Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Game 113 - The Herd - 2019/03/27


Soon after our first game Yan and I had a good opportunity for a re-match. This time we decided to go for armies a bit bigger than before, mainly because it seems that majority of the events announced are going to be at 2250 points.

Yan decided to make some changes to his army list in addition to the upgrade to a larger force. This time his Herd would also include some Elven trai... allies that is. :)

It meant that Yan added some ranged attacks to the army. At the same time, the horde of War Chariots poses a significant threat in melee. In general, it definitely added some more flexibility to his force. 

The changes to the core of the army list were not dramatic but quite interesting nevertheless. Let's have a look at the details:

The Herd - Army List

40 Tribal Warriors, Infantry, Horde, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1)
- Beast Pack*, Height (1), Nimble, Pathfinder, Vicious 
- Beast Pack*, Height (1), Nimble, Pathfinder, Vicious 
- Beast Pack*, Height (1), Nimble, Pathfinder, Vicious  
- Chimera, Monster, Fly, Crushing Strength (2), Pathfinder, Vicious
- Shaman, Hero, Infantry, Bane Chant (3), Critter's Call (8), Drain Life (6), Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1), Myrddin's AMulet of the Fire-heart

40 Spirit Walkers, Infantry, Horde, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1), Banner of the Griffin
- Shaman, Hero, Infantry, Bane Chant (3), Weakness (2), Drain Life (6), Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1), Myrddin's AMulet of the Fire-heart

6 Guardian Brutes, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Fury, Thunderous Charge (2), Brew of Sharpness
- Tribal Totem Bearer, Hero, Infantry, Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1)

20 Tribal Longhorns, Infantry, Regiment, Base size (25 x 25mm), Crushing Strength (1), Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1), Lute of Insatiable Darkness

6 Stampede*, Large Cavalry, Horde, Irregular, Crushing Strength (1), Pathfinder, Strider, Thunderous Charge (3), Dwarven Ale

Elven Allies

6 War Chariots, Horde, Large Cavalry, Bows, Elite, Thunderous Charge (2)
- Noble War Chariot, Hero, Large Cavalry, Nimble, Bows, Elite, Thunderous Charge (2)

Apart from adding allies, the main change in composition was substituting Lycans with Brutes. These are slower but hit harder, have better armor and with Fury, they are more reliable. They can still be wavered but at least it is now more difficult to achieve and if done in melee, it does not matter!

Stampede too got some help in the form of the artifact to help with Waver effects as well. There seem to be one less regiment of Longhorns but more troops of Beast Packs. 

Overall, the army looks like it is more flexible, able to participate in each phase of the game. It has 14 elements total, 11 scoring units and combined unit strength of 22. 

My initial thoughts were about how to minimize the impact of shooting War Chariots provided. I wanted to make sure that if something cannot get into cover, it may at least be out of range if Yan gets the first turn. Eliminating this unit, either in melee or by focusing my own shooting, would be my priority regardless of the scenario. It is too fast to avoid it for some time as other shooting hordes and can significantly interfere in my own maneuvers.

Here is my version of 2250 army list I decided to bring:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Dwarven Ale
- 5 The Windborne, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows
, Windborne Arrows - Windblast (8), roll to wound as normal
- 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), Alchemist Curse (10)

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

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

In order to upgrade this army to 2250 points I added one more regiment of Forest Shamblers and one more Forest Warden. With the remaining points I upgraded Silverbreeze cavalry to Windborne as I really like the idea of pushing enemy units around. I split Inspiring Talisman and Alchemist Curse between two Wardens. And I added Lute for Army Standard. I was also considering Griffin Banner instead but in the end I decided to try out good, old Bane Chant spell.

This army has thus 16 elements, 15 scoring units and total Unit Strength of 21. I had two more units, four more scoring elements and one less combined unit strength. I thought I may have a bit of advantage in speed and shooting. That suggested being patient, focusing the shooting (if possible) on a single target to further increase the advantage in scoring units number. And preparing combined charges on weakened enemies. It was also important to keep the some of the shooters intact for the end game. It is to be able to force nerve tests on badly wounded enemy units that otherwise may avoid melee. And in the case of Windborne cavalry, to have the option to shift the enemy units away from the objectives.


Terrain details

As usual for the games on Universal Battle we used maps set up created by Epic Dwarf and this time it was map number 6.

Scenario and Deployment

Deployment of the armies with Loot markers placement indicated.

