Friday rolled on and my first game of the second tournament stage. This was against Dan and his Empire army (his list was previously covered here and my list is here). Dan is a great opponent and with a classic match up of Beastmen vs Empire I knew we would be having a good game. The only doubt was whether I would provide a decent challenge with (a) my lack of Beastmen experience (all of 1 game) and (b) as I had been rather ill most of Friday morning (I know, I know – excuses, excuses). The latter was thankfully counteracted by Dan having been on his office work bash the night before, so neither of us were as spritely as normal!
I’ll caveat that (as usual) any mistakes are due to lack of notes and trying to decipher my photos and memory!
We rolled Battle line (victory goes to the general with 200+ VPs), which was a nice surprise. I don’t think i’d played a straight forward battle in about 9 months.
As with my last game, just 2 pieces of scenery were rolled:
1 * normal hill.
1 * River
Dan chose stash the cash using the only piece of terrain he could (the river). I chose Hero hammered.
The Shamen/Wizard spell selections were as follows:
Khazbar the Magnificent – Great Bray Shaman (roll of – 3*4 + 2): Melkoths miasma, Enfeebling, Okkams and Penumbral
Wazzock the Lame – Shaman (roll 1+5): Wyssans and Savage Beast.
Empire lvl 1 (dispel): Light of Battle
Empire lvl 1 (power stone): Shems
Empire Lvl 4 (roll of 2*5 + 4 + 2): Birona, Speed of Light, Net + Banish
Being in the year 2518, it came to pass that his most Magnificent, Khazbar of the Broken Skull tribe, rose to ascendance over the other local herds. (Help me!) And in his omnipotence, did decree that the herds should go forth and reap a tally from the hated and loathsome humans of the self styled ‘Empire’. (Please save me!). His vision and noble standing were so encompassing that he did spare the life of this humble scholar in order to document his mission to enlighten the world.
And in the second week after my rescue, the Glorious one did take it on himself to educate (dead, dead, he killed them all…) all the degenerate empire peasants of the region. The local tyrant did raise a host and seek to vanquish my lord and master, his Maleficence, Khazbar. Being of superior intellect and masterful in his tactics (PLEASSSSSSEE), Khazbar did take a fraction of the herd out of the forest depths to do battle and lo did the dastardly lickspittle of sigmar cower in a corner when faced with the might of the herd (SAVE MEEEEeeeee).
Excerpt from the Chronicle of Khazbar the Magnificent. Attributed to Hans Beckenbower. Found at the site of the Battle of Sykle Fen.
I lost the roll and placed the first unit, we then alternated and as I finished deployment before Dan, got the bonus to the first turn roll (which I then duly lost).
Turn 1 – Empire
The mass of humans gingerly advanced, intimidated by the might of the herd. The only exceptions were the two small units of knights, the weight of armour was obviously crushing all sense from their tiny brains. Khazbar casually dismissed the pathetic attempt of the humans to net the harpies. He growled in anger as his student failed to counter the spawn of sigmar and a chariot was blasted to pieces. The metal monstrosity made a terrible sound, clunked to a halt and steam bellowed from it, eliciting a snigger from the horde. Khazbar shook his mane as the unit of harpies that had run onto the field, immediately turned tail and fled in terror after one of them was shot down.
Turn 1 – Beastmen
Bloodhorn roared and flew forward. The rest of the herd responded to his cry and surged ahead as fast as they could. With a contemptuous flick of the claw, Khazbar cast a miasma onto the Stank lowering it’s initiative by 3. Chest swelling up with satisfaction from the look of fear and envy Wazzock gave him, he nonchalantly cast a boosted Penumbral at the Stank, failing to wound it but in the process killing a harpy and wounding the hellblaster. There was an almighty explosion from the resulting magical cascade, that knocked the unit to the ground. Fully a third of his Bestigor bodyguard failed to get back to their feet, bodies scorched and smoking. He shook his head to clear his mind. Even in his weakened, disorientated state he noted Wazzocks look of glee and bared his fangs in anger. He would carve that look out of the insolent whelps flesh later.
