The quarter-finals of the club competition have taken a while to kick off due to scheduling conflicts. The first was played at the end of March between Neil (Lizardmen) and Antonio (High Elves). These two met in last year’s whfb semi-final (which Antonio won) and the KOW final (which Neil won). In this grudge match, Neil gained the upper hand and qualified for the Semi-final. This meant that the winner between myself and Paul already knew who our next opponent would be. The other two games are scheduled to be played before the end of the month.
I was looking forward to my game as I had played Paul in a pre-competition friendly with us using the same lists and in that game he had just edged victory so I was itching for some payback!
As always any errors are down to memory.
After evading the green skins on the plains the herd had sought refuge within the nearby forest. The twisted growth of the trunks had seemed a good omen. The darkness had ever been their ally and as they made their way deeper into the woods they had a sense of homecoming. The first sense that things were not right were when the Ungor scouts reported coming across a clearing, dotted with marshes, leading to an overgrown ruin. Initial reports had been sketchy, stepped pyramids, strange stone glyphs and inverted triangles crudely carved.
Khazbar frowned in thought. The ruins had the feel of the Lizards about them and if so might have arcane relics he could use but something didn’t feel right. There was something about the carv…He spun round in time to see something ricochet off Cattleclysm’s armour and the mighty bull roar as he shot off into the nearby bushes. A shrill scream started and cut off almost as suddenly and a few seconds later the bushes parted and he reappeared and cast a bloody corpse at Khazbar feet. Mangled as it was, enough remained for him to immediately identify it as a Skaven. It was then he heard the brays of Bashor and saw the Skaven force emerge from the ruins. It appeared they still needed to cleanse their new home of some vermin.
Scenario, Secret Missions, Terrain and pre-match rolls
The terrain was fairly basic with 2 normal hills, 2 woods (the one I started in was a normal wood) and two marshes (1 turned out to be Khemrian quicksand – Monsterous models are removed if they fail dangerous terrain test and the other a Earthblood Mere – 6+ regen).
The Scenario was ‘Invade‘. This was played lengthwise on the table (as per battle of the pass) and the player with the most unit fortitude bearing units (basically units with standards) in the other players side of the table ,at the end of the game wins.
Because of this, (and unbeknownst to each other) we both decided to take the secret mission ‘raid the baggage’. In this you have to have more unit fortitude in an opponents deployment zone then they do at the end of the game. I figured I was trying to get in his half anyway and he would be doing the same for me so, two birds with one stone.
For spells generated:
Khazbar – lvl 4 Great Bray Shaman (Lore of Beasts): Wyssans, Amber Spear, Curse and Savage Beast
Wazzock – lvl 1 Shaman (Lore of Shadow): Miasma
Grey Seer – lvl 4 (Ruin): Wither, Vermintide, (Plague): Pestilent Breath, (Other): Curse of the Horned Rat
Plague Monk – lvl 1(Plague): Bless with Filth
I won the roll to decide table edge and with my normal tactic genius went for the edge where my models were already set up on the window ledge so the least amount of movement was involved. The good thing about playing length ways was you don’t have to worry about shifting table sides.
I laid the first unit and it was then alternating. After deployment, it looked like this:
I finished deploying first and so got +1 to the first turn roll, which meant I went first with us both rolling almighty 1’s.
Turn 1 – Beastmen
With a guttural roar the herd surged forward. The startled harpies squawked and took flight as they hurriedly got out of the way of the horde of Gor. One of the horde immediately fell victim to the Khemrian quicksand, his kin snorted with laughter as his screams turned to whimpers as he was sucked under. Bashor directed the Bestigor to head towards the centre of the battlefield, which ensured the unknown marsh was between his guard and the Hellpit Abomination but more importantly so that he was closer towards Khazbar. He wanted that scheming Shaman right where he could keep an eye on him at all times.
The central unit on Ungor launched a round of speculative arrows towards the giant rats and in a shocking turn of events, killed one!
Khazbar cast Curse onto the Doomwheel but it was scrolled by the Plague Priest. He then aimed a boosted Amber Spear at it but it failed to go off.