This time we got one of the classic scenarios - Loot. In this case the challenge is twofold, first to manage to grab the loot and second, to hold it.

In order to complete the first half I decided to group the army in two areas, mainly across two Loot tokens on both flanks. I wanted to use Forest Shamblers and Wardens to move forward with their Vanguard move. Close enough to jump over the tokens but not taking the risk of being charged if I didn't get the first turn. In the movement phase I would move the Shamblers forward to block access to the token. Even if charged and killed in combat. Then I would follow with second wave to block the token again and allow small unit, such as Forest Warden, to pick up the token.

In this way I should be able to collect two tokens early and with small units carrying them, it should be more difficult for the opponent to attack them directly. 

The risk of this approach is that it inevitably puts a lot of units in danger and may result in one-on-one combats that my army does not like. Hence the support of faster elements that would threaten flank charges. Drakon Riders and Lords are usually performing such roles. But Storm Wind, War Chariots and Chariot mounted nobles are also great units to do so.

The plan was then as follows: advance quickly with Forest Shamblers to block two tokens on both flanks. Provide support with the second wave and flanking units to protect the wardens who would be carrying the tokens. Use my own shooting and faster units to eliminate horde of chariots. Hold the left flank, stall the center and win on the right to create the opportunity to threaten enemy army from that direction.

If the plan works I should have 2 tokens under control but I expected heavy losses, in particular on the left and in the center. Hopefully after exchanges that would be advantageous for me as I had more scoring units.

Deployment after Vanguard moves.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves advance.

Elves begun realizing their plan right from the start. However, not everything went smoothly and some adjustments were necessary.

The Forest Shamblers on the right could not move far enough to cover the passage to the loot as that would have put them in the direct danger of being attacked by enemy chariots. At the same time, their own Chariots seemed to be too far to get into the position for shooting while risking being in the open.

The Herd - Turn 1

Stampede charges first!

The Stampede was unleashed first and it slammed into Forest Shamblers together with Tribal Longhorns. 

Guardian Brutes run towards something very shiny, seemingly left unguarded in the middle of the battle field, with beast pack intercepting any enemy wishing to interfere.

Allied War Chariots rolled on the hill and managed to destroy the smaller unit of their counterparts by shooting alone.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Counter attack!

The Outcasts decided on mounting a counter attack that included majority of their forces. On the left flank, Palace Guard and Storm Wind cavalry attacked their powerful enemies in order to distract them and buy time for the Warden to pick up the loot.

Drakon Riders spotted an opportunity and flank charged Spirit Walkers together with the Noble in the chariot. The attack caught the Walkers by complete surprise and this powerful unit was routed.

On the opposite flank the task was equally important. Palace Guard took the opportunity to chase away the beast pack while Forest Shamblers blocked the Tribal Warriors and engaged them in a fight. 

This helped the Drakon Lord and the Warden to shoot at the enemy Noble and wavered him. What is more, it allowed Windborne cavalry to move into position and push enemy Chariots from the hill. Effectively denying them the chance to immediately attack Palace Guard if they decided to do so.

The Herd - Turn 2

Brutal fight in the forest

The fight on the left flank intensified as Stampede trampled the regiment of Palace Guard and Longhorns wavered the Elven cavalry. Even the Beast Pack managed to ground mighty Drakon Riders!

On the other hand, the shooting was not as efficient as last time and surprisingly, one of the Nobles who was attacked by Guardian Brutes, miraculously survived! (Edit: It is easy to guess that Yan rolled snake eyes for the nerve check!)

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves note some more successes!

Not discouraged by the losses, Elves continued to look for the opportunities to fight back. As Drakon Riders were unable to attack the enemies from the flank or rear, it was up to the Drakon Lord to perform this task. He chose Tribal Longhorns as his target and in glorious charge he succeeded! 

The Elven units that had ranged attacks all converged upon the enemy Chariots. Thus the Noble, second Drakon Lord and Windborne Cavalry focused their efforts on a single target. Their attempt was successful as well as they completely obliterated the unit. 

Two more units from the Herd army perished and Tribal Warriors on the right flank had a really tough time defending against Elven units.

The Herd - Turn 3

Elves lose a few units in return.

The Herd retaliated quickly, if only to show the Elves that there is no time to celebrate and there is no real advantage gained yet. 

Stampede claimed its third victim and proud Elven Knights were shattered. Nearby Drakon Riders were destroyed by the ferocious Beast Pack. Fortunately, all that allowed Forest Warden to be hidden from the attacks. However, Guardian Brutes and Chimera were already circling around to catch him!