Turn 2 – Empire
Khazbar growled at Wazzock who quickly invoked the power of the Dark Chalice. Seconds later he and his unit ducked as the harpies flew over their heads, running from the charge of the unit of knights to their front. The birdwomen would have to be punished later. Both of the horsemen units stopped when faced with the mass of the herd yet failed to show the correct level of submission. They would learn!
Still reeling from the previous miscast, Khazbar dispelled one banishment but failed to catch the second as it slammed into Bloodhorn, who bellowed in rage, the archers in front flinching from the sound. If Bloodhorns bellow had been loud, it paled into insignificance next to the roar of the Ghorgan as it caught a cannonball from the metal abomination.
Turn 2 – Beastmen
With a roar the Herd crashed into the humans. Bloodhorn smashed through the screen of archers, continuing into the Hurricanum. The Bestigors cut the unit of knights to pieces, one of them stooping to pick up the fallen standard. Khazbar swelling with power as he sucked the soul from the knight he had killed. Khazbar first ordered Wazzock to cast Wyssans on the horde, which was dispelled. Eyes narrowing with feral cunning he then cast Okkums on the small unit of Gor. His adversary frantically read from a parchment, which crumbled into dust, as it blocked the spell. Despite these minor setbacks, both units of Gor made short work of the second units of knights, the survivor flogging his horse as he ran for the hills. (Edit: this should have just been removed as the unit only had a standard in it). The scent of fresh blood also reached both sets of harpies, who stopped their respective retreats before leaving the field of battle.
Turn 3 – Empire
With a rumble the two large empire chariots crashed into Bloodhorn. The wounds suffered earlier in the battle meant he succumbed to the scythed wheels. Khazbar again started to grin as the empire magic phase amounted to nothing. The grin was quickly wiped from his face as the metal box carved its way through his unit, pulping most of them beneath its treads. It then turned to fear as the horde of empire men charged into his flank and he realised there was nothing between him and the mass of men! Despite killing 3 personally, with the destruction of his unit and the dying groans of the Ghorgon from behind him, he decided that he would be better placed directing the battle from the safety of the treeline…
Turn 3 – Beastmen
With Khazbar fleeing the field and the doombull fallen, it was left to Zhuroc to salvage something from the fight. He let loose a loud bray and led his unit into the midst of the empire horde in front of him. The remaining chariot hurtled into its counterpart and a Razorgor driven wild with bloodlust, slammed into the side of the Steam Tank.
Wazzock saw his chance to gain the eminent magical position in the tribe but sadly lived up to his title of ‘the lame’ by failing to get any spells through. He took his frustration out on the men in front of him, joining his unit in decimating the horde and then steaming forward into the bunker holding all the empire wizards.
Turn 4 – Empire
Rightly fearing for their lives the empire wizards threw everything they had into their magic phase. Zhuroc glanced over at Wazzock, who just looked confused and was barely able to defend himself. Empire swords and staves moving so fast they blurred and an eldritch shield deflecting blows was not enough to save them however and the horde trampled their remains as they rushed into the next unit of archers, oblivious as around them the empire whittled down the remnants of the herd.
Turn 4 – Beastmen
Zhuroc and the horde tore through the last of the archers and reformed to face the hellblaster, ready to make it pay for the inevitable barrage coming their way. Wazzock augmented the smaller Gor herd and their muscles swelled and skin hardened. Not to be outdone by his master, the resultant cascade killed 12 Gor, severely reducing the hordes numbers.
Feeling invincible, the smaller Gor Herd saw their chance and charged the spawn of sigmar who ran like a whipped cur, though they were unable to catch him.
Turn 5 – Empire
Looking rather sheepish and hoping that no one had noticed his moment of indiscretion, the empire general turned his mount back to face the battlefield.
The Hellblaster then opened up killing 7 of the gor horde. Zhuroc peered around suddenly noticing that he was dangerously short of friendly bodies surrounding him. Things took a turn for the worst when the other remaining unit was obliterated by a combined assault from the demigryph knights and the armoured wheeled box and the Bestigor chariot was crushed by its empire counterparts.
Turn 5 – Beastmen
In a final desperate bid to get something from the battle, the remaining Gor charged the engineer and Zhuroc issued a challenge. Wazzock tipped the odds in their favour by casting the savage beast on the wargor who duely ripped the empire man limb from limb. From the tree line Khazbar cackled as the resultant miscast killed his upstart apprentice.
