Tuesday 25 December 2018

Game 103 - Night Stalkers - 2018/12/25


Since the next big tournament, Australian Clash of Kings, is increasing the size of the armies to 2250 points, Jeff and I decided to start playing at this level.

We came back to our respective armies. I used the opportunity to add completely new elements to the army.

Please note that we played that game prior to the release of CoK2019 so the army lists were composed under the rules for CoK2018.

Jeff made some changes to the core of the force and also added something new. It is still, however, the force with Night Stalkers as the main army and Trident Realm allies.

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 Phantoms, Infantry, Troop, Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Shambling
- 10 Phantoms, Infantry, Troop, Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Shambling
- Planar Apparition, Monster, Ensnare, Heal (7), Nimble, Pathfinder, Regeneration (4+)

40 Scarecrows, Infantry, Horde, Shambling
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble

40 Scarecrows, Infantry, Horde, Shambling
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble

20 Spectres, Infantry, Regiment, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)
- Dread-Fiend, Hero, Large Cavalry,  Crushing Strength (2), Vicious, Nimble

20 Spectres, Infantry, Regiment, Firebolt, Pathfinder, Piercing(1)

Trident Realms - Allies

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

20 Thuul, Infantry, Regiment, Ensnare, Stealthy

20 Thuul, Infantry, Regiment, Ensnare, Stealthy
In this iteration of his army list, Jeff decided to try new unit - Phantoms. I wonder if they are overlooked simply because they Shamble. However, I have realized in my previous games that the unit that shambles does not necessary need Surge to be effective. Yes, that is helpful but not mandatory. What is more Phantoms fly so the small troop units, with Defense 5+,  Crushing Strength (1) that cannot be wavered, are perfect flanking elements. 

Another new element is Planar Apparition. It is a great supporting unit and quite difficult to harm thanks to Ensnare and Stealth special abilities. Its main role will be to heal some elements of the army but it may occasionally add to the melee with timely flank attack.

This army has a huge combined unit strength, 26! And out of 16 elements only one cannot score. It is thus well prepared to fulfill the scenario objectives. Even when taking casualties there will be enough to claim the objectives, carry the loot or to control battle field zones. 

As always, it will be a challenge to tackle that army, no matter what is the scenario.

I also had to think how to expand my army for this game. I decided to use the opportunity Universal Battle provides to test a new unit, the one I don't have at the moment. It happened that if I were to add two regiments of Forest Shamblers it would amount to 250 points. I was intrigued by this unit because they cannot be wavered (a biggest problem for my army), it has decent defense and can be quite good at defending the terrain pieces thanks to Vanguard and Pathfinder. They are slower in maneuvering but 12" range of charge is still very good.

In addition I noticed that Forest Warden with Inspiring Talisman costs the same as mounted prince with the same artifact. I decided to include Forest Warden as well.

Here are the details of the army list I fielded in this game.

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows

- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1), Dwarven Ale

3 Drakon Riders, Regimen, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly
- 5 Stormwind, Troops, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)
- 5 Stormwind, Troops, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)
- Army Standard, Hero, Banner of Griffin

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2), Bows, Potion of Caterpillar
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Infantry, Crushing strength (1), Wings of Honeymaze
20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)

20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
20 Sea Guard, Regiment, Phalanx, Bows

3 Forest Shamblers, Regiment, Large Infantry,  Shambling, Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard, Pathfinder
- Forest Warden, Hero, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Vanguard, Pathfinder, Inspiring Talisman

3 Forest Shamblers, Regiment, Large Infantry,  Shambling, Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard, Pathfinder

I had 16 elements in this army as well but the combined unit strength is 20. There are 14 scoring elements so as usual, I need to use my shooting to balance this disadvantage out. As always, setting the priorities is the key here. I still think I have the advantage in speed and maneuverability as a whole. However, there are a lot of units in Jeff's army that are fast and maneuverable so using these abilities of the army is not going to be that straightforward.


Terrain Details

Deployment and Scenario

Deployment of the Armies and positioning of the objectives.

In this game we played one of the classic scenarios - Pillage. It turned out we are going to have even number of the objectives. I happened to place 3 of them and positioned one at the bottom near the hill on the left, one near the difficult terrain on the center left and one near the house (Sea Guard is sitting on top of it).

The usual spread of the tokens would not work in the same way against Jeff's army as he had the same number of elements. I still decided to go for a spread like this but with the assumption that I will rather defend some of the tokens rather than trying to win those on the other side of the table. 

I positioned my shooters closer to the center with the aim to shoot at everything that would approach the middle token. At the same time I had units on the flanks to engage there. Depending on the development of the situation, I would either perform defensive actions to keep the enemy units busy and prevent them from reaching the tokens I was defending. Or attack and try to overwhelm the foe with typical multiple charges.

