Saturday 1 December 2018

Game 102 - Night Stalkers vs Abyssal Dwarfs - 2018/12/01


Today's report is going to be a bit different. Jeff and I have played quite a few games so far in order to help him decide on the army list he wanted to take to Australian Masters. He made a final call and submitted his army list. It was Night Stalkers force with Trident Realm allies. 

The interesting part about Australian Masters is that the first round is decided by the position in the ranking (so 1st player plays vs 2nd, 3rd vs 4th and so on) and it is also an army swap battle. It means that players are going to use their opponent's army to fight against their own force.

As a part of the preparation Jeff wanted to have a game in such setting. I was more than happy to play with his force! In fact, I got a chance to play with it before him, as he has not used it yet at that stage! Here are the details of his army list:

Night Stalkers - Army List

40 Scarecrows, Infantry, Horde, Shambling
- Void Lurker, Hero, Monster, Crushing Strength (2), Fly, Regeneration (5+), Thunderous Charge (1), This unit is not Stealthy, Darklord’s Onyx Ring
- 10 Spectres, Infantry, Troop, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)
- 10 Spectres, Infantry, Troop, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)

40 Scarecrows, Infantry, Horde, Shambling
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble, Staying Stone
- 10 Spectres, Infantry, Troop, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)
- 10 Spectres, Infantry, Troop, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)

3 Fiends, Large Cavalry, Regiment, Crushing Strength (1), Vicious
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble, Dwarven Ale

3 Fiends, Large Cavalry, Regiment, Crushing Strength (1), Vicious
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble, Diadem of Dragon-kind

Trident Realms - Allies

20 Thuul, Infantry, Regiment, Ensnare, Stealthy
- Thuul Mythican, Hero, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Ensnare, Individual, Inspiring (Thuul Only), Stealthy

20 Thuul, Infantry, Regiment, Ensnare, Stealthy

It turned out that Jeff would be playing with Abyssal Dwarfs with some Forces of the Abyss allies against his own force. Here is the list:

Abyssal Dwarfs - Army List

6 Abyssal Grotesques, Horde, Large Cavalry, Brutal, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Thunderous Charge (1), Vicious
- Ba'su'su the Vile[1], Hero (infantry), Crushing Strength (2), Fly, Individual, Inspiring (Gargoyles only), Regeneration (5+), Vicious
- 10 Gargoyles, Fly, Regeneration (3+), Vicious
- 10 Gargoyles, Fly, Regeneration (3+), Vicious

6 Abyssal Grotesques, Horde, Large Cavalry, Brutal, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Thunderous Charge (1), Vicious
- Brakki Barka[1], Hero (Cavalry), Bhardoom! (Extremely Inspiring - 12" range), Crushing Strength (3), Individual, Regeneration (5+), Vicious

6 Abyssal Grotesques, Horde, Large Cavalry, Brutal, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Thunderous Charge (1), Vicious
- Taskmaster: Slave Driver on Chariot, Hero (Large Cavalry), Base Size (50mm x 100mm), Inspiring (Slave Orcs only), Nimble, Thunderous Charge (2), Vicious

20 Slave Orcs, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Vicious, Yellow-Bellied

20 Slave Orcs, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Vicious, Yellow-Bellied 

Forces of the Abyss - Allies

40 Lower Abyssals, Infantry, Horde, Fury, Regeneration (5+)

40 Lower Abyssals, Infantry, Horde, Fury, Regeneration (5+)

Abyssal Dwarfs were very popular this year among the Masters players. There were 3 armies out of 10 from that faction. All of them had strong contingents of Abyssal Grotesques. No wonder, these units hit very hard, have good armor and regeneration to heal any damage fast. They are slower than other cavalry units and may not hit as often but once they get stuck in, the enemies may be in trouble.

Regeneration seemed to be a theme of this army too. Almost every single unit had some form of it. Because of that any fights have to be decisive, otherwise the units will get back to their full strength eventually. It would be very difficult to do so, because Abyssal Grotesques and Lower Abyssals have a good nerve already. Bringing them down in a single melee turn would require a coordinated attack of many units at the same time.

The army had a bit of a support in the form of Slave Orcs and Gargoyles. Orcs are obviously there to hold on to the objectives and let the hard hitters do their job without worrying about scenarios. Gargoyles are great too, but more for the distraction, blocking and occasional hunting of the other troops.

Last but not least the three heroes. Slave Driver is helpful for keeping the Orcs in line and can add to the fight, especially when attacking from the flank. Two special characters are really powerful. Basusu is the bane of the many generals and armies and probably does not need any further introduction. I have not had a chance to fight against Brakki Barka though. His inspiring presence is great to start with. But he also is a very good fighter on his own and can easily take on many regiments all by himself.

