Barlin looked up as Drugin stomped into his chamber, “they’re back” scowled the Thane. Barlin grimaced, remembering the last time warriors of the dark gods has reached their lands. He stood slowly, aided by his Runestaff. “Sound the muster and fetch the book of the hold, this time we’ll have a surprise for those that dare trespass in the lands of the Silvertop”.
With the club finally open, it felt only right that the first game would be my beloved fantasy and Luke was equally up for a game. With a loose understanding that both of us wouldn’t be bringing anything particularly nasty, we both rocked up unaware of any specifics of what the other would be fielding. I’d been deliberately vague due to the nature of my army list needing an element of surprise.
Dwarves of Karak Silvertop
Barlin Silvertop – Runesmith (General) – Runic weapon (fire + striking), Runic armour (stone), Runic Talisman (spellbreaking), shield – 113pts
Drugin Silvertop – Thane (BSB) – Runic Standard (MRo Grungni, Strollaz Rune), shield – 188pts
39 Dwarf Warriors – FC, Great Weapon – 420pts
29 Longbeards – FC, shield, Runic Standard (Strollaz Rune) – 442pts
40 Miners – FC, Steam Drill – 455pts
The Valkyrie – Gyrocoptor – Vanguard – 100pts
Gyrocoptor – 80pts
Grudge Thrower – Engineering Runes (Ro Penetrating, Ro Accuracy, Ro Forging)
Gyrobomber – 125pts
Gyrobomber – 125pts
10 Rangers – 140pts
10 Rangers – 140pts
This list was something I’d been wanting to try for a while but had never seem to have gotten round to it. The premise was quite simple, it had several blocks of troops (Warriors/Longbeards) that would be able to vanguard (move 12” straight after deployment but before the first turn), to get in the face of the opponent from the get go.
The Miners would then tunnel up in order to appear behind Luke’s lines and due to the other vanguarding units in the army, they would stand a good chance of completing a rear charge from their entry point, as his lines wouldn’t have progressed across the field too much.
The two units of rangers were included to prevent any of Luke’s army vanguarding themselves (as his units wouldn’t be able to move within 12” of the scouting rangers) and thus his units blocking my own vanguarding units. They’d also be useful for shooting any of Luke’s chaff units.
The Gyrocoptors were there to cause their normal havoc (one of which also having vanguard, in order to get behind Luke’s lines early doors and the Gyrobombers were taken as I was determined to see if they might actually do something useful for a change. Taking one had never worked out before, so doubling the number would either give them a greater chance of achieving something or give me double the disappointment… something I suspected would be more than likely to occur!
The Grudgethrower was a last minute inclusion, as I was a little concerned with not having any real artillery in the list and wanted at least one very hard hitting item.
As normal, my Runesmith was kitted bare bones with a 2+ save and dispel ‘scroll’. I did actually give him a runic weapon which, although would remove his ability to parry, would boost his weapon skill by 1 and give him flaming attacks.
I needed to take a runic standard on the BSB in order to take a strollaz rune to allow the warriors to vanguard, this would prevent me from taking any runic armour for protection. This made taking the Master Rune of Grungni essential to give him the 4++ ward save.
So the plan was set and all good in theory! Whatever happened, it was a different list to what I’d taken before (not least as the ‘core’ slots hadn’t been minimised) so it would be interesting to see how it handled.
Sigvald the Magnificent (General) – 375pts
Chaos Sorcerer (lvl 4 – lore of slannesh) – Charmed shield, Chaos Familiar, steed of slannesh – 330pts
Chaos Chariot – mark of Slannesh – 115pts
5 Chaos Warhounds – 30pts
39 Marauders – FC – Flail – 422pts
5 – Marauder Horse – Mark of Slannesh – 80pts
6 Chaos Trolls – 210pts
6 Dragon Ogres – 408pts
5 Hellstriders – 95pts
3 Skullcrushers – 225pts
Slaughterbrute – 205pts
Total – 2,495pts
As with mine, Luke had taken some things that wouldn’t normally appear in his more competitive lists and are considered the weakest in the Warriors book (Marauders, Dragon Ogres). Actually let’s call them the most unfavourably priced items in the book as there is definitely other things that are considered worse (vortex mutalith comes to mind). He also took a slaughterbrute. This is also rarely seen but I really like the rules for this, as it’s basically a solid monster, slaved to your general and it gains several advantages from this (such as using the general’s weapon skill).
I will add that this is my best approximation of his list, based on items that came up and having not actually seen it written, so it’s likely that it’s not 100% accurate
With Clan Silvertop having a long standing enmity with the warriors of chaos it only stood to reason that the reading of wrongs from the hold’s book of grudges, would give all the dwarves hatred against their foe!