I won the roll off and chose to move first.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Opening fire

Elves advanced but mainly through the center of the battle field, either to get into effective range for their shooters or to project some threat with loner range of charges of the cavalry and chariots.

The units on left flank remained stationary and guarded the objective while the drakons on the right flank advanced but stayed at the safe distance. 

The shooters all aimed at the horde of Scarecrows in the center of the battle field. They inflicted a significant damage but it was not yet enough to rout the unit.

Night Stalkers - Turn 1

Night Stalkers advance at speed!

Night Stalkers seemed to be quiet eager to get to the fight with the Elves and moved forward to close the distance. The units of Spectres opened fire as well but it was not yet that efficient.

Planar Apparition used its magical abilities and a few of the fallen Scarecrows were re-animated and rejoined the shambling horde.

Outcasts - Turn 2

First Charges

Hotheaded heavy cavalry decided to charge already. Both units of Storm Wind charged the respective Spectre regiments. That was really risky attack and predictably, did not result in routing the enemy. The only thing that it was achieved was that the regiments of Spectres would not be shooting for a short period of time.

In the center, the shooters kept their fire focused on the same target and this time the damage was high enough to break the magical bond that animated Scarecrows. They all turned into dust.

On the right flank the Drakon Lord attacked unsupported Dread Fiend while Drakons managed to find a good landing spot and moved behind the enemy lines.

Night Stalkers - Turn 2

Counter attack.

Gallant Elven knights paid the ultimate price for their folly. They may have stopped the enemy from shooting and slowed them down a bit but were counter attacked and destroyed.

The units on the left flank advanced and attacked as well, while those on the right flank had to defend their positions at the moment.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack on the flanks.

The fight intensified as more units from both sides were committed to the melee. On the left, Drakon Riders and Palace Guard both attacked Thuul and managed to rout the unit on the charge. It also allowed them to avoid the attention of nearby Dread-Fiend and Void-Lurker.

In the center Elven units attacked mainly to keep their opponents busy. But the only success was that the prince managed to distract Planar Apparition and prevent it from healing friendly units.

The shooters, although without the assistance of the War Chariots, managed to score another success and destroyed second enemy unit. This time Spectres were routed.

At the same time Drakons fought for aerial dominance with Phantoms and Drakon Lord kept exchanging the blows with the Dread Fiend.

Night Stalkers - Turn 3

Night Stalkers push hard on the left and center

Night Stalkers pressed harder on the left. Phantoms managed to utterly destroy Drakon Riders and Palace Guard units found it is now surrounded. To make matters worse, the only available target for potential break through was the unit of well armored Phantoms.

Thuul Mythican kept wavering Forest Warden and nearby Thuul regiment defeated the Chariots as well. When the Void Lurker routed the regiment of Forest Shamblers it was clear that Elves lost the left flank.

They still had a chance to fight on the right side of the battle field, however, as the units there were still intact after the attacks from Night Stalkers.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Mistakes were made.

Elves seemed to lose the momentum and needed some break through desperately. Palace Guard on the left attacked the only viable target but despite significant damage, they were not able to rout enemy Phantoms. Palace Guard was now in a very bad spot, surrounded by enemy units from all sides.

On the other side of the battle field the second unit of Palace Guard destroyed damaged Phantoms. However, they failed to advance far enough to run away from the Void Lurker. To makes matters worse, the Drakon Riders, in their attempt to present the front to Scarecrows, back pedaled too close to the Dread Fiend!

Mistakes were made and it was now time to pay the price.

Night Stalkers - Turn 4

Brutal counter attack

Night Stalkers only waited for the opportunity to strike the killing blow and the time finally arrived. Elves lost four units in quick succession due to combined attacks and charges at the exposed sides of the regiments.

Until that moment Elves seemed to have a fighting chance but now it was all about trying to survive.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Offense is the best defense.

Elves showed discipline in the face of dire circumstances and attacked the enemy in their trademark multiple charge style. That brought down the horde of Scarecrows and allowed the units to reform.

Night Stalkers - Turn 5

Only 3 Elven elements remain.

Bight Stalkers mopped up the stragglers on the left and in the center. Planar Apparition ignored the prince and flank charged Silver Breeze cavalry. However, this attack was not successful.

At the same time the Void Lurker and Thuul regiment maneuvered to avoid their charges and to attack Elves next.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Desperate fight continues.

Even in the lost battle, Elves still looked at the opportunities to inflict some damage upon the enemy. Silver Breeze managed to hit the flank of the Dread Fiend but unfortunately for Elves, they inflicted only single point of damage. That did not impress the enemy at all.

Night Stalkers - Turn 6

Elves are not yet fully defeated.

