WHFB – Dwarves vs Orcs – part 2

I finally managed to get in my previously postponed game against Alistair’s Orcs this week. Although he is one of my opponents in the club Warhammer fantasy competition, he has barely played since 6th edition so he was trying to get in a few practice games. As such I agreed to give him a game with my dwarves, which gave me an excuse to use some of the items I either rarely or just plain hadn’t used before.

Terrain

We rolled map pack 5 from the terrain table, which consisted of 4 buildings, 2 walls/fence sections, 1 hill and 1 wood.

Alistair rolled as player A, so he set down the first bit of terrain and after setup, it looked like this:

1. Terrain

1. Terrain

Scenario and pre-match rolls

The random roll gave us the ‘Eliminate scenario‘. Place 3 bounty tokens on your most expensive units (For Alistair: Big ‘Uns, Orc Boyz and Boar Boyz, for me: Slayers, Longbeards and Ironbreakers). Points are awarded for the following at the end of the game.

  • 1 victory point for holding the central objective marker.
  • 1 victory point for each of your units that carry a bounty that have not been destroyed and are not fleeing.
  • 2 victory points for each bounty you have completed (e.g. each enemy unit with a bounty you have destroyed or who are fleeing at the end of the game).

For spells, his level 2 with power scroll received: Foot of Gork and Ere we go. His level 2 with the Icon rolled: Hand of Gork and Gaze of Mork.

Deployment

As terrain was pretty even, we just stayed on the respective sides we were already on.

The scenario followed the dawn attack deployment rules (roll each time you go to place a unit: On a 1 it goes on the left flank, 2 it goes on the right, 3-5 in the centre and 6 your choice). Alistair won the roll and had to deploy everything first. The dice gods weren’t too kind and his Trolls and one shaman ended up isolated on his left flank, his wolf riders, boar boyz and boyz mob on the right flank and everything else in the centre. All of my units went in the centre, bar the Ironbreakers, that went on the left flank. After deployment, it looked like this:

2. Deployment

Orcs Turn 1

With much yelling, the unruly mass of orcs and trolls tramped forward towards the dwarf lines. The boar boyz failed to do anything as a bout of bickering broke out as Gubbins accused Wazzoo of eating his lucky snotling.

With a squeal, the first of the doom divers was flung into the air and with a frantic flapping of his wings, landed smack, bang on the flame cannon, severely damaging the machine and killing himself and 2 of the crew. In a dazzling (for orcs) display of accuracy, the mass of orc archers opposite, then also targeted it and the final crew member fell.

3. Orc turn 1

Dwarves Turn 1

Drugin looked over the fallen engineer crew. More of his brethren had fallen to the Orc scum, however it was not yet time for revenge. That would come later and his axe would take payment from their flesh. With his lines holding steady, the flyers moved forward.

The Valkyrie flew over the trolls and as it did, the pilot threw a bomb into their midst. Their regenerative powers were not enough to heal the couple of wounds caused by the  shrapnel. The bomber also dropped it’s payload but targeted the large unit of orc boyz. After the explosions and smoke had cleared, a rank of the greenskins had disappeared.

The brotherhood of doom chose to ignore the order to hold and ran forward towards the biggest monster on the battlefield.

The guild experimental weapon teams both fired at the rapidly approaching unit of Big ‘Uns felling two. Drugin turned a stern gaze on the apprentice engineers and they immediately set to tinkering with the hand guns determined to make a better showing in their next volley.

Buggerit the old struck the anvil twice in quick succession. The armour on the Longbeards responded to the first call of the anvil, the metal becoming as hard as Gromril. The second striking was dispelled as one of the enemy shaman gibbered something incomprehensible to it’s foul gods.

4. Dwarf turn 1

Orcs Turn 2

With a spitful hiss, as the warboss lashed at it’s hide, the Wyvern flew into the slayers. Despite the wall giving them cover, two ranks of the slayers fell to the monster. In return the Wyvern was felled and the Orc General suddenly found himself very alone facing a mob of doomseekers baying for his head.

The Black Orc ordered the mob of elite orcs to charge into the Longbeards in support of his boss. When a number of them dared to question his leadership he responded by smashing 4 of them to the ground and the rest quickly moved into combat with the the dwarf unit. The Black Orc issued a challenge and Drugin growled as one of the blows stuck, pierced his armour. He activated the fiery ring and promptly incinerated his foe. His stalwart bodyguards, cut down the rest of the front rank and then watched as the remaining orcs (and embedded Shaman) turned tail and fled, exiting combat with a great more enthusiasm than they had show entering it!

The Orc Boyz attempted to charge the Ironbreakers but misjudged the distance and stumbled up short.

At this point, the boar mounted Orcs had resolved their differences but their mounts decided to be rather uncooperative and they just about managed to convince them that they would be best off facing towards the centre of the battlefield.

