Saturday, 3 August 2019

Game 118 - Trident Realms - 2019/08/03


Some time ago Ed, one of my most regular opponents, asked if we can play a game at 2600 points. He needed some practice before the tournament he was about to attend. I thought it is a great idea to try and upscale the army even further than 2250 points. This is the upper limit I have reached so far, mainly to be able to field the army with fully painted models.

And this is what I did. Instead of building a new army list, I decided to add something to the existing force. I also wanted to stick to the previous condition, i.e. to include models I have already painted. Just in case I have the opportunity to play the game with them, rather than on Universal Battle 2.

Ed used this opportunity to create something quite spectacular. He chose to add an allied contingent of the Herd but used it for the modelling purposes. He used the units from the Herd list to bring the models that are still perfectly in line with his Trident Realm army! Stampede is represented by a giant Kraken, Guardian Brutes are in the form of huge walking Crabs and Centaurs are half women, half snakes creatures. I think it is just an awesome example on how to expand the exiting range of units/models with allied forces that in the end creates a very unique looking army. Ed was kind enough to send a group photo of his units in this army. Well done indeed!

Here are the details of this army list:

Trident Realms - Army List

6 Depth Horrors, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Ensnare
- Knucker, Monster, Ensnare, Nimble, Pathfinder, Stealthy, Thunderous Charge (3)
- Siren[1], Hero, Infantry, Drain Life (6), Ensnare, Individual, Inspiring, Siren's Call, Stealthy

6 Depth Horrors, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Ensnare
- Knucker, Monster, Ensnare, Nimble, Pathfinder, Stealthy, Thunderous Charge (3)
- Eckter[1], Hero, Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Ensnare, Individual, Inspiring, Krakenmaw, Phalanx

40 Naiad Ensnarers, Horde, Infantry, Ensnare, Pathfinder, Regeneration (4+), Brew of Strength, Fury (Fury of the Sea Formation)
- Knucker, Monster, Ensnare, Nimble, Pathfinder, Stealthy, Thunderous Charge (3)
- Naiad Centurion, Hero, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Ensnare, Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Regeneration (4+), Harpoon Gun (Range 18"), Piercing (1), Banner of Griffin, Fury (Fury of the Sea Formation)

20 Naiad Hearpiercers, Regiment, Infantry, Individual, Inspiring, Ensnare, Harpoon-Gun (Range 18"), Pathfinder, Piercing (1), Regeneration (4+), Fury, Steady Aim (Fury of the Sea Formation)
- Naiad Envoy, Hero, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Ensnare, Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Regeneration (4+), Heal (3), Teleport (3)L, Shroud of the Saint

20 Naiad Hearpiercers, Regiment, Infantry, Ensnare, Harpoon-Gun (Range 18"), Pathfinder, Piercing (1), Regeneration (4+), Fury, Steady Aim (Fury of the Sea Formation)

The Herd - Allies

3 Guardian Brutes, Regiment, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Fury, Thunderous Charge (2)
- 5 Centaur Bray-Hunters, Troop, Cavalry, Bows, Nimble, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1)
- Centaur Chief, Hero, Cavalry, Bow, Crushing Strength (2), Individual, Inspiring, Pathfinder, Thunderous Charge (1)

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

I find this army very intriguing indeed. It has a very interesting combination of units that can participate in each phase of the game. It seems to be a very flexible force, able to attack and defend, even in the course of the same battle, depending on the objectives and circumstances.

Thanks to the fact many units have Pathfinder special ability, it can use and navigate the terrain to a great advantage. It has good shooting capabilities thanks to two regiments of Naiad Heart-piercers, who do not suffer penalties to hit after movement. Steady Aim takes care of that, meaning these units are good at mobile range attacks. Nimble Centaurs and Chieftain also add to the arsenal of ranged attacks, that if focused on a single target can be deadly.

It is further augmented by an interesting combination of Siren's Call (dragging units into range, for example), Krakenmaw (Windblast that inflicts damage) and Teleport. 

Naiad Ensnarers, Depth Horrors and Stampede can easily afford a frontal attack against any of my units and potentially destroy them in a singe round of combat. Naiad's are also quite resilient if protected from shooting. But they can easily use any terrain to a great advantage and be very difficult to shift due to the effect of terrain and Ensnare. Then their Regeneration and Fury special abilities would make sure they can hit back hard.

The army greatly benefits from the presence of highly mobile Knuckers that can play a role of interceptors or sneak around to attack vulnerable flanks of the enemies engaged from the front.

In general, this army has total of 16 elements, 11 of them scoring and combined Unit Strength of 22.

Let's have a look at my army before I share some thoughts on how I intended to play against this army.

