? Also, when it comes to 'averages' should the unit of Brock Riders be able to take out the Drakon like that?

    In the third turn, your massive charge onto the large unit of Brock Riders. Once again on average should that have been enough to destroy the unit? Moving the Drakon riders like that, what was your train of thought there? Wouldn't moving them back forcing the smaller unit of Brock Riders into a bad situation have been the way to go? Luckily they hit back hard enough to kill them and avenge their brethren.

    Amazing that your kamikaze elven units survived!

    I think you're the best critic of your own work SM but secondly, the only objective of the game was to have fun, and I'm 100% sure you did this. Well done to Matt for the victory, but well done to you for your performance after such a long lay off!

    Looking forward to reading the second game and thanks for the blog plug!

    1. Hi Jimmy!

      Thanks a lot for your detailed comments and lots of questions! I am really happy to know you found the game interesting and I will do my best to address the points you raised.

      1. Matt had a plan with his war engines. He knew I would try to get rid of them as soon as possible so he decided to expose them. In this way I would dedicate some units to attack there and buy his slower units time to advance on the opposite flank. Which worked!

      2. In KoW war engines have flanks as any other unit although you triple the amount of attacks against them no matter from which direction you attack. From that point of view staggered formation may not really save them but if that meant some of them would not be in range for charge or shooting then it may be advantage enough to do so.

      3. I think he left them to further slow me down and pay the price if I got too reckless - which I did! It was also because I did not advance my other units and he could face the flank without being in danger of being attacked at the same time.

      4. Brock riders have quite a large number of attacks. 16 from a troop is nice. They hit on 4+ though and needed 4+ to do damage. Then Lord has 8 attacks that hit on 3+ and doing damage on 4+. Both re-roll 1's to damage. If you assume 7 points of damage on average then you need 7+ to rout the drakons. Basically, it is not something that will happen every time but the chances are good enough. That is why it was important to pull back the unit so that the Brocks would have to jump over obstacle and would need 5+ to hit due to hindered charge.

      5. That charge on the Brock riders regiment was interesting because different units behaved differently. Storm Wind and Chariots were charging through difficult terrain but only heavy cavalry was affected as Chariots have Pathfinder and ignore difficult terrain. Storm Wind hit on 4+ and did damage on 4+ with 8 attacks - one may expect 2 points of damage from that. Chariots hit on 4+ but did damage on 2+ with 8 attacks so they should get a bit better. Now Drakon Lord had 10 attacks when charging on the flank. 3+ to hit, 2+ to do damage. However, Brock riders have nerve 22 so I probably risked too much with this attack.

      5. I was concerned that without support second unit of Drakons would loose against Brock troops and nearby Lord. Even if I destroyed the unit, the Lord has enough attacks on his own to do so. And what is more, my fliers would have been grounded. I thought I would do better if I moved them towards the center to threaten the units there but didn't move well to avoid the charge. It turned out to be lucky situation for me as I survived and then countered the unit.

      Thanks again for all your comments! I greatly appreciate that as I know KoW is not your main interest at the moment but I can see that despite that you have the feeling of the game regardless! I hope I will be able to play against you some day!