Sunday 17 March 2019

Game 112 - Salamanders - 2019/03/17


After the success with the most recent version of the army I wanted to try it out again. Hopefully to repeat the result! I didn't have to look for the opponent far as Jeff is always ready for some battles. 

I do not have a good track record against Jeff but that never stopped me from trying. In fact, I believe that thanks to our games and his sage advice I got better and managed to refine the army too.

As you probably noticed from previous games, Jeff is constantly experimenting with various armies. One thing you can always expect from him is that he almost never brings exactly the same army twice in a row. 

This time was no different and Jeff focused his attention on the Salamanders. He was bringing some elements of that faction before.However, it was the first time when I had a chance to play against Jaff when he commanded full Salamanders army. Here are the details of his army list:

Salamanders - Army List

40 Ghekkotah Warriors, Horde, Infantry
- Greater Fire Elemental, Monster, Breath Attack (6), Crushing Strength (4), Pathfinder, Shambling
- Clan Lord on Fire Drake, Hero, Monster, Breath (16), Crushing Strength (2), Inspiring, Thunderous Charge (1)

40 Ghekkotah Warriors, Horde, Infantry
- Greater Fire Elemental, Monster, Breath Attack (6), Crushing Strength (4), Pathfinder, Shambling
- Artakl [1], Hero, Infantry, Blowpipes (thrown weapons), Individual, Inspiring (Ghekkotah Warriors only), Piercing (1), Vicious, Stealthy, Master Stalker
40 Ghekkotah Warriors, Horde, Infantry
- Agnih-Bhanu, Greater Fire Elemental 1], Monster, Breath Attack (12), Crushing Strength (4), Piercing (4), Pathfinder, Strider, Vicious
- Ghekkotah Skylord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Blowpipes (thrown weapons), Inspiring (Ghekkotah Warriors only), Vicious

20 Ghekkotah Warriors, Regiment, Infantry
- Lekelidon, Monster, Firebolt, Height 2, Piercing (1)

20 Ghekkotah Warriors, Regiment, Infantry
- Lekelidon, Monster, Firebolt, Height 2, Piercing (1)  

Although it is a completely new faction and the one I have not played against for a very long time, there are some familiar elements to it. For example, five cheap but still valuable infantry units that provide much needed Unit Strength. Despite little armor, Ghekkotah Warriors have quite a good nerve (hordes) and quite a large number of attacks. 

The heavy hitters were represented by Greater Fire Elementals, including Living Legend and the Clan Lord. These units are also quite flexible because of the breath attacks that can be used to great effect too. In order to further add to the number of ranged attacks, Jeff brought two Lekelidons and Living Legend Artakl. 

As usual, let's calculate some indicators. This army has 13 elements, 12 of them scoring and a combined Unit Strength of 20. 

My initial plan was to use the speed and maneuverability to outflank this force. I expected that it may not necessarily adapt tight, double line formation as is often the case when Jeff deploys Large Infantry units. I also wanted to use my initial advantage in the shooting as my units have a bit longer range. Perhaps I would be able to inflict some damage, in particular to more vulnerable Ghekkotah Warriors.

Here is my army for the reminder:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Dwarven Ale
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1, Diadem of Dragon-Kind

3 Drakon Riders, Regimen, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Staying Stone
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1), Mace of Crushing

10 Stromwind Cavalry, Regiment, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)
- Noble War ChariotHero, Large Cavalry, Bow, Thunderous Charge (2)

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2), Bows
- Noble War ChariotHero, Large Cavalry, Bow, Thunderous Charge (2)

3 Forest Shamblers, Regiment, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard, Pathfinders
- Forest Warden, Large Infantry, Hero,  Crushing Strength (2), Pathfinders, Nimble, Vanguard, Surge (3), Inspiring Talisman, Alchemist Curse (10)

20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
- Army Standard, Hero, Infantry, Individual, Inspiring

20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)

It has 14 Elements, 13 of them scoring and with combined Unit Strength 18. It means that both our armies are almost identical from this point of view.


Terrain details

Deployment and Scenario

Deployment of the Armies.

For this game we got Dominate as a scenario. In this case I need to first win on the flanks in order to prevent enemy units to help in the middle. I prefer not to go to the center immediately, because my units do not have staying power to defend it. 

