On Friday I faced off against the second opponent in my group, Martin and his Longbeard heavy Dwarves.
It was another game I was looking forward to immensely, as I’ve played Dwarves a lot in this edition but I’ve not played against them in some years and with his three stubborn blocks of Longbeards, cannon and Organ Gun, I was about to have a taste of my own medicine! On top of that, I’d never played Martin, so it was a double bonus!
As normal, any mistakes are down to memory and notes.
Khazbar was secretly pleased. Bashor’s decision to relocate the herd to new grounds was not going down well. There had been constant grumbling and he had already been forced to put down 3 challenges to his leadership. That they had failed was slightly vexing, still there were plenty more fools who could be goaded into stepping up. The important thing was to ensure that if they failed, they didn’t live to cast aspersions on him.
The one doubt that had been gnawing at him was the route of their migration. It followed a pass that was dangerously close to the holds of the stunted ones. He looked around and tried to console himself with the size of the herd. Surely they wouldn’t try anything against the might arrayed before him. Would they?…
For the second game in a row, map pack 5 was randomly selected from the terrain table, which consisted of 4 buildings, 2 walls/fence sections, 1 hill and 1 wood.
I was player A, so set down the first bit of terrain and after setup, it looked like this:
Scenario and pre-match rolls
Martin rolled the Invade scenario which I wasn’t disappointed with, as I’d not only never played this but I thought my movement should give me an advantage, as the scenario required a player to have to move fortitude bearing units in the opponents half at the end of the game. This competition scenario played as per the battle of the pass scenario from the rule book so was played length wise.
In terms of spells, Khazbar had the following for the Lore of Beasts:
Pann’s impenetrable pelt, Savage beast of horros, The amber spear and Wyssan’s Wildform.
Wazzock took Melkoth’s Miasma from the Lore of Shadow.
In terms of secret missions, I took raid the baggage and Martin took take a message.
I won the toss to decide on ends and as it was pretty even, chose the side that all the models were on (purely for ease). As normal the chaff was laid first, with the Ungor Raiders deployed as a forward screen to give hard cover vs the Organ Gun. One Chariot, the Doombull and Harpies were all deployed behind buildings to give them cover from the Cannon and other ranged units in the dwarf army.
Martin deployed his units in a double rank, horde formation, forming a wall of stubbornness blocking the open terrain on his right flank. The warmachines were interspersed between the blocks and his Gyro’s were placed to make use of the cover of the buildings.
Despite Martin finishing deploying his units first, I sneaked the first turn.
(Note: Martin forgot his movement trays, hence the McGivered envelopes used instead).
Beastmen Turn 1
With an almighty roar, Cattleclysm flew forward into the shadow of a house near the dwarf lines. The rest of the herd responded in kind and stampeded straight towards the mass of stunties.
The two units of raiders tried some speculative shooting towards the war machines but failed to do anything. Magic was similarly ineffective with the 2 Runesmiths smothering the winds of magic before they could coalesce into a form Khazbar could use.
Dwarf Turn 1
The front ranks of the dwarf lines consolidated their positions, with the right most unit advancing slightly. The Longbeards in reserve executed a reform into a column and moved in lockstep towards the buildings. The quarrellers spotted the nearby Doombull and hurried into the nearby building. The two Gyrocoptors flew up in support throwing their bombs on the frothing bull beneath them. The lack of air at altitude had obvious affected the judgement of the dwarf daredevils, as despite multiple explosions, the Minotaur remained unharmed.
The Organ Gun opened up on the Beastmen runts who had dared to target it and obliterated 3 of the twisted ones. Under the stern gaze of Bashor, they held their nerve.
The cannon the targeted one of the Razorgor and the crew could only stare as the shot ricocheted off one of the tusks, leaving it unharmed.
Beastmen Turn 2
Cattleclysm charged at the cottage, smashing the door from its frame. Despite tearing the first three quarrellers apart, their sacrifice gave the others enough time to repel the assault.
Khazbar could only growl in frustration as spell after spell was nullified by the runepriests. To top it off his increasing irritation then caused him to lose concentration. Something would have to be done about them!
With a look of feral cunning on his face, Khazbar sent the Razorgor charging into the flanking unit of Longbeards, taking control of it’s primitive mind he directed it to attack the interfering Runesmith. His control did nothing more than handicap it’s natural aggression and it fluffed it’s attacks and was summarily cut down.