Turn 1 – Skaven
The Hellpit stormed forward ensuring it angled to avoid hitting the marsh. On the other flank the Doomwheel also careened forward heading for the chariots opposite it discharging several bolts of warp lightning into the Gor nearby, leaving one as a blackened fried corpse.
An almighty BOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG rang out across the battlefield, as the rat ogre struck the screaming bell. A gout of flame blasted from the ground scorching 2 of the harpies who fell to the ground screaming as they burnt up (edit: neither of us realised at the time that you could only roll one dice on the first ring of the bell, so this result wasn’t possible).
The Seer summoned a vermintide as his first cast of the turn. Not only did it fail miserably to reach the Beastmen lines (maybe due to the tactical retreat the Seer’s unit had done in it’s movement phase) but the resulting miscast killed 6 of his unit and damaged the bell he was mounted on.
This started the trend for the round with the ratling gun supporting the Grey Seer exploding as it’s first action of the game. The Warp Lightning Cannon then failed to hit the Bestigor (but as a bonus, didn’t explode). The warlock then fired his doom rocket at the Bestigor. It overshot clipping the back of the unit killing just 4 of them and wounding the nearby Razorgor.
Turn 2 – Beastmen
Extremely worried about the Doomwheel closing in, the two chariots and Razorgor on the left flank smashed into it. Their combined impact and attacks made short work of it but not before the Razorgor was slain. One chariot over ran whilst the other refrained from doing so.
Even knowing that they had been set up as bait, the Bestigor charged into the giant rats, their strength and toughness boosted by the Wyssans Wildform cast on them by Khazbar. Bashor himself slew 3 of the vermin all the while picturing Khazbar’s face on each of them. His guard mulched the remaining 2 and their handler and then reformed to face the Skaven lines.
The Harpies emulated this move and flew into the other unit of giant rats but killed just one of them before getting swarmed by the rest. The weight of the rats dragged down the bird women and none survived to get away.
The rest of the herd moved up to maintain the battleline. At a command from Khazbar, Cattleclysm left the safety of the trees and moved up to support him.
In my first ever bit of ‘gamey’ play (as far as I remember anyway), the ungor moved round to railroad the Hellpit Abomination to ensure that at least for another turn it would not be crashing into my lines (I still feel dirty for doing so).
Khazbar seeing the mass of frenzied Plague Monks frothing at the mouth, cast Curse of Anraheir on them, figuring they would be unlikely to contain themselves next turn. The Seer recognising the danger, quickly dispelled this.
He then cast a boosted Amber spear at the Warp lightning cannon. With a chant of ‘here comes the ‘1’, sure enough a 1 was rolled to wound, much to the amusement of both players.
Turn 2 – Skaven
The Clanrats who were supporting the hellpit, saw a chance for an easy fight and stormed into the nearby ‘railroading’ Ungor. They butchered 2 of the halfmen and the rest ran straight into the marsh, revealing it as an Earthblood Mere but importantly for Paul, meaning that he knew it was safe for the Hellpit to move through next turn. Bugger.
With scabrous sores and drooling strings of infected spittle, the Plague Monks charged at the Bestigor. The Plague Priest attempted to cast blessed with filth. The resultant poisoned attack would help his unit get around the boosted toughness on the beasts. Despite his long term plan, Khazbar continued to try and alleviate Bashor’s suspicions and dispelled this. In the ensuing combat, 3 bestigor were slain but in return, the elite Beastmen and their lord, cut down 7 of the monks and slapped the frenzy out of them.
The Doomflayer surged forward, looking to run down the other unit of Ungor. They took one look at the whirling death heading toward them and legged it. The Skaven ‘piloting’ it, was able to redirect it into the Doombull just behind them but he barely broke breath crushing the contraption.
The Grey Seer cast a worried look at the horde of Gor closing down on him and desperately cast Wither at them. Not taking any chances, this was scrolled.
The Warp Cannon crew, looking to gain some favour from their lord, also targeted the Gor. They chittered excitedly as their machine actually worked as expected and killed off 8 of the horde.
Turn 3 – Beastmen
Filled with rage at the ease of the previous combat, Cattleclysm looked around for a more challenging target. Spotting the cream of the skaven army directly in front of him he barrelled into them slaying 9 of the elite for the loss of a wound. He barely felt the scratch as he swelled further with power.
