After previously having to cancel my game with Greg, we managed to re-organise the game for a Thursday night, though this time we would both be using our competition lists but in a friendly game. It was good to get another practice game in after my previous drubbing by Neil as it showed I definitely needed to get to know my army better. It was also the first time I’d played both Greg and this army, which is always an added bonus. Greg is one of my fellow D&D adventurers but we’ve never managed to have a battle before. You can follow his adventures and see a different perspective of this battle on his blog: It’s a Small World
I’m not sure if booking in this game, the day before my second competition game, will help or hinder…
I will apologise in advance for the pictures, as some are quite dark. I also forgot to take them on a number of turns.
Greg’s Twilight Kin – 2000pts
Horde of Crossbowmen – 250pts
Regiment of Blade Dancers (brew of courage) – 215pts
Troop of Scouts – 130pts
Regiment of Dark Knights (Potion of the Caterpillar) – 230pts
Troop of Heralds of Woe – 145pts
Horde of Abyssal Riders – 260pts
Bolt Thrower – 90pts
Bolt Throwers – 90pts
Hydra – 140pts
Lord on Dragon (ensorcelled armour) – 345pts
Sorceress (inspiring talisman + banechant) – 105pts
Evaluation of List
I know for a fact that Greg’s list was mainly shaped by the models he has available but that doesn’t stop there being a number of things that concern me with it. It’s the first time I’ve faced any shooting and the big horde of crossbows with their high nerve and 24″ range will potentially create a no go area. I will need to disrupt them asap.
Likewise the 2 bolt throwers with their huge range of 48″ will be hitting my forces almost immediately and likely targeting the Brutox or Chieftain (that is why one of the reasons I have 2 large monsters, to hopefully cause indecision). Lacking flyers, I may struggle to reach them easily.
His Knights and Abyssal riders are very hard hitting and so I will probably use my normal tactic of blocking them with my dogs and lining up counter charges behind them.
The Hydra isn’t too dangerous until it takes damage when it’s attacks multiply. I think the trick will be to ignore it (as if!) or try and take it out in one turn.
The lord on dragon I can foresee being a nightmare. Def 6 makes it difficult to wound and with fly, it means it can get behind my lines and cause considerable disruption. I’ll need to ensure a second line to try and prevent this occurring.
The Shadows and Heralds of woe are his version of chaff, but are a little expensive for that role. They do have the ability to get into range very quickly and start targeting my own chaff to take it out early.
Lastly his regiment of Blade Dancers (witch elves) I can also see causing me some trouble. They have a lot of attacks and have rules designed to let them keep attacking unless they are routed.
Overall a lot of hard hitting units backed up with some good ranged attacks. The one thing I must remember is to very much concentrate on the objectives and not killing his army (unless that is the objective of course!). Not doing so nearly cost me the first game.
The Herd of Khazbar Reborn – 2000pts.
Khazbar – Shaman – heal + Myrddin’s Amulet – 130pts
Wazzock the Renewed – Shaman – heal – 120pts
Zurrock the Mighty – Chieftain on Chariot – bows + Fire Oil – 205pts
Beast Pack – Troop – 70pts
Beast Pack – Troop – 70pts
Tribal Spirit Walkers – Horde – Brew of Strength – 260pts
Longhorns – Regiment – 145pts
Stampede – Horde – Brew of Sharpness – 305pts
Guardian Brutes – Horde – Blessing of the Gods – 255pts
Brutox – 220pts
Brutox – 220pts
Terrain and Scenario
We did roll on Neil’s terrain table but it was one with a river and as we were playing at Greg’s house with limited terrain, we just asked one of his sons to place the pieces on the table and then rolled for sides, which I won.
We had a house (H4), Hill (H2), Marsh (H0 – difficult terrain), Ruins (H1 – difficult terrain) and a row of walls (H1).
The scenario was Kill, which was quite nice, as it was Greg’s first game, so kept things simple.
As I won the roll for sides, I got the honor of laying the first unit. Rather than reacting to Greg’s drops, I pretty much kept with the pre-match deployment I had devised (refused flank). As we were using a kitchen table that was roughly 6-3 rather than the standard 6-4 board, it did mean that you didn’t have the space to complete double rank deployments.