The Shaman babysitting the trolls realised he was rather exposed with a Gyrocoptor eyeing him up eagerly and legged it into the nearby house.

The doomdiver again launched himself into the air, hitting the Ironbreakers and making short work of their armour, killing five of the doughty warriors.

5. Orc Turn 2

Dwarves Turn 2

The Gyrobomber continued with its run, this time targeting the orc archers. The payload scattered, missing the arrer boyz (with accompanying jeering, extended fingers and jibes about the pilots dalliances with goats!) and onto Doomdiver. The Goblins threw themselves to the ground and cowered under the machine as the ground shook around them, miraculously reappearing unharmed.

Buggarit shook his head at the follies of youth and again struck his anvil boosting the armour on the stolid, reliable longbeards.

The Guild Experimental weapons teams again combined their power, this time targeting the Orc boyz mob but again the impact of the guns was negligible. Drugin was starting to seriously wonder why he had been saddled with such useless cretins.

Ethelred the Scorned launched himself out of the slayers howling and gibbering, drool hanging down each side of his mouth. With raw naked aggression he broke through the Orc generals defences opening up great gashes. This combined with the fact he was now outnumbered 10-1, was too much for the Orc and he turned tail and fled, at least for the first few feet before the rest of the slayers caught up with him.

6. Dwarf turn 2

8. Dwarf turn 29. Dwarf turn 210. Dwarf turn 2

Orcs Turn 3

Seeing their Boss put down like an arthritic dog was too much for the Big Un’s and even with the BSB nearby they kept running.

The Orc Boyz again tried to charge the Ironbreakers and again failed their charge.

The Wulf boyz has been advancing up the flank and were now in range to unleash their bows at the Ironbreakers. 10 shots and no wounds later and one of the dwarves turned to look at them with disdain, crushing the poorly made arrow that had entangled in his mail.

The Boarboyz finally got over all their difficulties and with much growling and snorting headed towards the centre of their lines to support the arrer boyz.

Without any guidance the poor trolls just looked lost and confused and decided to try out a combination of alternative Olympic sports including, pick the biggest booger and the crowd favourite, who can stare at the ground the longest.

The arrer boyz continued their competition with the dwarf hand gunners for the title of most inept missile unit and almost equalled the dwarves previous tally, by felling 2 Longbeards.

The remaining Shaman summed up the Orc turn by failing to cast Foot of Gork on the slayers.

7. Orc Turn 3

Dwarves Turn 3

The Gyrobomber started the turn by charging the Big Un’s and they fled off the table, thus netting the first bounty of the game.

Buggerits’s Anvil armour buff was dispelled by the remaining Shaman but the Orc was unable to stop the Rune of Wrath targeting the Orc Boyz and a couple fell dead with smoking holes in their chests.

The dwarf Thunderers leapt ahead or the orc arrer boyz (and slightly up in Drugins estimations) by final pulling their finger out of their backside and further whittling down another 7 Orc boyz.

The Gyrocoptor finished the turn by roasting 4 of the enemy archers.

8. Dwarf turn 3

Orcs Turn 4

Determined to make it three out of three, the Orc Boyz again failed to charge the nearby Ironbreakers (this was helped by the dwarves making a strategic retreat the previous turn).

The Shaman again tried to compel Gork to stamp on the slayers but this was summarily dismissed as Buggerit unleashed the runes on his staff.

In a dazzling display of shooting by the Orcs and Goblins (sealing the award for most inept missile troops of the game), the arrer boyz, concerned the Gyrocoptor would target them again, swift reformed and let rip completely failing to damage it. The Doomdiver likewise was launched into the air, swerved off target and only managed to kill himself. It was left to the wulfboyz to try and do anything and the plucky riders managed to fell a single Ironbreaker. Outstanding boys!

9. Orc Turn 4

Dwarves Turn 4

Sensing the decisive point of the battle was upon them the dwarfs attacked along the lines. Drugin and his Longbeard bodyguard, chose to ignore the objective sitting just in front of them, in favour of getting to grips with their ancestral foes. After carving apart a number of the orcs the rest turned tail and tried to flee but were caught and cut down with grim efficiency.

After watching the repeated pitiful efforts of the Orc mob in front of them, the Ironbreakers decided to show them how a proper charge was done and smashed into  them, scything down 6 of them for the loss of two of their number. The Orcs held due to their superior numbers but it wasn’t a situation that would continue.

The Dwarf flyers and missile units all targeted the boar riders that were now in the centre of the lines.

The Bomber’s payload scattered into the arrer boyz killing two of their number. (Edit: we weren’t sure about some of this. Although you can’t target a unit in combat, this had scattered into it. We also weren’t sure if this should be randomised between the archers and Longbeards but as the template was only touching the Orcs we just rolled for the couple it touched).