Whether I remembered to roll for that hatred in each combat, after such a long break, would be another thing and indeed, despite writing down in big bloody letters, ‘ROLL FOR ARMY HATRED’, I actually forgot to do so at the start of the game and it was Luke who reminded me, DOH!
The Familiar allowed the sorcerer to generate 5 spells and he ended up with:
Acquiescence, Hysterical Frenzy, Slicing Shards, Phantasmagoria, Cacophonic Choir.
Virtually none of which had any impact on the game!
As normal, we ignored the table in the BRB and just put terrain down as we saw fit.
Again, in time honoured tradition, neither of us could be bothered to move sides. With the strategic deployment of the rangers blocking any of Luke’s vanguard movements forward, it allowed the two blocks of dwarves and one of the Gyro’s to advance to the centre of the board.
The one thing I should point out about the maps in this report, was that I made an error and mixed up the Marauder Horse and Hellstriders. The Sorcerer was actually in the unit of Marauder Horse on Luke’s left flank and the Hellstriders were deployed on the right flank, next to the chariot.
Dwarf Turn 1
Barlin let a rare smile grace his face as he looked over at Drugin leading the clansmen forward. The Rangers had done their job well and the presence of their troops had gone completely undetected by their foe. As they emerged within striking distance of the perverted hordes, his smile slipped. It was not the breadth of the forces arrayed against them, the horde stretching from one side of the field to the other, indeed it was a rare occurrence when they had numerical superiority. It was the figure leading the mob of barbarians. With the sunlight reflecting off every inch of the mirrored armour, the long flaxen hair and joyous laughter that pealed out from the figure, it revealed that this was not just some petty warlord. The prince of pleasure himself was leading the horde, the self-styled Sigvald ‘the Magnificent’. Barlin raised his staff and pointed, the rangers rose from their concealment and let loose with their crossbows as the Valkyrie swept overhead. Battle had commenced!
Having vanguarded, the dwarf blocks would not be able to charge in their first turn and seeing just how many troops Luke had, I was nervous about moving any further forward with them. The vanguarding Gyrocoptor flew over Luke’s lines, attempting to drop its bomb on the marauder horse. Being the first action of the game, ensured that the bomb jammed and exploded in the undercarriage, causing a wound to the ‘coptor.
Both Units of Rangers then let loose on the enemy chaff. The horsemen were peppered with bolts and lost 3 of their number. The more nimble Hellstriders, just 2. As both had the mark of slannesh, there was no chance of panicking either unit.
To round out the short first turn, the Stonethrower dropped a rock on the head of the Skullcrushers, frustratingly, only causing a single wound.
Warriors Turn 1
In true warrior fashion and seeing their foe at close range, the majority of the warriors elected to charge.
The Chariot (represented by a classic 3rd ed. undead plague cart), charged the nearby rangers. It failed to reach them but as a slight silver lining, the 10 shots unleashed, also failed to wound it.
The Skullcrushers charged the Gyrocoptor, which predictably fled and then redirected to the rangers. No longer able to shoot and sensibly not fancying their chances against the raving, armoured behemoths, they followed the lead of the Gyro and also ran.
Continuing the show of pitiful charge rolls, both the Trolls and Marauders then failed to make it into the Dwarf clansmen.
The one success of the turn came from the Dragon Ogres. With all thought abandoned with the Sorcerer having cast Hysterical Frenzy onto them, they crashed into the other unit of rangers. Shrugging off the bolts that embedded into their flesh and the damage the spell had also caused, they slew nine of the brave dwarves but not before the rangers had bought down one of the great beasts and severely injured another with their axes. Unsurprisingly, the last surviving shooter fled but was swiftly run down with their momentum carrying them into the Longbeards that had been positioned off to the side.
Barlin, shook his head at the inability of both ranger units to hold their ground. Although he recognised their usefulness, there was something inherently wrong about dwarves who voluntarily chose to live above ground and their actions had proven that.
Dwarf Turn 2
Having moved safely out of range of the Skullcrushers, both the Gyrocoptor and Rangers turned back to face the enemy lines.
The Bomber on that flank swooped low over the Juggernaut riding warriors, commencing its bombing run. The explosive fizzled as it fell from the bomber (huzzah two misfires out of two…) and the dud canister unceremoniously bounced off the helmet of the central rider.
The second bomber attempted a more audacious move, targeting the sorcerer and his Marauder horse guard, knowing that if his accuracy was off, he might have to deal with a lot of angry Longbeards. He mopped a bead of sweat from his brow in relief, as his aim was true and one of the horsemen was blown from his mount. The Sorcerer remained unharmed as his charmed shield bore the brunt of the explosion.