Silver Breeze was caught by Phantoms and that allowed Dread Fiend to capture one more objective. Sea Guard somehow survived the attack of the Void Lurker and Drakon Lord held against Thuul. However, that was not yet the end of the battle.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Last attempt to survive the battle.

In the last charge Sea Guard attempted to break through the encirclement and attacked Dread Fiend. Yet again, the damage done was not enough and Sea Guard remained in a bad spot.

Night Stalkers - Turn 7

Game Over!

Drakon Lord was attacked by Phantoms and Sea Guard was once again charged by the Void Lurker. Both did not survive this time and the lonely Army Standard Bearer was left to tell the tale of the defeat.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.


Many thanks to Jeff for another great game and congratulations on his well deserved victory. It was another harsh lesson but I greatly appreciate the fact that Jeff is a very patient Master. I always learn something valuable each time we play. And every time we start a new game I try to put up a decent fight. I still make mistakes, as this game shows again but hopefully it will eventually result in some progress in the future.

Before I move onto more detailed analysis of my own decisions throughout the battle, I would like to emphasize the things Jeff does that make him a great player.

I am constantly amazed how well he predicts the flow of the battle so that when he reforms his units they face the right direction. It is rare situation when he has to spend turn to reposition. And if he does it is because there is a better option the following turn. Good example would be his turn 5 when he could have risked the frontal attack with his Void Lurker against damaged Drakon Lord. But even at this stage, where he had the game securely in his bag, he did not lose focus and moved to a better position. He got my units eventually but did not risk his own in the meantime.

On the contrary, I reformed my units a few times in this battle in the way that allowed the enemies to move away and avoid being charged.

My first impression after the game was that until turn 3 I was doing well enough to keep the fighting chance and the battle going. However, during the process of writing the battle report I discover a lot of things to improve. It looks to me that there were a few factors that contributed to the mistakes I made in turn 4. But it was not just turn 4 as I thought initially that spelled the doom for my army.

To start with, the charges of the troops of heavy cavalry were reckless and unnecessary. I think I often fall into my own trap and attack because I don't like when people shoot at me. I noticed that when I do it against some enemies, even if the damage is small, they tend to react to it and commit units to the fight. This is exactly what I did here myself. Yes, it may happen that 1-2 points of damage against the troop is enough to waver it. But I could have avoided that by simply staying out of range. Not only I lost fast units that can intercept enemies but I didn't really slow down the enemy anyway.

I also noticed that I did not support units with each other well enough. On the left I moved Drakon Riders back and Palace Guard pivoted towards the left. These two moves allowed Thuul to charge War Chariots and I had no one to help. Forest Warden got wavered and Forest Shamblers got blocked.

The similar situation was on the right. When I moved the Drakons to the back yard of the enemy battle line, I should have moved Palace Guard forward as well. In this way, when the enemy units reformed to face the Drakons, they would have to take into account the threat from both sides. What is more, the same Palace Guard would have been further away from the attacking Void Lurker and perhaps would have avoided the charge.

By offering flank charges here and there I also propelled enemy units to better positions. It is in particular visible with Phatoms and Void Lurker where they could jump from one flank to another and keep destroying the units in the process.

From that perspective, disaster in turn 4 was more like a consequence of small mistakes piling up until that moment. But even then I should have simply attacked with Dragon Riders and most likely rout Phantoms. While Palace Guard should have moved forward towards the rocks and Thuul. In this way they could be in charge range to attack Scarecrows and threaten Thuul at the same time.

It looked like an opportunity for Drakon Lord to avoid Dread Fiend in turn 4 as well. Jeff got unlucky and did not inflict a single point of damage so Drakon Lord could fly away. I was concerned that if I kept attacking I may still not be able to break Dread Fiend. Even if I inflicted maximum damage, Dread Fiend would have been on 11 wounds. That means I would have needed 6+ with a reroll. That is far from a guaranteed result. I most likely could have counted on 3 wounds again and then it is 8+ with a re-roll. With Thuul being able to rear charge, that seemed like a risk. However, I did not take into account the fact that it would have blocked Dread Fiend from attacking anything else. And if Thuul charged the Lord that would have brought both units further away from any objective.

The good thing was that I could actually use shooting to advantage. In general, in the future battles I need to be very patient, careful with positioning of the units both prior to the attack and especially after. And make sure that I am able to eliminate enemy elements faster than the foe kills mine.

In this game I routed two hordes of Scarecrows, one regiment of Spectres and Thuul and one Phantom troop. That is far too few casualties, especially considering that it all happened mainly in the first half of the game.

I hope you still enjoyed the battle report as it is always beneficial to learn from Jeff and see how he is using his unique armies.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Love your reports. Nightstalker list doesn't make sense. Specters are not Large Cav and the second unit of scarecrows don't shoot.

    1. Hi Mike!

      Thanks for spotting the mistakes. I have corrected the army lists accordingly.