KOW – Herd vs Dan’s Dwarves – SELWG Competition game

In the second of my competition battles (and second game in two days), I played against my old adversary Dan. I was really curious what he would bring, as not only have I faced Dan in battle many times at Warhammer (though not at KOW) but he was also using one of my favourite armies, dwarves and i wanted to see how different his list would be from what I would create (the answer is: quite a bit).

Dan’s Dwarf list – 2000pts

Mounted Berserker Lord – 140pts

Army Standard Bearer – 50pts

Stone Priest – 120pts

Stone Priest – 120pts

Shieldbreaker Horde – 215pts

Shieldbreaker Horde – 215pts

Rangers Regiment – 180pts

Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar – 230pts

Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Gem of Zellak – 240pts

Flame Belcher – 85pts

Flame Belcher – 85pts

Greater Earth Elemental – 160pts

Greater Earth Elemental – 160pts

The entire army has the headstrong rule so can ignore wavers on a 4+. I don’t think this is one of the more useful army traits but it is what it is.

He has several elements that I would say obviously work together.

Core – The 2 Shieldbreaker hordes have average hit and defence stats and again average horde attacks with the normal high nerve. They do have CS2 so will damage more easily.  I would expect these to form the centre of the army.

Standard bearer – I suspect this will closely follow the 2 hordes as their source of inspiring.

Support. 2 Flame Belchers. 2 sources of 18 attacks with a 16″ effective range that always hits on a 4+ (as we are not using CoK rules) is enough to give me the shivers after my experience with Efreets. I suspect they will also be backing up the 2 hordes and used to soften up anything that came close to them.

2 Greater Earth Elementals each supported by a stone priest in order to surge them. They can also inspire the elements and cast bane chant on anything within 12″ of them (though they can’t BC + surge in the same turn). The Earth elementals only have 8 attacks and an average hit roll, however with CS 3 they will damage any of my army on a 2+ and surge gives them a good chance of hitting the flank. They have a high 6+ defence and a solid nerve meaning it will be difficult to shift them. In some ways the high CS attacks of the elementals and shield breakers are wasted on my list as I tend to have low defence so it doesn’t make a huge difference.

Fast attack. Rangers – 24″ ranged attacks, combined with vanguard means they will be attacking early on. They only have average hit and def stats and reasonably low attacks. I would expect them to advance in order to project an early threat to stall my advance and to try and clear out my chaff.

2 units of berserker brock riders. This is the true fast element of the army. They have high attacks and nerve and are fearless. They have TC1 and vicious so will hit reasonably hard on the charge. This is offset by their average to hit and defence stats. One unit has pathfinder to help ensure they don’t lose TC1. The other has the scrying Gem that makes his opponent have to lay D3+1 units before he does. With his higher unit count, this means he will know where the majority of my army is deployed so I need to have a plan straight off the bat.

The final part of his army is a mounted berserker lord. 8 attacks with CS1, vicious and hitting on 3+ means he will kick out a solid number of wounds. He does have nimble meaning he can easily get into flanks, round units but has individual so won’t double/triple attacks. He also inspires brock riders so will likely roll with them.

As expected with Dan, he has built his army thinking about synergies. I can see how I would run his list with the horde core backed up with warmachines. His brocks could be run as a pack or on each flank and his elementals run the same way. Saying that, i’m not sure if he would run it the same way though!

His army is slow and so he has tried to offset this with the Gem, forcing me to lay between 2 and 5 drops before him (depending on who won the roll and his D3 roll). As he starts with 13 drops vs my 11, he would always have a slight advantage and using the Gem will also mean that he will likely be reacting to my deployment. This could actually go against him as not only should I be able to anticipate how he will deploy based on how I lay my units, but due to the slow speed of dwarves I feel you should not be reactionary in deployment but lay according to the objectives rolled (though perhaps this holds true to some extent for all armies).

