Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Game 132 - Forces of Nature - 2020/01/21

Greetings!

In my next game I played against another fantastic opponent and UK Master player - Ed! He kindly agreed to help me with some practice before Australian Clash of Kings. 

It's been a while since our last game and I knew Ed is currently playing a lot with his new Forces of Nature army he designed for 3rd edition. I had a chance, however, to have a glimpse at his army prior to our game. I must admit I liked it from the beginning!

It is melee orientated army based around two units, Forest Shamblers and Centaur Bray-Striders. It can be moved really fast thanks to many units having Scout ability. It can use Surge to catch some enemies off guard and has some interesting additions that, in my opinion, add a lot of character to this force. Here are the details of the army at 2000 points that Ed brought to our game:

Forces of Nature - Army List

Forest Shambler Horde (FS1), Large Infantry - 200

Forest Shambler Regiment (FS2), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shambler Regiment (FS3), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shambler Regiment (FS4), Large Infantry - 120

Centaur Bray Strider Regiment (CBS), Cavalry, Frenzied Otter - 165
Centaur Bray Strider Regiment (CBS), Cavalry, Frenzied Otter - 165
Centaur Bray Strider Regiment (CBS), Cavalry, Frenzied Otter - 165
Centaur Bray Strider Regiment (CBS), Cavalry, Frenzied Otter - 165

Pegasus (P), Monster - 80

Tree Herder (TH), Hero (Monster) - 260
Forest Warden (FW1), Hero (Large Infantry) - 90
Forest Warden (FW2), Hero (Large Infantry) - 90
Unicorn (U1), Hero (Cavalry), Shroud of the Saint - 150
Centaur Chief (CC), Hero (Cavalry) - 110

I decided to analyse this army by dividing it in three groups: Walking Trees, Centaurs and Support.

The Walking Trees contingent is the toughest part of the army and consists of four units of Forest Shamblers, Tree Herder and Forest Wardens. All these elements may use Scout move to put the pressure on the enemy early on and attack turn 1 if needed. It is not easy to outmanoeuvre because of Surge abilities and is very reliable thanks to defence 5+ (or 6+ for the Herder!) and the fact that you cannot waver them (with an exception of Wardens of course). 

Fortunately for me, majority of these units were Regiment size and some of my units could take them down in one-on-one fights. The hardest nut to crack was, of course, the Tree Herder but I decided I'd rather avoid him unless I have very good opportunity to execute combined charges. 

The second distinct group were the Centaurs. In many ways they are the opposite to Shamblers. Centaurs are fast but more fragile and can be wavered. Unlike slower but more resilient and reliable Shamblers. Centaurs could hit better and harder, however. Especially with a great help of Frenzied Otters! 

Although Centaur Chief helps with Inspiring Presence, Centaurs are better targets for my shooters so I wanted to look for the opportunities to use ranged attacks. Of course, Drakon Riders and Stormwind cavalry can also outpace the Centaurs and be used against them efficiently.

The Support is the smallest part of the army (and I did not include Forest Wardens or Chief here) and consists only two but very important elements: Unicorn and Pegasus. Unicorn's role is to keep healing the damage done by the enemies and with effective Heal (8) it can be very good at it. While Pegasus is a cheap Monster that can be very useful in intercepting missions or in hunting down some war engines. 

In summary, the army has 14 units, 12 of them are scoring and has combined Unit Strength 25. My general plan was to engineer advantageous combined charges against Shamblers and look for opportunities to shoot at the Centaurs. 

Here are the details of my own army:

Outcasts - Army List

Stormwind Cavalry Regiment (S), Cavalry - 215
Palace Guard Regiment (PG1), Infantry - 160
Palace Guard Regiment (PG2), Infantry - 160
Kindred Archers Regiment (A), Infantry - 120

Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR1), Large Cavalry - 165
Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR2), Large Cavalry - 165
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS1), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS2), Large Infantry - 120

Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130
Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130

Lord on Drakon (DL1), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Lord on Drakon (DL2), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Elven Archmage (M), Hero (Infantry), Inspiring Talisman, Lighting Bolt (5) - 115
Army Standard Bearer (AS), Hero (Infantry) - 60

Terrain

Terrain Details

Deployment and Scenario

Elves vs Forces of Nature

In this game we got Push as a scenario. We got 3 tokens each to distribute among the units. Ed decided to place all of them with the horde of Forest Shamblers. I gave one to Palace Guard PG2 and two to Archers.