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders (DR1), Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Dwarven Ale
5 The Windborne (W), Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows
Windborne Arrows - Windblast (8), roll to wound as normal
Drakon Rider Lord (DL1), Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1), Mace of Crushing 

3 Drakon Riders (DR2), Regimen, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Staying Stone
Drakon Rider Lord (DL2), Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1), Diadem of Dragon-Kind

10 Stromwind Cavalry (S)Regiment, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)
Noble War Chariot (N1),  Hero, Large Cavalry, Bow, Thunderous Charge (2)

10 Stromwind Cavalry (S)Regiment, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)

Noble War Chariot (N1),  Hero, Large Cavalry, Bow, Thunderous Charge (2)

3 War Chariots (WC), Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2), Bows
Noble War Chariot (N2),  Hero, Large Cavalry, Bow, Thunderous Charge (2), Whip of Celerity

3 Forest Shamblers (FS1), Regiment, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard, Pathfinders
- Forest Warden (FW2), Large Infantry, Hero,  Crushing Strength (2), Pathfinders, Nimble, Vanguard, Surge (3), Inspiring Talisman

3 Forest Shamblers (FS2), Regiment, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard, Pathfinders
- Forest Warden (FW1), Large Infantry, Hero,  Crushing Strength (2), Pathfinders, Nimble, Vanguard, Surge (3), Alchemist Curse (10)
20 Palace Guard (PG1), Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
- Army Standard (AS), Hero, Infantry, Individual, Inspiring, Lute of Insatiable Darkness

20 Palace Guard (PG2), Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
- Mage, Hero, Infantry, Individual, Heal (3), Windblast (5), Zephyr Crown

This army has 18 elements, 16 scoring units and total Unit Strength of 23. The first impression I had when compared our respective forces is that I have the advantage in scoring units. I wanted to use that in the game, where every exchange of such elements is potentially desirable. After all, if Ed had no scoring units left, I may have a good chance to win the scenario!

From our previous games I knew that some of the units in Ed's army are quite fragile. For example, Depth Horrors may be a prime target for the ranged attacks thanks to their 3+ defence and the fact that they are as fast as Elven infantry. I hoped to be able to focus my fire accordingly, especially in early stages of the game, to rout one or two enemy units.

Speed and manoeuvrability are always elements I want to utilise. In this game, in addition to usually employed Drakon Riders and Lords, I also had two powerful regiments of Elven Knights. I intended to use them to engage the Heartpierces, if possible. Or attack Depth Horrors, especially when already damaged by the shooters.

Last but not least I was looking forward to the use of two Windblast users, the Winborne and Mage. Not only they could push enemy units but still inflicted damage. I hope to use both factors to an advantage.


Terrain Details

Deployment and Scenario

Elves vs Trident Realms with Forces of Nature Allies.

For this game we rolled Ransack as the scenario. On the map above, the white tokens (one of them is under NH1 unit) are worth 1 point, dark purple tokens are worth 2 points and the orange one in the middle is worth 3 points.

In general, I wanted to continue with the initial plan, that is to use the shooting to eliminate 1-2 units early on and use Storm Wind cavalry to charge Hearpiercers and/or Depth Horrors. Hence the positioning of the relevant units in the centre or directly against the chosen targets.

I expected Ensnarers to claim the central objective and I wanted to use that to my advantage. I simply assumed that Ed will be reluctant to move this unit further and that was an opportunity for me to go for the flanks.

Drakons on the left were to keep Knuckers in check so that they don't intercept my cavalry. While the units on the right were to stall the advance of the Herd and to engineer favourable exchanges, especially with the assistance of the Palace Guard.

My aim was to claim as many tokens as possible with an exception of the middle one, unless I could direct enough units to attack Ensnarers from a few directions at the same time.

Deployment after Vanguard moves.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Strong opening.

Elves were eager to fight and attempted to seize the initiative right from the start. Although the advance on the flanks was cautious, the units in the centre moved forward and the shooters unleashed their first volley. All focused on the horde of Depth Horrors in the open and inflicted enough damage to destroy the unit!

Trident Realms - Turn 1

Trident Realms hit back.

The army of Trident Realms and their faithful allies moved forward to meet their enemies without hesitation. The advance was cautious as well but Nereticans had a few tricks of their own to play as well.

Heartpiercers used the fact that hot blooded Elven Nobles abandoned their well defended positions and shot at one of them riding a chariot. That caused him a lot of trouble and he had to spend time trying to regain control over panicking horses.

The combined effect of Siren's Call and Windblast further disrupted the Elven battle line.

Outcasts - Turn 2

First Charge!

Second Elven Noble charged against enemy shooters on his own, clearly showing who is the bravest in the army. Other units followed, although not in a perfectly coordinated manner thanks to the interference of the Siren.

Regiments in the centre regrouped and kept shooting at the second unit of Depth Horrors. While those on the right flank waited for the Herd allies to make their move.

Trident Realms - Turn 2

Fury of the Sea!

It was now clear that cautious advance was to lure the Elves into a trap! Nereticans sent their units into the fight to intercept attacking Elves.

On the left, the Knucker charged Drakon Riders and Heartpiercers attempted to shoot down the Lord but were not successful. Second of the nimble monsters, together with Naiads captured Elven Noble.

In the centre, Siren's Call interfered with Elven manoeuvres again while the Depth Horrors almost destroyed the Palace Guard Regiment.