The Grudgethrower crew weren’t ones to not look a gift horse in the mouth and immediately followed up with a pin point shot, pancaking the chaos wizard, with the last of the marauder horsemen ripped apart by the ensuing shrapnel.
The advanced Gyrocopter moved to the flank of the marauders and 12 of the northmen fell screaming as the superheated steam boiled them alive.
In the centre of the battle, the Clansmen tore into the flank of the Dragon Ogres to back up their older brethren. Three of the great beasts were slain but not before they laid low the dwarf BSB. The remaining Dragon Ogres fled with the Longbeards hard at their heels but the doughty dwarves failed to catch them, something they would rue. The Clansmen chose not to pursue and reformed to face the now inevitable charge from the Norsicans.
Warriors Turn 2
Seeing the flank of the Longbeards exposed, the Slaughterbeast didn’t hesitate and crashed into the veteran warriors, tearing a double handful apart. Shrugging off the injuries, which were nothing compared to what chaos mutants in their day used to cause, they distained to even turn and face the beast.
The Dragon Ogres, hearing that pursuit had stopped, turned back to face their foes, looking for some payback.
In the centre of the battlefield the Trolls, once again failed to reach the horde of dwarves. Not so the Marauders, who ran full tilt into the warriors flails swinging. Their momentum came to an abrupt halt in the face of the dwarf stoicism and even with Sigvald bolstering them, only managed to cut down a paltry rank. In return, 17 of their number were brutally cut down (Luke utterly whiffed their attacks!).
The Khorne worshippers moved up through the woods ready to support the central combat, suffering damage from the unstable terrain in the process.
On the far flank, the chariot again charged the rangers. Their shots were more effect this time with one of the steeds bellowing in pain as a bolt penetrated its barding. With crushing force, dwarves were thrown aside as it impacted, the chaos warriors further adding to the damage, as the dwarf lines bowed. In return, their great weapons tore chunks out of the chariot before they turned tail and fled, closely followed by the dark warriors.
The depleted Hellstriders were unable to emulate the chariots success, finding the Gyrocoptor a much tougher proposition.
Dwarf Turn 3
The decisive moment had arrived! The Gyrocoptor pilot tilted his machine forward and flew into the flank of the trolls, his rotors inflicting severe enough wounds that even their legendary ability to regenerate, could not heal all the damage. The pain was enough to pierce even their dim-witted brains and they turned to face the dwarven machine, their wild swings denting its chassis. (It was a suicide move by the gyro, but he was blocking the charge of the miners, so had to charge to clear a path).
With a roar the Miners hit the back of the remaining Marauders. Caught in a dwarf sandwich they were massacred, with just Sigvald remaining surrounded by a sea of angry dwarves, either his stupidity or stubbornness not letting him run.
The Brute continued to slay handfuls of Longbeards but they again continued to ignore the threat it represented. The only sign of discontent among them, was the shaking of heads as the bomber flew overhead and failed to hit the nearby Dragon ogres.
Things didn’t fare much better for the remaining flyers. The Hellstriders got the upper hand over the ‘coptor and it fled, outdistancing the lithe daemonic mounts. The other bomber moved to block the Skullcrushers, getting ready to sacrifice his life in order to give his brothers more time to take down the champion of slannesh.
The last of the rangers again rallied and turned to face the chaos warmachine that had taken such a heavy toll on them.
Warriors Turn 3
The Chariot again charged the rangers. Three of the dwarves were cut down but the single remaining ranger refused to run, muttering the slayer oath to himself as he prepared to meet Grimnir! (Infinite courage baby!)
The Khornite Warriors, slavering at the prospect of finally rending some skulls for their god, charged the bomber with wild abandonment. One of their number was so out of control that he crashed headlong into a boulder. Even the juggernaut was not getting up from that! The other two obliterated the dwarven machine before continuing forward, utterly lost to their frenzy.
The Hellstriders ensured that the Gyrocoptor continued to flee from the battle before swerving into the Grudgethrower before it could cause any more damage. The crew valiantly defended the machine, felling one of the unnatural riders but not before two of their number were slain in return.
In the midst of the dwarves, Sigvald was laughing as his blade eviscerated any that came too close. His armour was now covered in axe rents but his regeneration had prevented any and all harm to him.
The Longbeards readied their axes to receive the Dragon Ogres charge. The beasts didn’t disappoint and thundered into the front of the dwarves. The doughty warriors swiftly dispatched one, leaving a single beast alive. With it attacking from the front and the Slaughterbrute continuing to cut into the dwarven flank, their nerve finally failed and their flight was short lived as the 2 animals cut down the rest, ending up behind the unit of dwarf warriors.