My idea was to block the units on the left for as long as I could, engage in the centre to win the middle token and in doing so, move to the enemy half of the battle field. And use shooters to create a path for Archers to move to the other side as well. I still placed Drakon Riders and Lord on the right flank as I was not sure if Ed is not going to position some of his Centaurs there as well. I decided that with speed and mobility, these units can still move towards the centre if needed.

In this way I wanted to win on scenario by carrying 4 tokens to Ed's side as opposed to his 3. 

During the deployment I also tried to position Stormwind and Silverbreeze cavalry units a bit behind the deployment edge line just in case Ed decided to attack my units turn 1 after scouting. 

However, I won the roll off and I decided to take first turn.

Deployment of the Armies after Scout moves.

Outcasts - Turn 1

So it begins!

Elves advanced carefully, not willing to enter the zone of potential enemy attacks before the foe is softened up by shooting. For that reason, all cavalry units and Archers remained stationary and aimed at the closest target - the Forest Shamblers. The damage was not significant but it always counts!

Nature - Turn 1

Forces of Nature collect the treasure in the centre of the battle field.

Forces of Nature started advancing on three fronts. On the left flank the units moved forward to occupy the hill and tempted Elves to charge first.

In the middle, the Forest Shamblers created protective line so that Forest Warden could collect the treasure and the Tree Herder and Centaurs stayed in reserves.

On the right flank, some of the Forest Shamblers and Pegasus manoeuvred to intercept Drakon Riders.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Outcasts attacked first!

Elves decided to gamble and attacked early. Forest Shamblers charged together against enemy Warden but mainly to stop the other units from advancing. To help with it, Drakon Lord landed on the flank of the enemy units while Drakon Riders closed the distance.

The main attack was directed at the centre though. Palace Guard units joined forces and routed one group of Shamblers while Storm Wind and Drakon Riders destroyed another.

At the same time, Silverbreeze, Archers and Archmage directed fire at the Centaurs. However, protection of the terrain help them to limit the damage of the incoming fire.

Nature - Turn 2

Nature counter attacks!

Forces of Nature counter attacked quickly. On the left flank, the Centaurs smashed through the Shamblers, using the additional momentum that charge downhill gave them. But the second unit still remained intact!

In the centre, Centaur Chief found a gap to charge through and distract Elven Knights, while Centaurs and Tree Herder routed Drakon Riders.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves reclaim the treasure!

Elves continued the offensive and Palace Guard reclaimed the treasure by routing alone Forest Warden protecting it. The shooters achieved a success by destroying one regiment of the Centaurs. Unfortunately for Elves, Drakon Ridres on the opposite flank were not able to achieve a similar effect and only wavered their adversaries.

Nature - Turn 3

The fight intensifies!

Forces of Nature were not intimidated. The Centaurs hit hard again and this time the Shamblers were destroyed and Drakon Lord badly wounded. The Tree Herder also joined the fight and Elven Knights felt his fury.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves defend the treasures!

In order to help in defending already collected treasures, Drakon Lord disengaged from the fight on the left flank.  He flew over to help his twin who was visibly struggling to do any damage to the Centaurs.

The Palace Guard managed to capture the Centaur Chief and moved into enemy territory. At the same time, Silverbreeze and Archmage tried to help Archers to achieve the same and clear the path for them.

Nature - Turn 4

Heavy losses by Elven army.

Forces of Nature attacked again and this time Elves lost three units! Forest Shamblers on the left dropped the treasure to get more speed and advanced towards the centre. The Centaurs would take care of it, there was a need to reinforce units on the other front.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Palace Guard creates a safe path.

Palace Guard regiments charged down the hill and gave no chance for the Centaurs to hold off this attack. And right on time because it allowed the Elven warriors to avoid attention of the nearby Tree Herder. 

Silverbreeze, Archers and Archmage shot at the Shamblers but unfortunately, they were not able to destroy that unit yet.

