Saturday 17 March 2018

Game 83 - Forces of the Abyss - 2018/03/17


In the game 7, last game of the event, I had a great pleasure to play against Ben of Direct Misfire podcast fame.  Ben had a beautifully painted army of the Forces of the Abyss and I could not decide if I like the painting or the ideas for models and conversions more. It is a great looking army and I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to play against it. 

Here are the details of that army:

Forces of the Abyss - Army List

6 Molochs, Horde, Potion of Caterpillar
- 10 Gargoyles, Troop
- Efreet, Hero, Heart-seeking Chant
- Chroneas[1], Monster

 6 Twisted Victims[1], Horde
- Lord of Lies[1], Hero

10 Abyssal Horsemen, Regiment, Pipes of Terror
- Abyssal Champion, Hero, Mounted, Bloodboil

20 Succubi, Regiment
- Abyssal Temptress, Hero, Fly, Helm of the Ram
3 Imps, Regiment

First of all I had a rare opportunity to play against Living Legends type of units. Somehow it does not happen often in my games so I was very curious what they can do. 

Lord of Lies looked like a powerful Hero that has very versatile set of special rules. It can lead, has ranged attacks but can hit hard too, in particular from the flank or rear.  Twisted Victims is a unit from Edge of the Abyss campaign and it is a horde of Tortured Souls that is not Shambling. Fast and hard hitting element for sure. On the other hand, monstrous Chroneas is a powerful ranged attacks source that cannot be disordered! Now that is huge because with 20 breath attacks you need to get him close to potential targets. Attacks with fast individuals would not stop it from shooting then.

In general, the army had elements to compete in each phase of the game. Fast Tortured Souls, Horsemen, Molochs and Succubi, supported by the Temptress, Champion and potentially Lord of Lies, can inflict substantial damage in melee. But ranged attacks from Chroneas, Efreet and Lord of Lies were dangerous too, especially against my small units.In addition, both Gargoyles and Imps cannot be ignored because they can either interfere with the movement or add attacks in melee, especially when allowed to hit the flanks. 

However, I noticed that apart from Lord of Lies the rest of the shooters are relatively short ranged. I could use my mobility and shooters to attack from afar and stay out of trouble for a while. Hence, I decided to try to be patient and inflict some damage before inevitable melee happened. If I succeeded I would be able to weaken the enemy units enough for my own assault troops to hit hard and eliminate them on the charge.

Which brings me to other aspects I wanted to use, which is speed and maneuverability. It looked to me I had a bit of an advantage here thanks to more units with good speed that could also hit well. Especially when attacking in groups of 2 and 3. If the slower enemy units are already damaged then a charge from Storm Wind cavalry or Drakon Riders had a better chance to rout the unit. And as they are usually the ones to have speed to attack first, I could use it to the advantage.

The initial plan was to be patient, shoot to inflict some damage and then attack weakened enemy units.

Here is my army list for the reference:

Outcasts - Army List

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

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

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar  - 160
 - 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
- Army Standard, Hero, Mounted, Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 85


Terrain Details

Scenario and Deployment

Forces of the Abyss vs Elves - Control

Deployment of the Armies

In the last game we played Control as scenario and that required some plan tweaking. I had to have substantial force in the middle in order to prevent Ben's units to control the middle zone in my half of the battle field. At the same time, I wanted some units that could break through and park in his.

However, the hill in the middle was a bit of an issue. On one hand it can help but on the other I didn't want to move towards the enemy just yet. As I still needed the clear line of sight I decided to place infantry with Chariots slightly to the left while Storm Wind units protected the flank of the formation and Palace Guard troops formed second wave to watch their backs. If I needed to charge with Storm Wind, Palace Guard would be there to protect the flanks instead.

Silver Breeze positioned in the forest because they could move from there quickly and still have plenty of targets to shoot at. Either to help the infantry on the left or the Drakons on the right.

Lat but not least, the Drakons formed together to counter fast group of Forces of Abyss. This was tricky because to me it looked like Ben had advantage on that flank. First, he could already use his Father of Lies to cast Lightning Bolts. Second, he had regiment of horsemen and horde of fliers, both of which had much better nerve than Drakons. He had a better chance to survive if we were to exchange attacks or in one on one combats. 