However, keeping some elements threatening the center is also important. The opponent has to take into account the possibility of the straightforward attack. And if these units are also flexible to keep attacking from the distance, while maintaining the possibility to join in the fight, it is even better.

Hence I decided to deploy my shooters in the center. With reasonable speed, War Chariots and Chariot Nobles can fulfill the role of a double threat very well. Silver Breeze Cavalry added to the flexibility of ranged attacks as well. I added Palace Guard on the right side of the shooters because they could potentially fight in the woods. While Storm Wind cavalry needed open ground to be effective. 

I considered left flank better for the remaining Palace Guard and Forest Shamblers as it helped initially in terms of cover. But allowed to fight in the open along Storm Wind cavalry. Drakon Riders and Drakon Lords were placed on both flanks to look for the opportunity to outflank the enemy. 

The plan was to shoot in the middle and advance mainly on the left to win that part of the battle field. The flying cavalry on the right was to keep the enemy busy and away from the center. If I could win on the left then I could combine the efforts with the units in the center to converge on the middle of the battle field in the second half of the game.

Deployment after Vanguard moves.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Outflanking Maneuvers.

Elves seized the initiative and moved towards their enemies. The advance was executed in a well practiced double pincer maneuver with weighted left flank. This is where Elven commanders planned to strike first.

The units in the center advanced to get into shooting range and aimed at one of the Ghekkotah Warriors units on the left. This was to help the units on the left to defeat their enemies in the inevitable melee.

Salamanders - Turn 1

Salamanders attack early.

Elven units moved into range for charges and Ghekkotah Regiments stormed in to stop the outflanking attempts. The unit on the right flank was more successful in this attack.

The rest of the army advanced through the center and Lekilodons shot at one of the Nobles. However, despite significant damage sustained to the chariot chassis, the Noble held fast and did not yield.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves counter attack.

Things started escalating quickly. Elven units on the left begun the attack in force. While Forest Shamblers were successful in wavering their enemies, Drakon Lord and Riders did not inflict sufficient amount of damage to defeat Greater Fire Elemental. 

Both Nobles charged in heroically, to prevent the enemies from joining the fight and to stop some from shooting as well. Last but not least, Drakon Riders on the right routed the regiment of Warriors and saved Drakon Lord. For now.

Salamanders - Turn 2

Salamanders' turn to attack.

The struggle between the units of both armies continued as Salamanders punched back. Surprisingly, however, the attacks by Greater Fire Elementals in particular were far less deadly than expected.

The ranged attacks from the Salamander army, however, intensified and Elven units were sustaining more and more damage.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Greater Fire Elementals refuse to yield!

Although Greater Fire Elementals were not successful in their attacks, they were very stubborn in defense. Despite heavy damage they refused to give ground and kept fighting.

However, Elves noted one success on the left flank when Palace Guard managed to rout the horde of Ghekkotah Warriors.

With much limited shooting, Elves changed the tactics in the middle. War Chariots charged in against Ghekkotah Warriors while nearby Palace Guard maneuvered to attack their flank. While on the right flank the Drakon Lord selflessly threw himself at Agnih-Bhanu to buy time for Drakon riders to withdraw.

Salamanders - Turn 3

Difficult times for Elves.

The fight on the left intensified as both armies seemed to commit all available units there. Once again, Greater Fire Elementals did not do enough damage. However, Clan Lord and Lekilodons managed to waver two Elven units and that significantly limited their options.

On the left the Drakon Lord could not hold against the fury of Ancient Greater Fire Elemental and perished in flames. His sacrifice was in vain as Drakon Riders were caught up by Artakl and the attacks wavered the unit.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves retaliate!

What looked like as a tough tome for Elven army turned out to lead to a completely different scenario. No less than four Salamanders units were defeated in quick succession. Both badly damaged Greater Fire Elementals could not take it any longer. Small Ghekkotah Warriors unit was routed by the Forest Shamblers. But well coordinated attack between War Chariots and Palace Guard saw the horde of Warriors in the middle defeated as well.

This swung the balance into Elven favor but the battle was far from over.

Salamanders - Turn 4

Elven army sustains more losses.