Turn 6 – Empire
Without waiting to watch the humans mop up the last of the remaining Gor, Khazbar turned his back on the field and trudged back into the depths of the forest, pausing only long enough to signal the Bestigor to bring the gibbering human scribe. He made a mental note to kill them before he got back to the tribe so none would know of his defeat.
Dan – Win + 6 turns + painted + mission (15+1+2+7 =) 25 points
Me – Loss + 6 turns (5+1 =) 7 points
Due to the total destruction of my force we didn’t bother to add up VPs but Dan had around 1,220 points left on the field at the end.
That was by far the most enjoyable game of warhammer I’ve had in a long time. I don’t think I’ve been so pleased in using new toys in an eternity. It was the little things that made it, including being able to use the counters made to denote wounds/extra attacks/banners captured. Even Dan said he’d never seen anyone so excited or happy to roll on the miscast table. What can I say, playing Dwarves, I’ve never had to and killing around 25 Beastmen through dimensional cascades was hilarious. This army reminds me very much of Orcs but not quite as crazy. It probably helped going in with no expectations and so when things went wrong it was easy to shrug my shoulders.
Dan as normal was a pleasure to play against and further to our start of game discussion on me wanting to learn how to effectively use chaff, he was giving me advice even during the pivotal turn 3. It didn’t impact the outcome but not everyone would have done so at that point of the game.
The Bestigors were as effective as I had expected them to be. It would have been interesting to have seen how much more so if I hadn’t of killed 1/3rd of them myself 😉 (and i kept forgetting they had GWs and not additional hand weapons). Razorgors look so potential on paper, with 4 Str 6 attacks on the charge, but i’ve found them less than effective in combat. They are good at holding things up though, so i’ll have to use them as a tough road block rather than a combat multiplier. Having been on the receiving end Dan’s horde of halberdiers before, I was apprehensive about getting into combat with them so I was shocked how easily my Gor ripped them apart. This was helped in part by Dan leaving his hurricanum and luminark out of their bubble range and the one poorly rolled magic phase in the game was the turn before I charged, so it had no buffs. He then compounded the error in having his wizard bunker further forward than his other archers allowing me to overrun into them. Two rare mistakes on his part.
Not that I played a mistake free game by any means. Not knowing the rules for rivers and movement through them meant that I left the Ghorgon vulnerable to additional rounds of cannon and even then I should have just charged him forward rather than faffing around trying to get him away from the Stank. In fairness Dan did offer to let me redeploy the Ghorgon and Razorgor so they weren’t trapped by the river, which was very decent of him but as I said to him, leaving them there meant I would learn from the mistake in a more effective manner. Blocking my own troops with Chaff, meaning that I couldn’t chase down his troops was not the best use of them and I must remember that just because I can scout, doesn’t mean I necessarily should, especially as the harpies have such low leadership. I also made mistakes in the repeated piecemeal charges. I would have been better off holding back a turn in many cases and then charging in. I should also of taken Pit over Penumbral in my spell selection in order to deal with the Stank. A total balls up in my part from reading the rules incorrectly and possibly a game losing one as that thing decimated two of my units. Looking back at the photos I also see that if I’d angled my Doombull more I could have had the option of charging the flank of his horde. Whether this would have been a better use of him I don’t know, it was only due to a lucky stand and shoot roll that he lost enough wounds to be killed by the chariot impacts and that combat could well have gone my way if he had survived. Having him attack the warmachines did pull them out of position which helped the horde combat. So it probably didn’t make too much difference.
The biggest mistake made however was in my final turn. Trying to complete my secret mission I charged the unit of Gor with my characters into the engineer. I would have been better off charging the engineer with my BSB and the hellblaster with my shaman, leaving the Gor unit as a speed bump. This might have meant that one of the characters survived the game as at that point I was ahead on character deaths. Leaving them all in one unit, allowed Dan to concentrate charges/fire/magic on the unit wiping them out, thus we drew on the number of characters slain and I didn’t achieve the mission.
After this game I am very much looking forward to the next one against Paul. We’ll see if I learnt any lessons and can pick up my game a bit!