The plan was then to keep shooting at the units in the center, intercept them when ready and hopefully have enough units to break through to the enemy zone. At the same time, Drakons were to delay the fast enemy units and look for the opportunities to attack without being counter charged immediately.

Ben won the roll off and chose to move first!

Forces of the Abyss - Turn 1

Slow advance through the center.

Lord of Lies casts some Lightning Bolts.

Forces of the Abyss moved towards the Elven lines and the units occupying the center of the battle field moved out of the forest. On the flanks, however, only flying heroes approached their enemies with Lord of Lies casting some Lightning Bolts at the Drakon Lord.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves advance slowly too.

Situation in the center.

First shots by the Elves.

Forces of the Abyss - Turn 2

Central units move forward ...

... while those on the flank keep their positions.

The units in the center continued their advance but neither Chroneas nor Efreet got close enough to shoot at any enemies. The units on the flank remained where they were though, with Lord of Lies continuing the Lightning Bolts casting.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Flank maneuvers continue.

Close up on the units on the flank.

Shooting brings some effects!

Units on the left flank starter wheeling towards the center in a typical outflanking maneuver. The shooters in the middle kept calm and once again unleashed arrows at the chosen target. This time, however, Molochs have had enough and got routed! Nearby Succubi were also shot at but managed to hold their ground. 

At the same time Drakons kept maneuvering in order to buy some more time for the rest of the army, not advancing towards the enemy to avoid any attacks.

Forces of Abyss - Turn 3

Finally moving forward!

Forces of Abyss got separated.

The units on the right flank finally moved forward. Gargoyles were pushed to the front to protect Twisted Victims while Lord of Lies landed nearby and cast some more Lightning Bolts, this time against third target in a row.

The forces in the center closed their ranks due to untimely demise of the Molochs and that separated them from the flanking units even further.

Outcasts - Turn 3

More intense maneuvering on the flank.

Quite a lot of re-positioning!

Elves executed the first charge in this battle, Storm Wind cavalry spotted exposed flank of the Imps and decided to get rid of that unit and to distract Chroneas.

There was a bit of re-positioning in the center too, mainly to allow Silver Breeze to shoot at Succubi again. 

On the right flank the movement was even more intense. One unit of Drakon Riders, supported by the Drakon Lord, had landing spot behind enemy lines and took that opportunity. Second unit of the Drakons pulled back to guard the flank and avoid being charged by stronger foes.

Forces of Abyss - Turn 4

Twisted Victims vs Drakon Riders.

Forces of Abyss finally can shoot back properly!

The Temptress and her Champion both attacked arrogant Elven Knights but somehow they held their ground (although wavered!). Fortunately, Chroneas significantly damaged Palace Guard regiment and Efreet routed one of the Silver Breeze troops.

On the opposite flank Lord of Lies kept disappointing with his Lightning Bolt spell as Drakon Lord was barely wounded. At the same time, Gargoyles, Horsemen and Twisted Victims maneuvered to face their enemies. (Edit: Please, note that the Abyssal Horsemen are facing Drakon Rider DR1. My apologies for the mistake on the diagram)

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves attack in force.

Multiple charges vs multiple targets.

Elves waited patiently for the opportunities and it was time to seize the moment. On the left flank Palace Guard attacked Temptress and captured evil spirit! 

In the center, remaining Palace Guard units attacked Efreet and Succubi and both were routed. Chromeans and Champion looked surrounded now.

Storm Wind on the right flank failed to rout Gargoyles so Drakon Riders had to deal with their foes alone. First unit attacked the Horsemen already to inflict some damage and keep them busy. Drakon Lord reformed to face Lord of Lies while the second unit ignored Twisted Victims and rushed towards the flank of the Horsemen.

Forces of Abyss - Turn 5

Chroneas claims his first victim.

Elves lose three units in one go!

Although surrounded, Champion and Chroneas are still very dangerous. Champion finishes off the Storm Wind cavalry while Chroneas destroys the regiment of Palace Guard.

The Abyssal Horsemen use the opportunity to fight one-on-one versus Drakon Riders and destroy that unit. But now, they have to reform to face the attack of the second regiment of Elven flying cavalry.

