On the last Wednesday in September, I had the pleasure of meeting up with GrandMasterWang from the Eighth Edition For Life forum for the inaugural EEFL Ashes game. That makes it sound very grandiose. The reality was, he and his wife were over from Australia for a trip around parts of Europe and we managed to arrange to meet up to roll some dice when he was in London.
The venue chosen was the Darksphere store near Waterloo (mainly for convenience) and having discussed army selection and knocked together some lists in advance, I carted up two armies for us to use. We were later joined by one of GMW’s mate: J ‘every dice I roll is a 5 or 6’ D, who is just getting into the noble game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
Bashor looked around, glaring at the outcasts surrounding him. After the debacle and rout caused by that underhanded, backstabbing, so called Voice of the Gods, Khazbar, he sometimes felt lucky he had salvaged as much of the herd as he had. He had lost all his elite bodyguard in that ill-omened venture to the south but he had found and subdued a particularly large and aggressive Razorgor that would make a suitable mount for a Lord of his stature. He had also had gathered a sizeable number of Gor who were happy to fall under his benevolent leadership. The swift bloody examples made of those who thought otherwise, had quickly bought the rest into line.
Making the decision to head back to their ancestral home had bought him into contact with a tribe of Minotaurs and their giant brethren. Some quick thinking and a depletion of most the remaining halfhorns, as they were offered up as food, secured an uneasy alliance with the frenzied monstrosities and with his forces bolstered they continued their journey north. Despite the brutal editions to his herd, he was slightly worried. The path he had taken, may have been quicker than the one when he came south but it bought him in close proximity to the wood elf lands and their enmity to his kind was sure to cause him trouble.
Bashor the Bloody (General) – Beastlord – Razorgor Chariot, Armour of Destiny, Dragonbane Gem, Gouge-tusks, Shield – 393pts
Doombull – Sword of Swift Slaying, Ramhorn Helm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide, Uncanny Senses, HA, Sh – 343pts
Wargor (BSB) – Beast Banner, HA, Sh – 191pts
29 Gor – FC, AHW – 257pts
20 Gor – FC, AHW – 185pts
Tuskgor Chariot – 80pts
Tuskgor Chariot – 80pts
5 Ungor Raiders – 30pts
Razorgor – 55pts
5 Minotaurs – AHW, Bloodkine, Blackened Plate – 335pts
Ghorgon – 275pts
Ghorgon – 275pts
Spellweaver (General) – Earthing Rod, Talisman of Preservation, Steed, Lore of Shadow – 310pts
Glade Captain – Great Stag, Helm of the Hunt, HODA, Starfire Shafts, Spear, Sh – 198pts
25 Eternal Guard – FC, Banner of Eternal Flame – 340pts
10 Dryads – Branch Nymph – 120pts
10 Glade Guard – Musician, Standard, Trueflight – 170pts
5 Sisters of the Thorn – Standard, Standard of Discipline – 155pts
6 Treekin – 270pts
10 Deepwood Scouts – Hagbane – 160pts
5 Wardancers – 75pts
3 Warhawk Riders – 135pts
5 Wildriders – 140pts
10 Waywatchers – 200pts
1 Treeman – 225pts
Scenario and pre-match rolls
The Terrain was already placed by the store manager when we arrived and consisted of 4 bits of impassable terrain and 2 woods. The final wood was placed as the WE free wood (which was, of course, a Venom Thicket).
To keep things simple we decided to just play battleline.
The Spellweaver ended up with the following spells from the Lore of Shadow:
Okkums, Miasma, Withering and Enfeeble
We started off alternating but then both laid down all our units in one go to save time. After deployment it looked like this:
Turn 1 – Beasts
With no magic or ranged attacks (of any note), the Beastman first turn was exceptionally fast with all the units thundering across the table at top speed, eager to get to grips with the enemy.
Turn 1 – WE
The elves started with the normal cagey movement you would expect from their kind. A bit wishy-washy and scared to get up close to the strong, noble Beasts and the true heirs of the forest.
The sisters started by casting shield of thorns and unnerved by the disappointed stares of the Gor unit looking at them, failing to cast it. They then moved up to block the smaller Gor unit, which the L4 cast Withering on in support of the sisters. Trying to cover up their momentary lapse in magic, the Sisters javelins bought down one of the unit but the warhawk riders who also fired off some pot shots, weren’t able to do the same.