Tribal Warriors defeated Forest Shamblers as well. This battle was already quite bloody and everything seemed to be possible with both armies throwing in their reserves.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Protect the loot!

Elves succeeded in claiming the treasure, now it was time to implement the plan to protect it. The right flank seemed to be secured as Place Guard wavered Tribal Warriors and it seemed that they will be routed soon.

The Forest Warden was in big trouble, however and attempted to avoid the enemies. Fortunately, he could move away from the Chimera, while the Brutes were shot at, pushed back and finally wavered so they could not chase him either.

The Herd - Turn 4

Forest Warden drops the treasure!

Although the Forest Warden could avoid being attacked directly, he was not able to avoid ranged attacks. Shaman managed to catch him and the damage done was sufficient to topple the Warden. It was back to the game now as both armies secured one piece of treasure each.

Surprisingly, however, Stampede that had no problems in destroying every unit it has attacked so far, failed to rout single, brave Elven Army Standard Bearer. And it had much more serious consequences than just not routing another enemy.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves deliver another powerful attack.

Stampede paid the ultimate price for the blunder and was routed by the Elven flanking force of Drakon Riders and Chariot mounted Noble. Palace Guard finally defeated Tribal Warriors and were tasked with picking up the Loot that the remaining Warden left behind. He was running towards the opposite flank to help the forces there.

Although Chimera prevented Drakon Lord from attacking wounded Brutes in melee, it could not stop other Elven units from charging it instead. The beast was defeated as well.

Last but not least, the Guardian Brutes, wwer again the target of the shooters and again wavered under the fire.

The Herd - Turn 5

Final stage of the battle begins.

Two Shamen, not able to claim the treasure by themselves, decided to prevent Elven units from doing so. One of them also managed to destroy badly damaged Chariot of the nearby Noble. 

The last beast pack attacked Drakon Riders while the Brutes got a bit of healing, reformed and dropped the Loot. In this way, even if the Elven forces approaching them would defeat them, they would not be able to pick up the treasure in time.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Guardian Brutes survive!

It seemed that Elves gained the advantage in terms of numerical superiority but the treasures were still not under their control. 

Palace Guard on the right captured the Loot with easy. The Drakon Riders on the left got rid of the beast pack and reformed to face the Shamen. Remaining shooters, i.e. Forest Warden and Windborne aimed at one of the enemy wizards but they completely failed to harm him!

Last but not least, both Drakon Riders and Noble in the Chariot charged the Brutes. They inflicted sufficient amount of damage to break the enemy but the Brutes held the line! 

The Herd - Turn 6

Guardian Brutes in the last attempt to protect the treasure.

Instead of attacking, the Brutes decided to reclaim the treasure and hope they can repeat the success and hold the line against the all odds. A few shooting attacks were aimed at the Elven Noble but the attack proved to be unsuccessful.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Last charges

Elves were determined to secure as much treasure as possible so they did not stop fighting. The shooters once again aimed at Shaman, inflicted some damage but he did not yield. His companion fought against Drakon Riders bravely and also refused to flee.

Unfortunately, the Guardian Brutes finally were defeated and Elves reclaimed the Loot! With two pieces of treasure and only two Shamen surviving the battle, Elves claimed the victory and withdrew from the battle field.


Turn-by-turn animation summary


Many thanks to Yan for another great game! It was really bloody and I absolutely loved the fact that it was not decided until the last moment! 

I was very happy with the general plan and the fact that despite the losses I still had quite a few units to fight with. I also managed to keep Windborne cavalry, Forest Warden and Drakon Lord alive and that allowed me to use shooting attacks later in the game. 

It was also important to see that the army has capability to inflict damage, not just win at scenario. 

I really like how Yan used his Beast Packs. Form example, to block my units from attacking Guardian Brutes in the open or protecting the back yard.

I definitely miscalculated with my own Chariots as to where to place them and I positioned them in a spot where they could not move into shooting range or charge range turn 1. Instead, they got into shooting range of the horde and were decimated. I probably should have either position them in a slightly different place at the start or move at a double and threaten charging in case the shooting did not rout them. 

My initial deployment on the right was also a bit problematic as I did not have Windborne in range for the first turn of shooting. In the end it perhaps helped them to be shot at in return but that was not necessarily the plan. 

I hope you enjoyed the battle report and thanks for reading!

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