It’s funny how things work out. You finally manage to get a game against someone you’ve never played before (in this case Luke C) and then in the space of a month (or so) you get to play an almost carbon copy game. The difference, this one was my first game in our club competition.
Having played Luke so recently, we both had a good idea of each other’s lists and it is fair to say that of my three opponents, he was the one I was most worried about. Not just because he is a good player and knows the elements of his list inside and out, having played Dark Elves a lot but because of the mobility and potential number of his scoring units.
His list is recapped here.
The Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent is here.
Khazbar stood still, snout betraying no emotion as Bashor vented his anger at another loss on the nearest of his lieutenants. As he watched the last vestiges of life throttled out of the Wargor, he knew Bashor was probably imagining his face but the ever present shadow cast by the Doombull prevented that ire being turned on him. The gift of flight and further links forged through his magic had guaranteed that Cattleclysm acted as his personal bodyguard and even Bashor wasn’t far enough gone to challenge that hulking brute. Inside Khazbar was practically dancing with glee as the Beastlord’s hold over the herd started to slip. A few more losses were all it would take. Soon, he thought, soon they will come back to the fold.
To make a change we rolled map pack 3 which consisted of 2 woods (of which the central one ended up normal and the one closest to the edge, a venom thicket), 2 marshes (the one in between the woods turned out to be quicksand) and 2 normal hills.
Luke rolled as player A and after setup, it looked like this:
Scenario and pre-match rolls
We ended up with ‘Secure’. Gain 1 VP for each piece of terrain held at the end of the game (2VP’s if in your opponents half). This was the worst possible scenario I could have rolled against Luke. He had 6 separate scoring units vs my 2 and he was far more mobile, so I knew I had to be super aggressive.
For spells, Khazbar (Beasts) conjured up: Wyssans, Curse, Transformation and Pann’s Pelt.
Wazzock (Shadow) got: Miasma.
The (Life) Sorceress bought: Throne, Regrowth, Flesh to Stone and Dwellers.
Luke won the roll for sides (and following my normal philosophy) opted to stick on the side he was sitting.
The scenario followed Battle line deployment rules (alternate unit placement) and after deployment and vanguards, it looked like this:
Turn 1 – Beasts
As I knew I had to, I started the game aggressively with one chariot attempting (and failing) to charge the Dark Rider unit directly in front of it (who elected to stand and shoot to no avail). (I will say Luke was a gent and allowed me to retract a charge from the other chariot when I misread a rule. In the scheme of things it probably made no difference but I like to mention and acknowledge such things).
Choosing not to contain his natural rage, the Doombull flew into the second group of Dark Riders. In a surprising turn of events for both parties (or not, considering the pathetic show of rolling and forgetting of rules – in this case impact hits), only 3 riders were hurt during the making of this combat and easily held their ground. (Luke again offered me the chance of retracting the charge as the cold ones were poised to charge the Bull in the next turn. I was happy with this as he has a 2++ ward vs their fire attacks. Again Luke ever the gent, pointed out that his Dark Lord didn’t have flaming attacks due to magic weapons trumping that rule. However, apart from the fact that I’m a believer of learning from your errors, I also wanted his riders gone so they were unable to claim objectives and my Bull still had a very good chance of killing his Lord with his (now) 8 attacks).
In the final charge, the central Razorgor was unleashed at the riders in front of him and in an unexpected bonus, tore them apart when the cowards elected to flee.
The rest of my forces just moved forward, the Gor unit losing a few models to the marsh (which also wounded the BSB).
Magic was all about movement (or preventing it) with Curse cast on the Peg Master and Miasma on the Witches.
I was actually very pleased with the result of this turn. 2 Dark Rider units had been taken out of the scoring equation, meaning he now only had a 4 to 2 advantage. He either didn’t realise my intent, perhaps thinking after last game I wanted the riders dead at all costs or just didn’t care.
Turn 1 – Dark Elves
To no ones surprise, the Cold One Knights charged into the Doombull. The Lord managed to score two wounds on the bull and in a phenomenal display of rolling, Cattleclysm missed with 7 of his 8 attacks. Despite the Sorceress moving over and casting an unboosted Flesh to Stone on the unit (I dispelled Throne), the 1 attack did wound the Lord but he still lost combat and was duly run down. Bugger. That was not how that was meant to go. Luke obviously was not reading from the same script which frankly was just downright inconsiderate of him. To make matters worse, his Knights over-ran into my badly positioned raiders unit.
The Dark Riders on the other flank thought they would return the favour and charged the chariot that had failed to charge them. They were somewhat more successful inflicting 2 wounds on the chariot. In return the chariot, completely forgetting they had primal fury (as they did for all the entire game), failed to removed a single model. Still at least they were now locked in combat.
The Executioners partly moved into the wood to dispute it (and avoid their rank bonus being negated) but the Peg and Witches didn’t move due to the aforementioned magic effects on them.
Turn 2 – Beasts
Determined to remove the Dark Riders engaged with the wounded chariot, the other chariot charged in to assist and promptly sank in the quicksand. (Annoyingly we both knew and stated it was going to happen. After the Doombull combat we both sensed it was one of those games where you could see a trend in dice rolls… On a positive note, the chariot already in combat managed to kill a rider taking them beneath scoring strength. So that was something).
The Knights steamrollered the Ungor (taking revenge for the last game where the plucky fellows had unhorsed one with a lucky bow shot and then held them up for the rest of the game) and with that flank now secured, turned to face the centre.
With a big intake of breath from me, the Harpies charged over the swamp and into the lone Sorceress. I had expected the Harpies to fail, due to the distance involved, land in the marsh and have a number die due to the terrain (yep already I had a positive mental outlook). Shockingly the bird women made the charge and instead failed to do anything apart from lose one of their number, as the horse bludgeoned her to death with its hooves. With the Cold Ones now looking at their rear, the life expectancy of the Harpies was starting to look a little short!