Lord of Lies had a perfect chance to rout Elven Drakon Lord but invited him to the philosophical debate instead. He discussed collapse of time-space continuum beyond the Edge of the Abyss. The arguments were well thought out but did not result in any visible physical damage to the Drakon Lord.

Outcasts - Turn 5

The end of Chroneas.

Twisted Victims are being shot at.

Elves continue their attacks.

The War Chariots and Palace Guard teamed up and managed to inflict enough damage to bring monstrous Chroneas down. 

On the far flank, second unit of Drakon Riders managed to avenge their companions and routed Abyssal Horsemen. 

The Drakon Lord knew that finding a worthy opponent for philosophical debates is very hard these days. Hence, he decided to return the favor and countered the arguments of Lord of Lies in a very sophisticated way. That impressed him but did not do any physical damage either.

Forces of Abyss - Turn 6

Twisted Victims attack Sea Guard.

With very few elements remaining, Forces of Abyss committed them all to melee. Unfortunately, neither of them could rout their opponent.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Final Counter Attack.

Elves counter attacked and managed to banish Twisted Victims back to the Abyss. The rest of the units focused on securing and controlling the various areas of the battle field.

Seeing their army gone, Lord of Lies and Abyssal Champion disengaged and withdrew.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

I would like to thank Ben for a fantastic game! It was absolute pleasure to play against him as he is a fantastic opponent and an example to follow in terms of sportsmanship! I also wanted to thank him for his very kind words about my army. It is very motivating to know this style can be inspiring for others. I am already looking forward to more opportunities to play against Ben in the future!

I also highly recommend to check out Direct Misfire podcast. In the last episode they talk about all their games at Clash of Kings 2018:

It was good to finish the event playing against great opponent with a beautiful army and even win the game too! Everyone was quite exhausted at this stage but I would still play all 7 games regardless. 

I am very happy that I came up with a plan that worked in the last game. I am also sure that new Molochs will be much tougher opponent now as with Regeneration they could comfortably dish out the damage I did in this battle with my ranged attacks.

Having said that it was good to see the shooting contributing to the overall success. While eliminating units is always a desirable effect, it was more about the fact that it forced Ben to move forward and then consolidate the ranks. But in effect his army got divided and that is why my smaller units could move around the flanks and attack from different directions.

I am glad I was patient enough not to charge too early and that I spotted the opportunity to maneuver with Drakons. I was concerned that flank could have been overwhelmed. Perhaps if Ben was more aggressive here that would have happened anyway. But being able to land behind enemy lines always creates difficult dilemmas for the opponent. Hence, I was happy with the result there and I even managed to send some reinforcements to help the Drakon Riders that moved there first.

I will write a summary of the event in a separate post but it was yet another success of the organizers and it was really great to be there again!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great game!

    That one had it all: well painted armies, brilliant maneuvers and philosophical debates! Great move with the drakons behind the lines, I didn’t see that one coming. Really well played, and I have listened to the direct misfire podcast also as I am a big fan of theirs.

    Glad the tournament was a success and you had a great time! I may not be able to finish monster march in a timely fashion. We had someone quit at work, and I think I’m picking up a lot of extra shifts this month sadly. April is looking good for kings of war though. Blues city brawl is the 6-7 and we are hosting. I won’t be playing but I’ll help coordinate and catch games/chronicle the event. We may stream/video some games! I’m also signed up for lonewolf at the end of the month and desperately need to get some practice in!

    Thanks for the report and hope you’re well!

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks a lot for your comments and apologies for a delay in replying.

      It was definitely a great game to finish the tournament with, mainly thanks to Ben who was a fantastic opponent! It was indeed a privilege to play against such a beautiful army and a motivation to continue painting my own :)

      Do not worry about Monster March. It was always meant as a motivation and we all know very well how life can interfere. Glad to know you are going to have some events to attend in April and I am looking forward to hearing some stories about your own battles!


  2. Excellent report. Great game with excellent looking armies. cheers

    1. Thank you! I am happy to know you liked it. Ben's army is really great looking force, it was a pleasure to play against it!