The key for me will be to overwhelm sections of his army quickly. His biggest attack range is an 16″ charge from the brocks and 16″ fire range from the flame belchers. Yes the Earth Elementals have a maximum charge of 10″ plus a potential 8″ surge but this is unlikely to occur. This means I have the edge in movement speed and so need to utilise this to multicharge. If he splits the brocks, then one unit of beasts will block them to set up a counter, leaving the other (or a Brutox) to target a flame belcher.

I can see me utilising a refused flank a lot with the herd, the centre anchored with my horde, Brutox on both flanks.

To recap my list.

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

We used Neil’s terrain chart and rolled Map 5, which contained: 4*buildings, 1*tree base, 2*WHF, 1 hill.

Hills are height 2, Trees and buildings height 4.

I won the roll and so was designated player A.

Terrain deployment instructions Map 5.

  1. Player A places 2*buildings & 1*WHF anywhere on the table, but not In any DZ, at least 6” from any table edge, & both buildings no further apart than 6” with WHF linking both buildings in nay configuration.
  2. Player B places 2*buildings & 1*WHF anywhere but In any DZ at least 6” from any table edge, & both buildings no further apart than 6” with WHF linking both buildings in any configuration. Also must be at least 12” away from nearest building in A above.
  3. Player A places 1*tress anywhere on the table at least 9” from any table edge.
  4. Player B places 1*hill anywhere on the table at least 9” from any table edge.

Scenario

I was hoping that I didn’t get loot again and when we rolled Pillage, I was more than happy as it was another first for me.

We rolled 7 objectives and Dan placed the first token. When finished the Terrain and objectives looked like this.

1 terrain

Deployment

We then rolled for sides, which I won and again in my normal display of tactical acruity picked the side I was already on. As such I had the first drop and Dan deployed his gem of something or other which forced me to lay an additional unit off the bat.

I again followed my rough deployment plan that I had sketched out and had used the night before, not worrying about Dan’s deployment strategy too much. He did pretty much do what I was expecting using a symmetrical deployment but with the Brock riders all on one flank.

Dan then won the roll for turn choice and decided to go first.

As normal I’ll caveat that any mistakes are down to memory or lack of photos/notes.

2 Deployment

2 - Deployment3 - Deployment4 - Deployment

Turn 1 – Dwarves

The dwarves started aggressively, the infantry moving up as far as they could and the Stone Priests each surging an Elemental.

The Rangers, who had vanguarded, shot the slavering Brutox in front of them but caused minimal damage.

3 turn 1 dwarves

7 - Turn 1 Dwarf
Note the black square is the 7th objective, I only had 6 markers!
8 - Turn 1 Dwarf

Turn 1 – Herd

The herd responded cautiously, edging forward, ensuring they remained out of charge ranges on all fronts

The Chieftain opened fire on the nearest Brock Riders causing as much damage as the rangers had the previous turn (almost bugger all).

4 turn 1 herd

9 - Turn 1 Herd10 - Turn 1 Herd11 - Turn 1 Herd

Turn 2 – Dwarves

The dwarf advance stalled on all fronts with most of the infantry following the lead of the herd and also creeping forward. The exception was the Brock Riders who continued to move up to threaten the herd left flank.

The rangers again shot the Brutox who roared in frustration at the puny midgets in front of him.

5 turn 2 dwarves

12 - Turn 2 Dwarf13 - Turn 2 Dwarf14 - Turn 2 Dwarf

Turn 2 – Herd

The Chieftain again shot at the same Brock Riders but failed to do anything of note. The Beast pack on that flank moved up to do what it is good at and blocked the two units of Brocks and their lord.

On the far flank the Brutox piled into the rangers, healing as it did so, horns and blades tearing bodies apart and wavering the unit with the force of the charge.

The central units also chose this moment to strike, with the Stampede smashing the nearest Elemental into dust. The Guardian Brutes on the other side of the wood, hit the other stone monster so hard that cracks appeared all over it but unlike its twin, it managed to retain its form.

The final beast pack moved up to block the path of one of the Shieldbreaker hordes so they couldn’t counter the Stampede.