Salamanders did not even think about conceding defeat and kept on fighting. The successes on the right flank meant Elves lost two more units. Now Agnih-Bhanu and remaining unit of Ghekkotah Warriors could move towards the center of the battle field.

The situation on the left was not so good for the Salamanders though. Both Lekilodons were sent into melee but failed to do any damage to their adversaries. What is more, Clan Lord only wavered Elven Knights and was now in a very difficult situation.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves win on the left.

Using the opportunity, Elves attack the leaders of the Salamander army. Badly wounded Skylord finally perished. And so did the Clan Lord, attacked furiously by Forest Shamblers and Drakon Riders.

Elves were now getting ready to converge on the center and confront remaining Salamander forces.

Salamanders - Turn 5

Agnih-Bhanu leads the attack.

Despite heavy losses Salamanders still had a very good chance to win the battle. Many Elven units were badly damaged and could have been routed with minimal effort. 

Agnih-Bhanu once again proved invaluable when he alone routed one more Elven unit. Nearby Ghekkotah Warriors attacked Palace Guard but the initial charge was not powerful enough to defeat the Elves

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last stage of the battle.

Elves were truly exhausted but mustered some strength to attack one more time. Surprisingly, stubborn Lekilodons still refused to give ground despite heavy damage. It was now up to Salamanders if they managed to reclaim the control over the center in the last attack.

Salamanders - Turn 6

Elves prevail - just!

Agnih-Bhanu and Artakl picked damaged Elven unit and both Drakon Riders and Drakon Lord were shot down from the skies. Fortunately for Elves, brave Palace Guard held the line and thanks to that they managed to keep the control over the center of the battle field.

Reluctantly, Agnih-Bhanu gave the signal to withdraw and remnants of the Salamander host left the battle field. Battered Elves claimed the victory!

Final position of the units.


Turn-by-turn animation summary


Many thanks to Jeff for a great game! It definitely feels good to win against such an experienced opponent. It was hard won victory and even in the last turn it could have gone differently.

In fact, we were really curious what would have happened in turn 7 if it came to it. We came to the conclusion that it all depended on the fight between Storm Wind cavalry and Agnih-Bhanu. I had to attack the Greater Fire Elemental, as otherwise it would have destroyed another unit. And the only one in range was the cavalry. We proceeded to resolve that combat and this time Storm Wind did not disappoint!

It does not change the fact that it would have been a close game and the odds were not necessarily in my favor in turn 7. 

As always I look at the opportunities for things to do better or at least consider different scenarios, especially when I win. It is often easy to dismiss such analysis but it is equally important, no matter what is the result of the game.

There are two situations I would like to focus on as I believe they may have impacted the game further.

The first one is in my turn 3 where I decided to attack Agnih-Bhanu with the Drakon Lord on the right flank. And to try and escape with the Drakon Riders. In the end I lost both of the units anyway and I was thinking what would have been different options.

One was to fly Drakon Riders beyond the rocks at the bottom as that would have saved them from the shooting. However, it also meant they would have been out of action and not posing any threat for a turn or two. That was not desirable. Thus I came to the conclusion that attacking Ghekkotah Warriors would have been a better solution. Drakon Riders were in greater risk in that option but I would have inflicted some damage to the horde. It may have helped defeating them later by Palace Guard. And potentially it would have stopped them from turning towards the center for one turn it their counter charge failed to defeat the Drakons.

Second situation was in my turn 5. I noticed that the Clan Lord exposed the flank for the attack but I believe I did not chose the best approach. I could have attacked the Lord with Palace Guard and Forest Shamblers. This attack had good chance to defeat the Clan Lord and allow Palace Guard to get closer to the center of the battle field. 

At the same time Drakon Riders should have charged the flank of Lekilodon. With more attacks due to flank charge they had batter chance to rout it in a single turn as well. 

In this way I would have had one more regiment in the center and that would have helped to secure victory. Combined with possible delay of Ghekkotah Warriors on the opposite flank it would have been a better option overall.

I am very happy with the result of that game. I hope it was interesting read, especially that the game was hanging in the balance until last turn. I am also glad to spot interesting alternatives as it is always good to learn something from your games.

Thanks for reading!

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