The challenge I had in this game was that on one hand, the army I was about to command is melee orientated and a bit slower than the one I am used to play with. So no softening the enemy before the fight. I am not sure if I could do much damage against all this regeneration however. Then setting up the favorable charges was not going to be easy.

The initial plan was to use nimble Dread Fiends and Void Lurker to get into such positions, while Scarecrows would work as first line of defense. More than before I needed to see what is the scenario to come up with a good plan.


Terrain details.

Scenario and Deployment

Deployment of the Armies and positioning of Loot Tokens.

We got Loot as a scenario. I placed my loot token next to the forest on the right, while Jeff positioned his on the left flank.

My plan was to "ignore" the left one and focus on the two in the center and left. First, I decided that Thuul can be a great defensive formation to delay any enemy. However, to do that they need to get into the forest and park there. Combination of Ensnare and Hindered charges would make it tough for Grotesques to shift them.

Another part of the plan was to move some elements forward to block the access to the Loot tokens and use second wave to grab them. In this way there is a buffer and protection for the loot carrying units to avoid being targeted. Especially that the opposing army has no ranged attacks too.

I also positioned Scarecrow hordes on both flanks of the formation in order to protect the rest of the army and slow down enemy forces. In addition, the left most Dread Fiend was also tasked with a similar mission, i.e. slow Down the forces there.

The rest of the nimble heroes were evenly spread out to be ready to use any opportunity for flank attacks. If my plan works I should have enough units left to run out with the loot by the end of the game.

I won the roll off and took the first turn!

Night Stalkers - Turn 1

Advance of the Night Stalkers and their Allies.

The army of Night Stalkers moved towards the shiny objects in the middle of the battle field. Trident Realm allies led the way with other elements close nearby. Quick enough to get into the proximity of the objectives but not too far to avoid being charged by the enemy.

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 1

Abyssal Dwarf approach the enemy in force.

Abyssal Dwarfs approached the enemy in a more aggressive fashion by sending some fast troops to block the foe. Other elements angled to intercept Night Stalkers and it seemed that the first fights may begin early.

Night Stalkers - Turn 2

Charge on the right flank.

Despite the blocking maneuvers, Night Stalkers and their allies still had enough units free to make a well coordinated attack. Three units charged the Lower Abyssals at the same time and routed the unit!

That attack still had to be covered so other units charged enemies in order to prevent them from joining the fight.

In the meantime, Spectres in the center maneuvered to block bigger, more clumsy units from advancing while Thuul grabbed the first of the loot!

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 2

Abyssals counter attack!

Abyssal Dwarfs would not give up their hold on the gold so they mounted a counter attack. In the center both Spectres troops perished, despite an attempt to use the terrain to their advantage.

On the right flank Orcs were whipped to attack Fiends while Grotesques only wavered one of the Dread-Fiends. No break through was achieved yet.

Night Stalkers - Turn 3

The struggle continues.

Night Stalkers moved to the next stage of the plan, that is to protecting of the collected loot. Thuul regiment backpedaled from the danger zone while nearby Screcrows and Dread Fiend blocked the pursuers.

On the other side of the forest Slave Orcs and Gargoyles were defeated while lone Spectres troop secured second piece of the loot.

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 3

Dread Fiend holds his ground!

Abyssal Dwarfs pushed harder. On the left flank they managed to get rid of the annoying Dread Fiend and any obstacle in obtaining their first loot.

The fight in the middle intensified, with two infantry hordes locked in a fight and Dread-Fiend holding off Basusu and Abyssal Grotesques!

Night Stalkers - Turn 4

A gamble did not pay off!

The fight on the right flank started well for the Night Stalkers. Void Lurker and Scarecrows wavered their opponents and that was extremely important. It allowed Spectres and Thuul in the forest to move forward and break through the enemy lines. What is more, Spectres carried the Loot to the temporal safety, while Thuul maneuvered to outflank the Grotesques.

Other units decided to gamble. Thuul and Dread Fiend charged Grotesques from the front while Depth Horror Eternal attacked from the flank. The chances to rout that unit were not high but if it got wavered, well that would be another story. Especially that Scarecrows did great against Lower Abyssals and other enemy units were still too far away to get involved in action.

Unfortunately for Night Stalkers and Trident Realms allies this gamble did not pay off.

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 4

Thuul regiment is destroyed!

It was now or never for Abyssal Dwarfs and they charged in again. This time Lower Abyssals did more damage but stubborn Scarecrows held the ground. Thuul, however, were not as lucky and fell to the power of Basusu and Grotesques. To makes things worse, the loot was also claimed by the enemy!

Night Stalkers - Turn 5

Reclaim the Loot!

The situation was really difficult so Night Stalkers and their allies doubled the efforts to reclaim the loot. Thuul, Depth Horror and badly wounded Dread Fiend all charged in a glorious frontal attack. And somehow it worked! The Grotesques were routed and the Loot was reclaimed by Thuul.