6 turn 2 herd

15 - Turn 2 Herd16 - Turn 2 Herd17 - Turn 2 Herd18 - Turn 2 Herd

Turn 3 – Dwarves

In a wave of charges the dwarf forces engaged the herd. One unit of Brock riders and their lord tore apart the interfering dogs and eagerly eyed up their next target. The other unit of brocks noticed the flank of the stampede was just within their sight and made them pay for that opening. The Flame Belcher near them supported the attack by trying to burn away the Brutox with limited success.

Unable to get to the Spirit Walkers, the horde of Shieldbreakers charged the blocking unit of dogs. The remaining Elemental eager to get away from the Brutes, turned and also charged their flank. Suffice to say the dogs were ground to paste in short order! The remaining unit of Shieldbreakers, their path clear, hit the Brutes but bounced off after a lackluster round of hindered attacks.

On the other flank, the second flame belcher softened up the Longhorns and the Rangers, shaking off the effects of the previous combat, counter-charged the Brutox and continued to chip away at it.

7 turn 3 dwarves

19 - Turn 3 Dwarf20 - Turn 3 Dwarf

Turn 3 – Herd

With the left flank hanging in the balance, the Chieftain and Brutox, in a gamble, both charged the damaged regiment of Brock Riders, knowing the result of the ensuing melee would decide that flank. They failed to remove the unit and were now in a bad position and prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause.

The Tribal Spirit Walkers finally able to contribute and buffed with a bane chant, smashed into the flank of the elemental which was removed in short order (edit: with 70 attacks incoming we just double 1’ed it). The Guardian Brutes and Longhorns both charged the horde of dwarves in front of them but despite inflicting massive damage the horde remained.

On the far flank, the Brutox continued to regenerate damage and finished off the rangers, over-running to clear the building.

8 turn 3 herd

22 - Turn 3 Herd23 - Turn 3 Herd24 - Turn 3 Herd

Turn 4 – Dwarves

A charge to the flank of the Brutox, from Brock Riders, resulted in one large corpse but the Chieftain was a tougher proposition and survived the effort of the other Brock unit to remove it. The left Shieldbreaker horde held back in order to allow the Flame Belcher to soften the Spirit Walker horde before the next combat started. The other Belcher continued to target the Longhorn Regiment.

In the centre, the second horde of Shieldbreakers counter-charged the Brutes and despite being  hindered routed the unit.

9 turn 4 dwarves

25 - Turn 4 Dwarf26 - Turn 4 Dwarf27 - Turn 4 Dwarf

Turn 4 – Herd

The Chieftain again charged the damaged Brocks but displaying the stubbornness that defines their race, the buggers just refused to die.

The remaining Brutox moved up ready to contest the objective nearby.

The fight in the woods continued with the Spirit Walkers inflicting massive damage on the Shieldbreakers but due to the nearby ASB they held their ground. On the other side of the woods, the other unit of Shieldbreakers had left their flank unguarded and the Longhorns, now almost fully healed thanks to Khazbar, took full advantage, shattering their formation.

10 turn 4 herd

Turn 5 – Dwarves

The two units of Brocks crushed the Chieftain and his chariot between them and turned to face some of the unclaimed objectives (edit: we again just double 1’ed this).

The Shieldbreakers charged the Spirit horde and achieved what the herd unit had failed to accomplish and destroyed them in the combat. This result was helped by the Flame Belcher first taking out the nearby Shaman.

11 turn 5 dwarves

Turn 5 – Herd

With very little remaining to the herd at this point, it’s options were limited. The Longhorns moved up to contest the central objective, Khazbar again healing the unit. The Brutox charged the Flame Belcher and although inflicting a massive 17 wounds, failed to shift it! (edit: we just rolled the break test, but due to an actual double 1 result, for fun, we then rolled to see what the damage would have been ).

12 turn 5 herd

28 - Turn 5 Herd29 - Turn 5 Herd

Turn 6 – Dwarves

The Dwarves realised that the game was still in the balance and the brock riders moved off to secure objectives.