After deployment it looked like this. I then won first turn which I elected to take.
Turn 1 – Herd
On the left flank the beast pack began ‘operation human shield’ and rushed up to block both the Shadowdancers and Abyssal Riders, which allowed the Stampede, Chieftain and one of the Brutox to move up into their charge distance with no fear of retaliation in the following turn.
In the centre, the horde of Spirit Walkers moved at the double to ensure they were able to use the wall to hinder any attacks against them. The Brutox and Longhorns maneuvered to try and block any attempt by the dragon to land behind the herd lines. The right beast pack decided to mince around not quite sure of what they were doing but vaguely trying to stop the heralds of woe from also getting behind the lines.
The Guardian Brutes meanwhile marched up to threaten the Twilight Kin shooters, realising they had the best chance to survive the inevitable hail of bolts coming their way. It helped that Khazbar had decided to skulk behind them to offer his support.
Turn 1 – Twilight Kin
As expected, the crossbow horde opened fire on the horde of wild eyed, stamping, horned monstrosities that was, both in front and threatening them. The nearby priestess, also looking a tad worried, launched a fireball into them but both attacks failed to inflict significant damage.
The Dark Lord then joined in the fun and threw a lightning bolt into the Brutox opposite him causing minor damage. The Shadows and Heralds of Woe looked at one another and decided that some battersea dogs just wouldn’t ever find a good home so decided to euthanase them. (Cue tumbleweed for overseas readers who likely won’t get that reference…)
On the far flank, the Bolt thrower crew were looking even more worried than their crossbow brethren, as the hulking giant they had just fired at, ripped the bolt out and started looking their way
Turn 2 – Herd
The Brutox started the charge, smashing to pieces the bolt thrower that had just shot him. The crew member he then ate appeared to agree with him, as some of the damage previously inflicted healed over.
The other Brutox, deciding to outdo his sibling, then fully healed himself.
The Minotaurs unable to contain themselves, stormed into the crossbow horde causing significant damage. This was helped by the bane chant Khazbar threw on them and then a heal in order to help them survive the inevitable counter.
Turn 2 – Twilight Kin
Realising that they were in danger of being flanked, the Abyssal Riders pivoted so any charge would hit their front arc. The Shadowdancers next to them, lost control and butchered the beasts in front of them.
The crossbow horde, with very little option, counter charged the Brutes and the single wound caused was enough to waver them. The bolt thrower and priestess decided to target Khazbar with bolts and flames respectively and although pierced and singed he remained standing.
On the herd right flank, the Heralds and shadows again combined their fire, this time against the Brutox who bellowed in pain as he accumulated arrows in his hide. The Hydra and Dark Knights used the distraction of the noise to charge the Spirit Walkers but the charge was hindered and the horde held.
Turn 3 – Herd
With a bellow of rage, the Brutox crashed into the flank of the Dark Knights whilst the spirit horde, seeking revenge hit their front. Despite bodies and mounts flying through the air from the impact, the Knights weathered the brutal charge.
The other Brutox and Chieftain combined to charge the Abyssal Riders and again, despite significant damage, the horde held and prepared to unleash hell.
The Stampede, doing what it does best, obliterated the Shadowdancers and started to eye up the juicy flank of the Abyssal riders.
In the centre, realising that there was a giant dragon looking intently at him, Khazbar decided it would be prudent to move out of the way and scuttled round the side of the building. The fear of the attack disturbed his concentration enough that he failed to cast any spells. The Guardian Brutes ignoring their waver crashed back into the Crossbow horde and when they had finished had left nothing but bits of limbs and blood soaking into the ground. Looking around for their next target, they spotted the nearby Bolt thrower and Priestess.
Turn 3 – Twilight Kin
The Abyssal riders, wounds regenerating, charged into the already damaged Brutox, who shrugged off their blows.
The Shadows and Heralds again fired everything at the nearest Brutox and the weight of fire was enough to bring the great beast down. The Hydra and Knights likewise combined again to hit the Spirit Walker horde and this time wiped the frothing lunatics out.