At the same time, on the right flank, Guardian Brutes led the attack against Forest Shamblers. Both armies started committing more and more units into the fight!

Outcasts - Turn 3

Exchange of blows!

Elves had to fight back quickly in order to regain the momentum. On both flanks they noted successes as their units overwhelmed the enemies and two units were routed. Also the shooters claimed another victory when second horde of the Depth Horrors perished.

Only Storm Wind cavalry disappointed when was not able to rout their enemies.

Trident Realms - Turn 3

Nereticans do not give up!

The battle became even more bloody now as despite he losses, Nereticans did not even think about backing down. One of the Drakon Lords was finally shot down. Eckter routed badly damaged Palace Guard all by himself. While on the right flank Forest Shamblers had to bear the brute of the attack of the allied Herd. Surprisingly, however, one of the group held its ground despite all odds!

Outcasts - Turn 4

The fight continues!

The losses were felt but Elves still had units to commit to the battle and so they did! Drakon Riders hunted down another Knucker on the left flank, while Storm Wind cavalry regiments redeemed themselves by routing their adversaries. It seemed that Elves were gaining the advantage on that flank.

The fight on the right was more desperate and Elves shot at the rampaging Stampede first before the Forest Shamblers were magically animated to attack in close combat. However, the damage was not yet sufficient to destroy it.

Trident Realms - Turn 4

More losses for the Elves.

Both armies were bleeding heavily by now but neither force was willing to concede. Elves lost another three elements. Fortunately, they still had units left to keep on fighting.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Stampede is down!

Elves assumed that the fight on the left flank is won and left the Drakon Riders to take care of the single unit of Hearpiercers. Storm Wind cavalry regiments, however, were slowed down by the remaining heroes of the Trident Realms army and could not yet proceed to attacking positions against the Ensnarers.

Elven units on the right continued bloody exchange and noted another success when the Stampede was finally shot down.

Trident Realms - Turn 5

Nereticans are still dangerous!

Trident Realms army even for the moment did not entertain a thought it may be defeated. And rightly so! Another attack saw two more units scattered to the four winds! Stubborn Hearpiercers kept on fighting too, shrugging off the damage inflicted so far.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Outcasts attempt to secure the objectives.

Elves focused now on claiming the objectives, as it seemed that they have kept more units able to fulfil that mission alive. However, despite the efforts, Drakon Riders could not rout the Heartpiercers and now they were not able to even contest the objective!

The units on the right flank routed the Centaurs and were now in the control of the two objectives there. Or were they?

Trident Realm - Turn 6


In the final move Trident Realms had a nasty surprise for the Elves. Eckter used their own weapon against them and pushed Drakon Lord away so the he could no longer control the objective. What is more the Forest Shamblers overextended themselves and one of them was flank charged by the Knucker. If the beast could rout the Warden that would have been worthy a victory for the Nereticans! Unfortunately for the army of the Trident Realms, the stubborn Warden refused to yield.

With that both armies disengaged rapidly, neither of them able to claim even tactical victory.


Turn-by-turn animation summary


After a bloody encounter Ed controlled 2 objectives for a total worth of 4 points while I managed to hold on to 3 for the same worth. A draw! And I almost lost it in the last turn if not for the Warden to refuse to die.

I would like to thank Ed for a fantastic game and congratulate him for a really great finish in particular. The exchange of blows did not favour his army and he was running out of the units to claim the objectives. But with a master stroke he used Windblast against me in a way of poetical justice, where I intended to do exactly the same :) I just focused too much on inflicting damage with it while Ed kept the objectives in sight and it was only due to bad luck that he did not claim well deserved victory.

I believe Ed took this army to the most recent event in Bristol where he ended up 4th, winning against the tournament winner in the process! Well done indeed, Ed!

As usual, there are many things I noticed I should have done better. Great! Always good to learn from the mistakes :)

First, deployment. While it is not easy to anticipate how the Siren's Call and/or Windblast are going to interfere with the movement, I did not deploy Chariots and Storm Wind well. I spent too long manoeuvring and at the same time did not use hills as potential cover. What I should have done instead was to deploy both cavalry units behind the hill with Nobles in between them. In this way, when I moved forward, I could bypass the hill and force the Naiads to either jump on the hill or to shoot with cover penalty.

Second, the way I reformed Storm Wind cavalry (SW 2) in turn 4 meant I only had Drakon Riders to attack remaining unit of Hearpiercers. In the end it was not enough. What is more, it was not good decision anyway. First, I had more to gain by routing Naiads and letting Drakons fly free, either to claim the objective on the far left or to threaten other units with the flank charge.

The attack with Palace Guard that turn was also a mistake. Although I would have lost War Chariots if I didn't block the enemy infantry, that would have left another unit alive to claim nearby objective.

And last but not least, the positioning of the Wardens that allowed the flank charge. That was really bad move that almost resulted in my defeat.

However, as a result the game was not decided until the last dice roll and I hope that this made it even more interesting and entertaining to read!


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