The Shieldbreakers made a hindered charge against the Longhorns but failed to shift them. Likewise the flame belcher could only wound Khazbar.

13 turn 6 dwarves

Turn 6 – Herd

The Brutox again charged the nearest flame belcher and this time the dice were more favourable and removed it from the table, claiming the nearby objective.

The Longhorns, glee in their eyes, wiped the last of the shieldbreakers from the woods, the blood of their corpses would help feed the trees and keep them healthy for some time. This had the added bonus of allowing them to claim the central objective.

14 turn 6 herd

Turn 7 – Dwarves

In a hopeful move the Brock lord charged the Brutox but his feeble attacks failed to shift it from the objective.

The remaining flame beltcher fired everything at the longhorns in the woods, its cleansing fire burning away large swathes of the wood and the beastmen with it! (Edit: this was about the first time Dan rolled more than 4 wounds with a flame belcher all game!)

15 turn 7 dwarves

Turn 7 – Herd

In the final acts of the game, the Brutox healed most of the damage on it but this effort distracted it and it failed to do more than a scratch to the Brock Lord.

16 turn 7 herd

Result

A win for Dan with 2 objectives to my 1. (Edit: I’m sure his flame belcher was not in range of the middle counter but either way he had won).

In terms of remaining points for the tie-breaker claculation, Dan had 985 pts and I had 350pts remaining.

Conclusion

So close to a draw! Damn the fickle turn 7 dice gods.

Again it struck me how fast the game is. Dan’s train was delayed and he only got to the club around 8, but we still finished the game by 10.30. True neither of us spent ages over our turns but playing 8th we would have likely started at 7 and be just about wrapping up for 11 (depending on how close the game was of course).

Dan and I were also chatting about chess clocks during the match (comp or not it’s always a very social game between us) and we are both intrigued about them. I can see us giving it a go in a future game.

So what went well?

Again I was reasonably happy with my deployment strategy. There was a good chance he was always going to be able to react to my drops so having the plan in advance (and just about correctly guessing his) really removed the bad decisions I often make if I do the reacting. Again it wasn’t perfect but it’s allowing me to make small tweaks to the drops and learning to work these into ‘the plan’

Managing to fight most of the central battle in the woods really worked in my favour as his big blocks were hindered in their initial charges. I know Dan shook his head over that and won’t make the same mistake again.

‘The bad’

For the second game in a row I really felt the lack of pathfinder on the guardian brutes. In this game this came down to where I deployed them. Putting them opposite the wood was just stupid, at the very least I should have swopped them with the longhorns.

My positioning of the Stampede after combat (for the second game in a row), was awful and allowed it to be flank charged and removed in one round of combat. Part of this was down to forgetting about the difference between whfb wheeling and pivoting as the beast pack would have blocked the wheel. The other part is looking around after combat and deciding what I need to do. In this case even moving slightly forward would have meant they couldn’t be charged.

On turn 3 before I dual charged the brocks with the Chieftain/Brutox, I instead nearly nipped the chief through a gap into Dans back field, figuring he could then hunt down characters/warmachines. What held me back was, if I had done this, then the Brutox would have definitely died that turn and the Brocks would have had free reign. By charging the Brutox and Chieftain there was a chance that I could have killed the brocks which would have allowed the same scenario and if I didn’t then the brocks would have to kill both of them to get back in the game. I’m still not sure if it was the right decision, it probably was but the doubt remains especially as I could have gone after his ASB and or the flame belcher. Got to love second guessing yourself!
Overall, another very fun game. There were far less rule queries in this one and that was likely due clearing them up in the previous nights game.

Thoughts on my list so far.

Just in general, I’ve been pretty happy with the items selected. CS1 on the spirit walkers has been really helpful in most games and made a big difference. Elite on the brutes has worked really well, though as per a suggestion on the Herd FB group, I would be tempted to put that on the stampede as not only do they have more attacks but it’s also the cheaper of the items and I keep screwing up and allowing the Stampede to die to flanks…
 

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