Nature - Turn 5

The chase begins

Although Centaurs collected the treasure and would carry it to the enemy side without any trouble, Forces of Nature started a chase to catch fleeing Palace Guard doing the same.

Would Elves find a way to protect what they have collected so far?

Outcasts - Turn 6

Noble sacrifices

The fight was exhausting but Elves did not give up. Drakon Lord swooped down to attack the Centaurs and inflicted enough damage to stop them temporarily.

On the opposite flank Silverbreeze and Archers eliminated last regiment of Shamblers, Archers attempted to run towards the enemy side too.

Last but not least, one Palace Guard regiment attempted to stop the Tree Herder while the other kept moving away from it. Unfortunately, Elves were slowed down by the difficult terrain.

Nature - Turn 6

The situation becomes more dangerous!

Brave Drakon Lord was captured but more importantly, the Tree Herder defeated Palace Guard regiment! It was now up to the other unit to hold the ground all by themselves. Otherwise, Elves would lose the battle in the last possible moment!

Outcasts - Turn 7

Last salvo.

Palace Guard reformed to face the Tree Herder. Silverbreeze, Archers and Archmage all aimed at it but did not inflict sufficient damage to have a chance to destroy it. Palace Guard braced for impact!

Nature - Turn 7

Last charge of the Tree Herder.

The Tree Herder alone was capable of turning the balance of the battle towards Forces of Nature favour. Fortunately for Elves, stalwart Palace Guard held the ground and denied the victory to their enemies!

However, they were not able to carry all the treasure to the enemy side and the battle ended with no side being able to claim a victory.

Summary

Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle

Many thanks to Ed for a great game! I really enjoyed playing against his new army, even though it was a very challenging battle and I have almost lost it all in the last turn! I would also like to thank him for his enormous patience when I pondered for a long time about my next moves! I greatly appreciate that, especially now when I am re-learning the game and how to use my army.

I was really impressed by Ed's Centaurs. They did a lot of damage, more than 12 attacks per regiment would suggest. It was thanks to very good positioning of these units, that allowed them to get extra bonus due to charging down the hill.

I must also admit I really like his Unicorn and its ability to heal a lot of damage. It kept Centaurs alive and because of that I lost left flank earlier than I hoped to hold for. And I did not rout at least one regiment either.

I was obviously very happy with the result because in this game I managed to put up a decent fight. Not all was perfect, of course but considering the fact I am re-learning how to play under new rules, I consider this game to be a better performance than previous three.

As always, there are things I wonder if I could do better. Or rather, how to do them better. 

For example, the attack in the middle. Was it a good idea to attack with Storm Wind? Perhaps flank attack of Drakons would have been sufficient? Or maybe I could have swapped targets and attack Shamblers FS2 with the Knights and FS3 with Palace Guard? The fact that the cavalry was intercepted resulted in rendering them useless soon after.

Another situation was on the left flank where I decided to move Drakon Lord away. Unfortunately, healed Centaurs survived the second charge of the Drakons. Perhaps if Lord stayed and fought, I would have defeated that unit? Of course I would have had to face another regiment of Centaurs and horde of Shamblers. But they would have to attack in the direction that was taking Shamblers away from my half. An important thing for the scenario!

Last but not least I was not able to get Archers to the other side. Perhaps I should have deployed them better to avoid difficult terrain that slowed them down? Or maybe moving them earlier would have been enough? 

Please let me know what do you think should have been done! At the moment I have only questions but I have not yet decided what should have been a better plan!

As always, feel free to comment on any aspect of this battle report so that I can make sure next ones will be even more entertaining for you in the future!

Thanks for reading!

6 comments:

  1. Thx a lot again, for the graffics I see the tree herder be a totally pain in the ass tanking and killing units every time ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Oscar!

      Thanks! I am glad you like the maps! Indeed, Tree Herder is a tough opponent. I believe it will be present in many Elven armies too.

      Cheers!

      Delete
  2. Great read as always and a very close battle.Eds army is very well designed and commanded by a great general so i thought your performance would be one id be happy with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, I greatly appreciate that you like the report!

      I agree, Ed designed his army very well and he is very good at using it so I am very happy with my result, especially at this early stage of 3rd edition.

      Thanks!

      Delete
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