Casting fearful glances behind them, as Bashor bellowed at them, the Ungor moved up to block the central Longbeard unit and the Organ Guns field of fire. The pressure was obviously too much for them and all the shots they then fired at the dwarf unit, failed to inflict any damage.
Dwarf Turn 2
After barely breaking a sweat over the Razorgor, the Longbeards decided they needed some more light exercise and so charged into the nearest chariot. This was too much for the crew who legged it after the dwarves carved them up a little. Deciding they still needed a further workout, they followed up and crashed into the immense block of Gor behind.
With a bit of breathing space, after having repelled the Doombull, the crossbow armed dwarves targeted the raiders that were blocking the Orgun Guns field of fire, slaying one of the two remaining short horns but more importantly giving it a clear shot on the Bestigor.
With a shouted command from the dwarf lord, the two warmachine crews swivelled their machines and opened up on Bashor and his bodyguard. Both Gyrocoptors also moved up to support the attack and engulfed the unit in a double helping of boiling water. When the smoke and steam had dissipated, there were fourteen bodies in a dismembered and parboiled state!
Beastmen Turn 3
Cattleclysm again stormed the building. This time the Quarrellers weren’t able to contain the psychotic Doombull and 5 deaths was enough to convince the remaining duo that they ought to report the situation to their liege in the safety of the main lines.
Smelling it’s favourite food, dwarf patties, the remaining Razorgor, charged into the dwarf unit opposite. A few minutes later, it was the dwarves who were feasting on the haunch of the butchered animal. They then made short work of the chariot that had joined it it the assault. As the crew died, they cast last confused glances at the unit of smirking Bestigor that had pulled up short during the charge and left them to their fate.
In a move displaying all the courage that Harpies are renown for, they bravely moved up behind the gyro’s threatening to rear charge them.
Not liking the thought of facing the horde of dwarves and seeing easier prey, one unit of Ungors moved to attack the cannon crew. The plucky raiders managed to kill one of the dwarves whilst only losing one of their number!
The other remaining Ungor came to the realisation that by staying in the open he was dead meat and also charged forward, swerving to avoid the same horde but targeting the Organ gun crew instead, attempting to tie it up in combat. The dwarves hadn’t signed up to the game plan though and the only thing he gained for his trouble was a swift execution.
Khazbar saw yet another one of his spells dispelled, this time by one of the hated smiths invoking the runes on his stave. His temper finally snapped and he forced Savage Beast on himself. Imbued with unnatural power he laid into the Longbeards in front of him, crushing skulls with each swing. Each kill allowed him to absorb their souls and he visibly started to glow with power.
Dwarf Turn 3
Neither Gyro were falling for the old ‘leave myself open for a rear charge’ trick and both moved and targeted the Harpies, with 3 of the bird women falling from the sky. However they had done their task and distracted the Gyrocoptors from attacking the more valuable Bestigor.
The organ gun crew again turned their attention to the Bestigor. After half the barrels failed to fire, they realised that an arm of the freshly killed Ungor had wedged in the firing mechanism and moved to clear the blockage.
The Ungors, getting carried away with their success, flew into a frenzy and managed to kill another of the cannon crew.
Khazbar continued his rampage and in the process drew in more souls. The Gor in his unit, followed his lead and butchered an entire rank of the longbeards.
Beastmen Turn 4
Bashor led the remaining Bestigor into combat with the Longbeards. Khazbar threw wildform on them, boosting both their strength and toughness. The dwarf lord quickly issued a challenge and Bashor, not liking the look of the heavily armoured dwarf, pushed forward the champion to accept. He looked on in shock, as not only did the lord fail to kill him but the champion managed to wound him in return! Distracted and shaking his mane in disbelief, one of the dwarves managed to also wound him. He looked down at the gash in surprise and then took down four of the dwarves in retaliation. In the general melee the dwarves and Bestigor continued to slay one another but the wiley dwarves concentrated most of their attacks on the vulnerable Shaman, swiftly bringing him down.
Seeing Khazbar swollen with power, the Runesmith desperately invoked his runes to dispel Savage Beast but the Great Bray Shaman, aided with his enchanted weapon, still continued to slay dwarves left and right, as did the Gor accompanying him.
The heroic Ungor finally finished off the cannon crew, spiked the weapon to ensure it would serve no more purpose and then looked around, drunk on power, for their next victims.
(Edit – after writing this and looking at the photos, it looks like the dwarves may have charged the Bestigor in turn 4, with the turn 3 Bestigor charge having failed. My notes didn’t say either way but it’s the only thing that makes the photos make sense, especially with the unit positioning and lack of casualties caused in turn 4).