On the other flank, Vega Stormlight took out one Minotaur and wounded another with the HODA. The Gladeguard followed his lead hurting it further. The Waywatchers then double tapped, finishing off the wounded beast and slaying another outright.
The flanking Ghorgon, which had moved in support of them, also received some attention from the Deepwood Scouts. Their poisoned arrows bypassing its natural toughness and causing a couple of wounds.
Turn 2 – Beasts
Bashor, determined to show the newly formed herd how it was done, charged into the giant treeman (affectionally named Groot), in front of him. Between him and his mount, the treeman was left reeling, sap running freely from the numerous wounds inflicted.
The nearby Gor unit was however left unable to engage the Eternal Guard as Bashor’s charge prevented them getting in.
The other Gor unit charged the sisters in front of them and although it lost 5 wounds from them, proceeded to wipe them out and overran into the Dryads that had been exposed as the elves fell. Unfortunately in the process, they lost a further 5 of their number to dangerous terrain, failed their panic test, ran away and to add insult to injury, lost a further member of the unit on the way out.
Turn 2 – WE
The Dryads charged the Gor, who continued to flee, this time losing 2 more of their unit, as the warhawks they fled through caused some opportune casualties (yep more dangerous terrain). The Dryads then redirected into the rear of the nearby Razorgor, making short work of it and over running in order to get closer to the fleeing Gor unit.
The Wildriders loitering nearby, charged into the Ghorgon that was threatening that flank. Their frenzied charge was boosted by Okkum’s Mindrazor and combined with their natural ASF and re-rolls, they completely minced the giant monster and overran off the board.
The other Ghorgon also found its life cut short as the Deepwood Scouts finished what they started the previous turn.
The Bashor/Groot combat continued with the Beastlord failing to wound the Treeman and then failing his initiative test, allowing the treeman to ‘wack’ the chariot causing a couple of wounds.
Vega Stormlight, seeing the Minotaurs had been sufficiently weakened by his shooting, crashed into them, his Great Stag causing carnage and taking out all the rank and file bullocks. The supporting wardancers failed to do anything bar some modern interpretive dance moves but this was enough to thoroughly confuse the doombull, who failed to do anything bar leg it to safety, having had enough of the leotards, 80’s leg warmers and their rendition of Fame.
The Treekin steered clear of the Minotaurs and crashed into a chariot, making swift work of it. They then overran into the second chariot. The Beast’s right flank had well and truly crumbled!
In the centre of the field, the Warhawk riders charged the Ungor Raiders that were protecting the flank of the larger Gor Unit. They decided they didn’t like their odds and ran at first sight of the fearsome birds and in a completely unsurprising turn of events, lost a couple of their number to dangerous terrain tests. The Warhawks then successfully redirected into the flank of the larger Gor unit killing 4 of them for the loss of a single wound. The combat was helped by the lvl4 interfering again, this time casting a miasma on the Gor, reducing their WS by 3. The Eternal Guard decided not to charge in and help out their kindred. The Gor unit, being steadfast and within both the General and BSB’s bubble, didn’t run and reformed to face the Warhawks. This was the only minor victory on a turn of pain for the Beastmen!
Turn 3 – Beasts
Even with Miasma impeding them, they tore up two of the warhawks for the loss of a couple of their number and the remaining hawk fled sharpish. They then reformed to face the Eternal Guard.
Groot was final bought low by Bashor but not before he killed the giant Razorgor Bashor was riding (yet again failing a 5+ Initiative test).
We didn’t even bother rolling for the second chariot and just removed it, assuming that the 18 treekin attacks would demolish it.
In a surprising turn of events both the decimated unit of Gor and the Doombull rallied and turned, ready to go down fighting.
Turn 3 – Wood Elves
The remaining Warhawk annoyingly rallied and the Wildriders appeared back on the board.
The Dryads continued their romp on that flank and crashed into the freshly rallied Gor, killing them to a beast.
And then the main event occurred.