Just in case, Void Lurker was maneuvering to help the units in the center while Fiends and Scarecrows routed their respective opponents. It was a great achievement for Scarecrows in particular as they captured infamous Brakki Barka himself and even advanced far enough to block the Grotesques on the right flank again!

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 5

Reinforcements arrive.

Abyssal Dwarfs were running out of time. Grotesques pressed hard against Scarecrows on both flank but only the unit on the left was finally routed. Basusu sneak around to hunt down the Spectres to steal their treasure.

Night Stalkers - Turn 6

Secure the Loot!

Night Stalkers were doing everything they could to run away with the treasure. Spectres dropped theirs only for the Void Lurker to pick it. This way it was secure and even mighty Basusu could do nothing to get it.

To make matters worse for the Abyssal Dwarfs, Scarecrows on the right wavered the Grotesques, rendering this unit useless for the rest of the battle.

Thuul regiment also pushed back to safety, with Depth Horror helping to keep any potential chargers at bay. Fiends routed nearby Gargoyles and further blocked any passage to the regiment carrying the treasure.

Abyssal Dwarfs - Turn 6

Final charge.

In the final attempt to at least get closer to the units carrying the Loot, the Abyssal Grotesques charged Fiends. However, hindered charge did not result in enough damage and Fiends got wavered only. It meant there was no possibility for Abyssal Dwarfs to attack the foe carrying the loot, even if the battle continued a little bit longer.

As a result, Abyssal Dwarfs withdrew all the surviving units and conceded defeat.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.


I would like to thank Jeff for the opportunity to play with his army! It was great to be able to command it and I enjoyed it a lot! I even managed to win with it!

I was happy with the plan that I came up with. I also liked the higher degree of resilience Jeff's army has. My units in my usual force die much faster so I cannot afford to stay in combat for too long. Here, Scarecrows kept the flanks safe for almost entire game. If I played better with the Dread Fiend on the left, perhaps the unit S1 would also survived. For example, I noted that I may have simply abandoned that corner and instead of charging Slave Orcs, moved into the forest to threaten Lower Abyssals with the flank charge. I also noticed that I didn't put the one with Breath Attack there, this would have been more useful in delaying actions.

The flank attack from Void Lurker with Lower Abyssals on the right flank was an important moment as it allowed me to get rid of the big unit. But what is more, I kept elements on that flank away from the Loot. It was great to be able to use lowly Spectres, with their Pathfinder ability, to grab the treasure and run through forest. Thanks to that they managed to avoid to be seen long enough for Void Lurker to secure that piece of treasure.

I think I got lucky (can't recall the damage and required nerve check roll now) when I attacked Grotesques with Thuul. I lost the Loot but thankfully I had units to counter attack and reclaim it. However, looking at the situation again, I should have done the pivot with T1 and move into the forest. I still had Dread Fiend to block the Grotesques and Depth Horror Eternal would have been able to assist as well.

On the other hand, I am not sure if two regiments of Thuul alone would have managed to defeat Grotesques afterwards. Perhaps it was not a bad mistake after all?

Jeff enjoyed the game too, although it presented a dilemma. It is good to know the army works well but how to defeat it in the first round of the tournament? Unfortunately, it turned out that Jeff's opponent had to withdraw and another player took his place. Hence, in the first game of the Masters Jeff played with an Elven army against his own. It was Loot scenario again and he won! :)

I was very curious about the experiences Jeff had with his new version of the army. He took part in two events that weekend. On Saturday the tournament called Fortunes of War took place and Jeff won all his 4 games to win the event! On Sunday, he was going strong with 3 victories only to lose the last game against the overall winner of the event. Still, Jeff ended the tournament 3rd which is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations!

Next, we will get back to our respective armies. We needed to upgrade them to 2250 for Australian Clash of Kings 2019 practice. However, Jeff decided to stick to his force with some further tweaks here and there.

I hope you enjoyed this battle report as it was bit different than usual.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Will you be playing your own list next?

    1. Hi Rakkoon!

      Great to see you commenting here :) I don't have an immediate plan to play against my own army. In fact, we have already played another game with our respective forces but this time at 2250.

      However, when I prepared for Masters a year ago I did play such game. Here is the link:


  2. It´s a pleasure to read you battle reports. Thanx a lot

    1. Thanks a lot, Oscar! I am very happy to know you liked it!

  3. You have played against your own army?
    Of course you have. Cool read.
    I often switch armies but never the same build since that's 80% of the fun for me. I keep learning from your games, keep 'em coming!

    1. Well, it only happened twice, before and at the Masters :)

      You should always stick to what you find the best for you. But you can also learn from others, one does not exclude the other! I am glad you find my reports entertaining and useful. I will do my best to keep them coming.