Dwarf Turn 4
With no other targets in range, the organ gun shredded the remaining few harpies.
The dwarf BSB and remaining quarrellers, both charged the Ungors. After slapping the frenzy out of them and cutting down 3, the final member of the group realised they may have gotten a bit too big for their boots and unsurprisingly legged it towards the edge of the battlefield.
The Bestigor/Longbeard combat continued to wage but with a brief lull in combat as the Dwarf Lord finally slew the Gouge-Horn.
With the flanking Longbeard unit rapidly depleting, there was no longer a target rich environment for the Gor, so they turned their attention to the embedded Runesmith. The Smith was made of much greater mettle than his kin any shrugged off everything thrown at him.
Beastmen Turn 5
Cattleclysm, scenting blood in the air, ignored the obvious target in front of him and flew into the rear of the ongoing combat, roaring a challenge as he flew. The already wounded lord decided he didn’t like the odds of that fight and decided he was better off skulking in the ranks of the unit. His ability to hide looked far less likely as the Doombull, Beastlord and Bestigor’s combined attacks made mincemeat of the unit. It was only the power of the ancestral standard that kept them in the fight.
In the other combat, sheer weight of numbers finally won out and the Runesmith and his remaining bodyguard fell beneath the cloven hooves of their adversaries.
Dwarf Turn 5
The two Gyros moved to give the Gor block their full attention and the steam guns went to work removing a number of them.
The, so far, untouched, unit of Longbeards, charged into the rear of the Doombull. His heavy armour and rage ensured he still inflicted more damage than he received.
The battered units of Bestigor and Longbeards kept their fight going and by the end, the combat had drawn.
Me – Win (15) + Fully Painted (2) = 17 points
Martin – Loss (5) = 5 points
That was a very, very close win.
To put that statement into perspective. The comp pack states that a unit must have 5 models (3 monstrous), including a standard, general or bsb, to constitute a scoring unit. After the final fight I had 4 Bestigor left and the Beastlord (so 5 models), which gave me a scoring unit strength of 3 (2 for the general and 1 for the Standard). His Longbeard unit had 3 longbeards left plus the general, so with 4 models, it was one dwarf under the 5 minimum so neither the unit standard or general counted.
If he had managed one more casualty on the Bestigor, or if I had failed to kill one of the dwarf longbeards in his general’s units it would have ended up a draw! As I said, very very close.
There were a number of mistakes made by both of us. My biggest one was splitting attacks from the Gor unit between the Longbeards and the Runesmith for two consecutive combats. Not only did he pull an amazing amount of saves out the bag on the Runesmith and the last few dwarves but there was no need for me to split the attacks. I should have directed all of them into the unit to remove the stubborn banner and then run down the Runesmith. It just shows how frustration can influence decisions as with the amount of dispels he had thrown out in the game, I just wanted to kill the Runesmith.
The Razorgor, again, each only hit with one of their four attacks. Tactics may talk about using them as ‘assassins’ but I haven’t ever had much luck in that roll. I still think the best use of them is to sit in front of enemy units to redirect/annoy.
On a side note, his lord shouldn’t have managed to avoid the Doombull’s challenge as being mounted on an oathstone he has to accept challenges.
In terms of what went well. The Gor herd was excellent. 50 is definitely the right number to pump out a shed load of attacks whilst absorbing casualties.
I also finally managed to get Khazbar into combat with savage beasts on and it was impressive. He generated a shed load of power dice from the jagged dagger and this allowed me to overcome the persistent low winds of magic rolls. With the ‘Brass Cleaver’, magic weapon, this meant he was attacking with 8 (2+3+3) strength 8 (4+1+3) attacks and on average, this generated 3 additional dice per combat round. Not too shabby at all. Going forward, if I went this build again, I would probably forgo the additional attacks from the brass cleaver and go a slightly more defensive build with the fencers blades. This would drop the maximum attacks by two but would almost ensure that he always hit on a 3+ and anyone with a WS of 4 or under will only hit him on a 5+. This would likely make the difference of attacks negligible.
Even playing dwarves, I hadn’t appreciated how much of total pain the stubborn banners can be as it effectively makes any unit with one a tarpit, as I found out! Again the Gyro’s also proved their worth, though I think they could have been more effective in the game.
Overall it was a great, friendly game that went down to the wire. Probably my closest in a long time and i’d definitely play Martin again at a future date.