Feeling cocky due to his earlier success (and a minor enfeeble that had been cast on his foe), Vega shouted to his comrades, holding them back as he charged in, to go one on one with the Doombull. Between him and his mount, the only wounds caused were absorbed by the Bulls armour and added to its considerable number of attacks. Vega’s arrogance came back to bite him and even with only one arm (ok that was due to a transport accident), the Doombull swiftly ripped him apart.
This moral victory wasn’t enough to help the overall picture, which looked exceedingly bleak for the beasts and with the store closing time fast approaching, we decided to call this the last turn action of the game.
A Romping for the wood elves!
An absolute joy of a game. It was great to meet one of the forum users at last and despite my wife worrying that I was off to meet some random stranger and his wife that I met on a forum on the internet with 2 easily ‘robbable’ armies, he turned out not to be (a) a psychopath or (b) a mugger (ha take that doubting wife) and I had a great evening of very chilled out dice rolling in a very uncompetitive game.
GMW teaming up with JD made a formidable combination, if only because GMW was guaranteed to always roll pitifully low with his dice and JD always rolled abnormally high. As they split all the dice rolling between them, each roll was almost dead average. It was truly something to see.
In terms of the lists, the Wood elf list seemed very well balanced and worked well together, although it is often difficult to criticise a list when it trounces the opponent. I’m hoping GMW will give some thoughts on it.
On the beast’s side, much of the list was put together to use bits I hadn’t in a while so there were definitely holes in it.
I really liked the Razorgor chariot mount for the general. Primal fury on the razorgor made it much more of a threat and I will definitely take them under special choices going forward if not as a character mount again. Giving the Beastlord the brass cleaver would have been good if he had gotten into combat with troops but the army was already packed with components who could do that as well, so he would have been better off with something to boost strength.
The minotaurs were enough of a threat that they were picked on early. With only toughness 4 and no save to speak of, you just can’t take them in small units. They are definitely a unit that you have to go big or go home.
Giving the Ghorgans a 6+ regen save didn’t really change too much but it does give them a slim hope of saving and it did help a few times in the game. Against another foe they may have done better but poison robbed one of its only defence and not much stands too much of a chance against a charge of wildriders, especially boosted to str 8 with Okkum’s!
My final brief thought is, not taking a bray shaman was a gamble and definitely not one I will do going forward. GMW getting a +4 or +5 advantage when casting meant that I don’t think I successfully dispelled anything all game. Not getting any dispel modifier just felt too much of a disadvantage.
After posting this on the forum, GMW kindly added some of his thoughts.
I will write more in detail later but just to say that in the main event between Vega and the Doombull, it was not exactly a fair fight, despite the end result.
After the Wood Elf mage priestess cast Occam’s Mindrazor to help the Wild Riders make shish kebab out of the Ghorgon (i hate that spell, but had to use it in this instance) I refused to use it again (or was it just the Unicorn riding priestess mage refusing to buff the arrogant and narcissistic Vega?)
However while the priestess was unwilling to enhance the already cocky Vega Stormlight she did put her personal feelings aside and attempt to save his life by ‘enfeebling’ the mighty Minotaur. The Doombull’s unmatched constitution enabled him to shrug off the worst of the effects of the spell but he still found his strength diminished as the cocky Elven wood prince charged into him atop his fearsome great stag.
It was not enough however and the minotaur of minotaurs avenged his slain kin and rightfully bashed the elf (and unfortunately his heroic and hoofed steed) into the forest floor.
Doombull’s/gorebulls aside I think that elves of all races are a terrible matchup for minotaurs. As mentioned minotaurs are very susceptible to shooting and really need to ‘fatty up’ to prove their worth. With elves striking first (usually with rerolls) they can often take out the slower, low armor minotaurs before they can unleash their devastating attacks. I think minotaurs match up well with tomb kings, dwarfs, orcs, ogres and the like where they can often win some combats to ‘fatty up’ and be a real threat.
On a side note, Vega Stormlight was great fun to use and I’m really glad he got to show his worth. At 200 points (roughly 4 minotaurs) he did a great job with his hail of doom arrow and noble steed’s impact hits and additional durability really helping him do a number on the much slower minotaurs.
When I charged Vega Stormlight solo into the Doombull I think we both knew the result but it just had to happen
Vega was worthy of the Street Fighter name we gave him … Mini boss indeed.