Meanwhile the Gor unit moved out of the marsh and into the woods the Executioners were holding, in order to dispute it, of course losing a bucket load more of their number in the process.
The Bestigor also moved into the woods in front of them to capture that.
The central Razorgor moved to block the Witches whilst the other moved up to threaten the executioners flank.
Magic was quite uneventful with Wyssans cast on the chariot and Curse on the Witches.
Turn 2 – Dark Elves
The Knights charged the Harpies and after trampling their remains into the ground, reformed with the marsh guarding their flank.
The Peg Master charged the remaining unit of Ungors and not to be outdone by the Knights, made short work of them and turned to face the Gor’s flank.
The Executioners changed facing slightly so they no longer presented their flank to the Razorgor, the woods taking a few of them in compensation for their trespass.
The chariot/rider combat continued with another Dark Rider dying.
The notes got a bit sketchy here but I know I failed to dispel Throne and scrolled Flesh to Stone (but not sure on who or why, though possibly the Knights in preparation for my next turn).
Turn 3 – Beasts
The Bestigor let out a bellow but instead of making an easy charge on the Cold One Knights, stumbled forward, an entire rank of the horde succumbing to the lethal plethora of roots and branches. Children of the woods indeed. I had a feeling I was going to pay for that.
The Gor also tried their luck and like the Bestigor, fluffed an average charge, though their target was the Executioners. They were a little more sure footed than their heavy armoured kin and only a handful were killed by ‘tree to face’. If the Razorgor, that successfully made the its charge, had been capable of thought it would have been worried about the distinct lack of support from the Gor. As it was, any thought was quickly extinguished by the multitude of Draichs that butchered the poor little piggie.
In the magic phase, Throne was dispelled but nothing else was successfully cast.
To fully twist in the knife, in a turn of failures, the Dark riders managed to finish off the remaining chariot, leaving them free to do what they do best; interfere and get in the way.
Turn 3 – Dark Elves
The Cold Ones Knights charged the Razorgor that had been holding up the witches and made short work of it. They then reformed to face the Bestigor on the edge of the woods, the spy in the unit surreptitiously removing the message that had been concealed on the body of the animal.
The Master on Pegasus charged into the flank of the Gor cutting down 4 of their number for the loss of 1 wound. The Gor not only survived the attack but reformed to bring their overwhelming numbers to bear. The master looked round for support but found none in his immediate vicinity.
The remaining dark riders from the 2 units, moved up to block the Bestigor to prevent them from both: repeating their attempted charge on the Knights and moving out of the woods in order to regain steadfast.
In a stroke of luck (at least for me), the Sorceress failed to cast Throne of Vines ending the magic phase.
Turn 4 – Beastmen
Khazbar continued his magical molestion of the witches and again cast Curse on them to discourage any movement.
In a combat that could only go one way, the Gor horde decimated the Dark Master and the Pegasus he had been mounted on.
In a ridiculously stupid move (not sure what I was thinking), the Bestigor finished off one the single Dark Rider in front of them and then over-ran into the final remaining unit of Dark Riders. (If I had been thinking clearly I would have instead moved Khazbar out of the unit and used him as chaff to block the witches. This would have meant only the Knights and Dark riders would have been able to charge the Bestigor, a combat that might have gone either way).
Turn 4 – Dark Elves
The Sorceress cast Dwellers onto the Gor unit and although a number were dragged under the ground, they held their nerve ensuring the woods were disputed between them and the Executioners.
The Witch Elves and Knights then joined the Dark riders in charging the Bestigor. The Witch Elves alone wiped out the unit before they could strike back and ran down the two lords (giving Luke his secondary mission of ‘cut off the head’). The witches overrun moved them into the woods, capturing the terrain and thus winning the game.
It ended 2-0 to Luke as he had captured the wood in my half.
In terms of competition points in was:
Luke: Win (15) + Mission (6) = 21 points
Me: Loss (5) + Mission (6) + Painted army (2) = 13 points
That was a game that started well and then rapidly fell apart. Although I couldn’t say I was ever close to victory, a draw had definitely been achievable if I’d put a bit more thought into moves.
Luke said he had not been expecting all my charges in the first moves of the game. I think it actually threw him slightly as he’s not used to other players wantonly attacking Dark Elves on the first turn, they normally avoid them. As I said to him, every time I’ve held back with Beastmen it’s put me on the back foot. And it’s far more fun to play them to their fluff, the raw unbridled savage hordes!
I hate to blame dice (though I will add them as a contributing factor) and I probably didn’t help stack odds in my favour but I did roll appallingly this game. The first turn Doombull combat and failed Chariot charge started the trend, though they weren’t critical moments. However the turn 3 failed charges by the Gor and especially by the Bestigor were all potential game defining moments where the poor rolls cost me. It was not by any means a foregone conclusion on either combat but I would have placed money on the Bestigors coming out on top.
I did blunder with the Gor unit. I would have been better off holding the marsh and staying within 3″ of the wood to dispute it as at least it would have netted me a point, prevented the number of casualties from terrain and meant the executioners would have had to do something bar sit there all game. I just have a weakness for combat.
The number of troops lost due to dangerous terrain was ridiculous but putting myself in situations where i had to make these rolls, so they could go against me, was entirely of my own making. I will have to be a bit more ‘caring’ if the lives of my troops going forward (pfftt who am I kidding, they are fodder to be used to further my own plans for world domination moo ha ha ha ha).
I can take nothing away from Luke’s victory, he played the better game and was again great fun to play against. As things stood, if we had played past turn 4, he likely would have tabled me before the end of the game.