The Gyrocoptor, proving how infinitely better it was than it’s bigger brother, moved to both block and redirect the boar boyz from the central objective and then fried two of them for good measure.

The Thunderers then piled further misery onto the unit killing a further 2 of them.

10. Dwarf turn 4

Results

It ended 5-2 to me as I had three of my tokens remaining (+3pts) and his Big Un’s had fled the table (+2pts) vs Alistair having two tokens left (+2pts). No one had claimed the central token.

I include the result only to keep consistency with the rest of my reports. The point of the game was to give Alistair more practice of 8th edition and for me to field things I wouldn’t normally.

Conclusions

As I stated earlier, Alistair was put on the back foot by his deployment (early animosity didn’t help either). As ever hindsight is an easy thing but I think he made two or three early errors:

Not moving his trolls towards the centre of his lines at the first opportunity meant they did nothing all game.

This might not have been too much of an issue if it weren’t for the second mistake, charging the general and wyvern into the slayers. Apart from that being the worst possible target for the general (or more specifically, his mount), he was not backed up by anything which allowed the slayers to rip apart his mount and subsequently route him via combat resolution. I’m not sure if in 6th mounted characters were more powerful or if he thought the general would last longer, allowing the trolls to flank the unit. The slayer/general combat did bring up an interesting discussion around whether he should challenge the Daemon slayer and the pros and cons of doing so. I didn’t think there was much advantage in doing so as due to the ASF rune the Slayer lord would have gone first and the wyvern would likely have been killed in that combat anyway. However I now think it might have been the wrong advice as in the end he didn’t challenge and the slayer lord went for the general (failing to wound), whilst the slayer unit killed the mount. Challenging would have realistically have limited the potential damage to either the general OR mount, though its worth noting, the mount, general and thunder stomp killed 9 of the unit even with the -1 to hit caused by charging the defender obstacle, which in turn negated any bonus from the standard and ranks. See what I mean, a bit of a conundrum.

The other potential error was the indecision with the wolf riders on the first turn which allowed me to sneak the bomber into his lines.

Now most of this was probably down to lack of familiarisation with 8th and knowing your enemy, so although I may not be the best general in the world, I’m going to adapt and send him some thoughts on each of the armies he’ll face (including mine), as it might assist him.

So in terms of the dwarf units, what did I think?

Thunderers – I really felt the loss of the extra range as hitting on 5+ vs 4+ for longer makes a load of difference. However the save modifier meant in most cases he didn’t get any and that almost made up for it. Having pistols on the veterans meant they didn’t get to shoot for most of the game, however I still think it was the right choice as many of my opponents would have targeted these small units at an early stage. Overall I think I prefer the extra range, though I may try one of each going forward.

Runelord and Anvil

Yep, pretty rubbish. He can’t join a unit so the AP is wasted. There are only two decent spells and they are bound so it’s easy to both know which one to dispel and to dispel them full stop. For the points you could get another full unit or 2 Runesmiths + extras. He is fun and fluffy but I wouldn’t necessarily bother taking him again. If he could go in a unit in the same way as the cauldron of blood, it might temp me more.

Daemon Slayer

I’m a bit undecided on him. Running him in the unit seemed a sensible choice and I love slayers anyway and will take them a reasonable amount of time so that wasn’t a tax. The rune combo worked quite well with ASF proving it’s worth and the -3 to save also being excellent. It might also have helped if I’d remembered some of his inbuilt special rules, particularly the ward save reroll. I’ll definitely give him another outing.

Flame Cannon

It’s a bit difficult to make an judgement when it dies in the first turn without doing anything! It did drive home that one war machine is just vulnerable and if you take one you need a second.

Ironbreakers / Longbeards (w/ shields)

Both units worked well. However the ironbreakers needed more bodies. I’d say 25 at a minimum (this is probably a good benchmark number for all shield bearing dwarves as allows for some casualties without loss of effectiveness). Unlike some other games, I didn’t feel the lack of strength from not taking great weapons.

Gyrobomber

About the only thing it has over it’s smaller sibling is the greater movement flexibility. Being able to drop bombs when marching means it’s really hard to tie down and that is almost worth the extra 45pts. However it still feels like it needs an extra wound and the scatter on the bomb makes it just a bit too inefficient in an army of pinpoint accurate war machines. I think I’d rather have 2-3 Gyrocoptors instead if only as the template is more consistent.

Thane General

I like dwarf heroes and using the great weapon thane as a cheaper version of the tanky Lord, in the Longbeards, helped offset their lower strength. The build worked well with the 1+ armour, however next time he will get a rune of Iron to give him an extra wound as two wounds is a bit too fragile. (Almost dying in the challenge to the Black Orc before getting to strike, drove that home and very much was the reason I used his breath weapon).

Overall it was a fun game, definitely chillhammer (to coin a phrase).

My next game is on 8 December and is my second competition game vs Martin and his dwarves.

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