The Priestess, looking at the horde of red eyed, snorting Minotaurs, decided discretion was the better part of valor and ran round the side of them launching fireballs into their flank. The nearby Dark Lord and Dragon, noticed that the movement of the Guardian Brutes had left open a path into Khazbar and duly ran him down. The momentum of the charge then carried the monster and rider into the flank of the Stampede and it also tore them apart.
Things were not looking so good for the herd across the battlefield…
Turn 4 – Twilight Kin
In the final turn of the game (it was late and a week night), The Twilight Kin tried to maximise the destruction of the herd army. The Hydra charged the only unit in range but failed to do anything to the elite Longhorns.
The Heralds and Shadows both shot at Wazzock, who shrugged off the wounds.
In the final roll of the dice, the Dark Lord and Dragon hit the already damaged remaining Brutox, removing it from the board.
After totaling up the remaining points, it was 865 vs 725 in favour of the Twilight Kin. Because it was within 200 points it was a draw. Hat off to Greg for the moral victory, especially in his first game.
The first thing which jumped out is although the rules are far more streamlined than whfb, I still am still lacking in knowledge and we had to look up rules a number of times and I also got some of the rules incorrect (in fairness it was only my 3rd game).
An example is not remembering how regenerate works. The first 2 turns I had it in my head that you just rolled two dice rather than dice equal to the wounds taken (I also forgot to roll on another turn but that was my own fault). It could have been the difference between the right flank Brutox living past the Twilight Kin turn 3, rather than dying to the accumulated bow fire.
Not managing to cast a single Bane-Chant after the first turn shows that you can’t rely on magic in this game either!
I did have fun and was pleased I finally managed to play against Greg.
My biggest mistake (bar normal deployment) was probably the pivot of the Stampede after killing the Shadowdancers, I not only left it’s flank exposed to a potential charge from the dragon, when the Brutox and Chieftain already had that flank covered but if he had charged the Abyssals, it would have moved them away from the rest of the battle for the remaining turns.
The left flank beast pack did its job by blocking both the dancers and Abyssals but the problem with the double block was they had to get close enough to do so, that it was stuck in place and when Greg chose not to charge them my Stampede did nothing for a turn.
I had been expecting my Shamen to die quickly which is why he used the amulet the first turn. It was just slightly unlucky that the pivot of the brutes left him exposed to the charge.
What went well?
I was pretty happy with the deployment, in so far as I knew where I wanted things to go and they worked reasonably well. I found this worked more than the indecision and reacting to his deployment. Yes there were some questionable placements but the issues around these were more to do with what I did with them afterwards.
I did the right thing in ignoring the hydra. Without the additional attacks it receives when damaged, it is pretty meh (although it’s a fantastic model he uses for it).
Using the guardian brutes against the crossbows was definitely a good choice. The crossbows really struggled to damage them and once in combat, it was only ever going to go one way. With the large route value, I needed a lot of attacks to remove them quickly, however the question is whether another unit would have been a better option. The Stampede has enough attacks and hits hard enough that it might have taken out the unit in one turn and then would be in a central position to then decide where to go. Their pathfinder rule would also have helped from that position. But it would have been a waste of their high TC. A Brutox would also have worked in the role but in a different way as it would have held them up for the game but may have struggled to remove the horde.
Parking the spirit walkers behind the wall massively helped them survive due the hindered charge scenario. I’m not sure if we played the counter charge correctly though. The walkers definitely need a chaff cover. They need to get the charge it as they take damage too easily. Already I have a good idea of what my v.2 list will contain.
With regards to Gregs list, I found the Bolt throwers to be actually quite under whelming. I know they are cheap and you can’t judge based on one game but for less than the cost of both of them, you could get another unit of scouts or heralds and I’d probably go that route as they were able to reliably plink wounds off all game. It has made me think about revising my elf list to remove them. It is worth noting that because we were playing on a 3ft wide table they were within charge range within 2 turns, whereas a deeper table would likely have given them an additional turn. I’m still not convinced by them though.
Having read A lot of Swordmasters battle reps, I’d advise greg to concentrate fire on units rather than fire piecemeal.