Seeing that his loyal bodyguard had secured his flank, Khazbar led the unit of Gor into the enemy warlocks unit directly to his front, backed up by a flank charge from one of the chariots. To bolster the attack, Khazbar cast Wyssans on the unit, miscasting in the process but by rolling an amazing amount of 1’s only killed just a single Gor and clanrat. The unit then went to town on the skaven and for the loss of just three more Gor they obliterated the skaven, leaving just the Grey Seer and the Screaming Bell left (thanks to it being unbreakable).
In the final combat of the turn, Bashor and the Bestigor killed a further 7 plague monks. This was too much for the unit and they turned tail, fled and were cut down. The pursuing Bestigor then ran into the lone warlock engineer who looked less than happy at the prospect of facing they unit on his own.
Turn 3 – Skaven
On the skaven left flank, the hellpit charged the Razorgor and gorged itself on prime piggy.
The supporting clanrats scurried forward in an attempt to contest the scenario. Their ratling gun misfired and unloaded all it’s shots at the Ungor, the hail of lead only slaying a further half-horn as they cowered in the marsh.
The Warp Lightning Cannon shot at the Chariot behind the Beastmen lines but failed to wound it, again to the amusement of us both (as it was a repeat of the Amber Spear situation).
The Rat Ogres charged in to support the beleaguered engineer. Bashor ripped one of them apart before they were able to strike and they were so stunned by the violence that they only managed to kill a single Bestigor before the return blows killed the remainder of them and the engineer.
Even with him up to 9 attacks, the Doombull fluffed most of them and even with the further attacks from his armour, he only killed 4 Stormvermin. Steadfastness ensured they didn’t run.
In the final combat, the Grey Seer frantically called on the Horned Rat to curse the unit in combat with him. With the Skaven force in pieces, all that was heard for an evil cackle as the Horned Rat withdrew his favour and the Seer was left with a surprised look on his face as his power failed him and he was cut down by the mass of Beastmen.
With the situation looking lost and very few options available to turn the situation around (especially with the Storm Vermin about to take a flank charge from my horde), Paul conceded at this point.
With all my units in Paul’s half of the table (with a combined unit fortitude of 5) and Paul only having a total of 3 unit fortitude on the board (with two being still in his half), victory went to the Beasts!
Neither of us completed the secondary mission.
Thoughts on the game
If it weren’t for the horrific thought of painting another horde army, I would love to add Skaven to my collection. The total bonkers random nature to them makes them hilarious to play against (as well as frightening). I don’t think you can play this army without having both a great sense of humour and an acknowledgement that the best laid plans will often go array. A combination of these in Paul was one of the reasons why this was such an entertaining game.
With regards to the game, I was pretty happy with my deployment (for once). I didn’t manage to block my own units from moving which was a bonus. I also managed to deal with what I perceived as the two big dangers. The doomwheel through combat and the Hellpit by avoiding it.
As a note on that, it may be totally legal but it felt extremely gamey doing this. I’m honestly not sure if I’d do it again (though it might depend on the opponent) as quarter final or not, it was a very relaxed and friendly game and it was probably the one thing that actually detracted from it (though it was probably more in my head than in actuality). It does raise a question for me on where does the line start that I won’t cross. Where do my gaming moral boundaries lie? Just because something is rules as written, will I play them if I think it isn’t in the spirit of the game or rules as intended? A subject for another post I feel!
Back on track…The scenario was also one that favoured me to some extent. The narrow width and size of my two units blocked a large section of the table and helped mitigate my lack of fortitude and due to the amount of chaff I was able to match the Gor herd against his Seers unit, a matchup I knew would have only one outcome.
I also made a point of remembering the scenario objectives (shock horror I hear you say) and when getting the first turn ensured I piled as far forward as possible to get on or over the halfway line. This meant Paul was on the back foot from the word go.
So overall it was an entertaining game where quite a few things went my way. It also means I’m through to my first Semi-final! The bad news is it’s against Neil and his Lizards. I’ve played him quite a few times and he is a very tough opponent (as you would expect at this stage of the competition!).