The dwarf position looked even worse as the trolls finished off the Gyrocoptor and were now in a position to join the hounds, in the rear of the miners.
Dwarf Turn 4
In an effort to disrupt the upcoming charge, the last of the bombers, ploughed into the rear of the dragon ogre. Sadly it was for nought, as the ogre turned and casually swotted the flyer out of the air.
Still laughing with enjoyment, Sigvald continued to kill the dwarves around him. His laugh momentarily ceased as they finally managed to inflict a wound in return.
The dogs were slowly being whittled down but Sigvald ensured they weren’t going anywhere.
The only other combats involved the Chariot and Hellstriders eliminating the last of the dwarven presence on the rest of the battlefield.
The Dwarf situation was looking perilous!
Warriors Turn 4
Calling out the Warrior champion, Sigvald quickly dispatched him and then spun and skewered a group of miners that had gotten too close. Incensed, the Prospector jammed his steam drill into the Chaos Champion, causing him to scream as it ripped into his torso.
The miners then staggered as the trolls hit the rear of the unit, the monstrous infantry clubbing the stunties to the ground. It didn’t go all their own way as one of their number fell, pierced with multiple mining picks.
On the other side of the ongoing combat, the Slaughter brute and remaining Dragon Ogre charged into the rear of the warriors. Having been the brunt of horrendous casualties and with their nerve shaken by the two monsters in their rear, they promptly failed their fear test. The further deaths inflicted proved too much for the warriors who ran but managed to outdistance their pursuers.
At that point we called it as the club had a hard close.
A resounding win for the warriors as they scored 1,800 Victory Points, vs the Dwarves 862 Victory Points.
We’ve played each other and Warhammer enough times that we are not adverse to bringing fluffier options in our lists. I was itching to try out a vanguard/ambushing list as something different and had kept quiet about it so it would be a surprise to Luke (and it was).
The general premise of the list worked well. The Rangers did their job, blocking Luke’s vanguarding, so that my units could move up unimpeded, to the centre of the board, and so the points invested in the strollaz banner runes weren’t wasted! This in turn meant that when the miners arrived, they were in a good position to charge in.
However, there were a few issues that swiftly became apparent. Moving the units up, put them in a prime position to be charged on the first turn. It was only down to some terrible rolling on Luke’s behalf that none of his units made combat (bar the Dragon Ogres). If the bulk of his forces had made combat, especially the trolls and marauders into the great weapon warriors, then he would have had time to then turn and face the miners.
This nicely brings me to the next point. A horde of miners looks fantastic and you can’t ignore that kind of threat appearing behind your lines, but it’s a lot of points in one unit, almost a fifth of the army. It can’t come on until turn 2 and cannot move/charge until turn 3. In a game of only 6 turns, that many points off the board, can put you at quite the disadvantage. You’d probably be better off bringing another vanguarding horde that would be on the table from the get go.
There were a few small errors I made too. The most obvious is that I should have used the Gyrobomber to block/redirect the Slaughterbrute so it wasn’t able to flank the Longbeards. I didn’t, mostly as I was single minded about using them to bomb/shoot things and again this nicely brings me onto the next thing:
The Gyrobombers. I’d been determined to take 2 as 1 had never panned out. They performed as I expected, poorly. Their issue is down to points vs effectiveness and probably, that other things in the army do its job far more effectively. The Gyrocoptor is 60pts cheaper and although the flame template is smaller, it doesn’t scatter and so you know what you are going to hit. A fully tooled up Grudge thrower is 30pts more expensive and although it uses the small template, you can reroll the scatter and misfire and the strength of the hits is higher. Both of these are just more reliable than the bomber. It’s a shame as I really want to like it.
What did take me back, was how incredibly hard it was to kill Sigvald the ‘
magnificent pain in my backside’. I actually got through his armour surprising well but his regen was another thing. Writing much of this around a month after the game, my memory is a bit hazy but I also think we got his WS wrong. I’m sure most of the time I’d been rolling 5’s to hit him with the miners and warriors but it should have been 4’s as he was weapons skill 8 rather than 9. That said, it made writing the report much more fun!
I have to give Luke credit though, he played a solid game (as I’d expect with him using his warriors). It was great to face some of the less seen units on the board. If we’d continued, I have no doubt that the dwarves would have been tabled by the end of turn 5. A terrible day and once again, Luke’s name has been added into the Karak Silvertop Book of Grudges! (And in case you are wondering, yes I actually do have a Grudge Book for the army)!