WHFB – Dwarves vs Orcs and Goblins – part 1 lists

In a couple of Fridays I’ve booked in a game vs Alistair (and his OnG list) in my comp group. However, instead of a comp game, I offered him a friendly so he could get some more practice in (because I’m nice like that 😀), which he gratefully accepted. As such I decided to not to bring Beastmen and instead bring a comp legal alternative list.

I very nearly bought my wood elves but the list I wanted to use is potentially very filthy and as he is still learning the 8th edition rules I instead decided to use the opportunity to try out a whole chunk of the Dwarf book that I normally just don’t take or have never used.

As such the following list is a bit random and contains elements that are not considered the most competitive (e.g. the Runelord). It will also be a bit of a unit review, as I’m also going to look at why certain units aren’t normally taken (at least by me) and as such this will be far longer than my normal list post.

Drugin looked round at his first command shaking his head in disbelief. Knoffles had final decided that after years of carrying the hold banner, he had gained enough experience to lead his own force and then not only lumbered him with this motley crew of engineers, testing their newfangled experiments, but sent the old Grumblers and Buggerit to babysit him. The thought was nearly enough for him to shave his head and join Ethelred and the Brotherhood of Doom! The only saving grace was a unit of the deep delvers, the Ironbreakers, had been rotated up to serve as his bodyguard and that he had also been joined by his brother Barlek who had been given the honour of raising the expedition standard.

The Throng of Karak Silvertop

Drugin Silvertop – Thane (General) – MRo Gromril, Great Weapon, Oath Stone, Fiery Ring of Thori – 161pts.

The general will go in the unit of ironbreakers where the oath stone ability of allowing parry saves to the flanks and rear, will synergise well with their permanent 5++ combat parry save. With 3 S6 attacks and a S4 breath attack, it should allow him to boost their combat output and the 1+ save should help protect him against any challenges he has to accept. I will say that the oath stone and ironbreakers isn’t an original idea at all but isn’t one I’ve ever used. The breath weapon is my own twist on the build (though I’m sure someone else has done this before too)

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Barlek – Thane (BSB) – Gromril Armour, shield, MRo Grungni – 153pts.

The BSB will go on the edge Longbeard unit so that the 6″ bubble of the 5++ ward vs shooting is able to cover the slayers. He is also reasonably protected with a 3+ save and 4++ ward.

Buggerit the Old – Runelord – Gromril Armour, shield, Ro Stone, Ro Spellbreaking, Anvil of Doom – 323pts

The first of what is considered a non competitive choice. He is reasonably well protected with a 2+ save. The anvil then bestows a further 5++ ward and (with the lord’s MR2) a 3++ ward vs direct damage spells. An additional +2 wounds from it taking him to a total of 5 with his base T5 is nothing to be sniffed at either. He also gains an additional 2 WS5 S4 attacks from the guards (in the same way as a lord on shieldbearers) and the anvil allows you to automatically gain a power and dispel dice in each magic phase (I believe this is on top of your channel). I’ve also given him a dispel ‘rune’. So far so good.

The anvil also allows you to cast 3 bound spells and this is where you start to see why it isn’t taken. The first gives a unit immune to psychology (which is a bit meh in an army that, as standard, has an LD of 9), the second is a 24″ range, 2D6 attack, S4 magic missile (which in some armies would not be bad but in an army that is normally stacked with 30″, S4 xbows as well as warmachines, is also lacklustre). The final one adds +1 to the save of any unit (this is by far the best option but it is unlikely that you will cast it often as I’ll cover below). 

There are several issues with the anvil. The first is although you get added protection and attacks, it is classed as a warmachine, rather than a ‘mount’ and so you don’t want it in combat and it can’t join units (so the AP buff of the Runelord is wasted). This means it is susceptible to being sniped and also to the characteristic ‘test or die’ spells. So you are basically paying 170pts (+ the difference of cost between a Runesmith and Lord) for 3 spells, one of which you will only likely use to draw out dispel dice and any halfway competent opponent will not dispel anyway. So you are really only going to cast 2 of the spells and as they are bound spells, any enemy wizard will already have an advantage in dispelling them as they will add their wizard level to it. So to reliably cast one, you will have to throw (probably 2) more dice than your opponent and they should easily be able to tell which one you will want to cast (missile at range, armour in combat) and will be saving dice to stop that. To put it in another perspective, for the cost of just the anvil, you could easily take a fully runed up warmachine that will be hitting from turn one, more reliably and that is why you rarely see these on the battlefield. That said, they are a great model (both new and old) and against Alistair with his two L2 shamans, it may not be a bad choice.

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Ethelred the Scorned – Daemon Slayer – MRo Swiftness, 2 * Ro Cleaving – 200pts

This is the ultimate slayer, a lord who gets 4 WS 7, I5, S4 attacks as standard. Each unsaved wound vs monsters causes D3 wounds and he forces rerolls on successful ward saves. Like all slayers he can choose to use an additional hand weapon for an extra attack or a great weapon to boost his Str to 6 (hint don’t). 

He has two weaknesses, no saves (like his brethren) and a lack of base strength to get through armour. You could argue that the latter shouldn’t be an issue with his preferred target of monsters (who in the main do not have a huge save), ability to always wound on a 4+ and option of a great weapon should a Str boost be needed. The issue with this is, with a movement of only 3, most monsters will be able to easily avoid him (especially as many of them fly!). The great weapon also means he will strike last and with the lack of defence he may not get to strike at all!

So I have looked to minimise his weaknesses. Rather than running him solo, he will be bunkered in the slayers. This will give him a lookout sir roll and unless sniped will mean he is reasonably safe from shooting, especially with the BSB 5++ ward. He still has the option of charging out/leaving the unit if he wants. I’ve also given him a Rune axe. The two runes of cleaving give him +1 Str and AP, so a base strength of 5 and a -3 to armour saves. If he gets a charge off, it becomes 6 and -4. Not too shabby. The Swiftness rune gives him always strike first (ASF), which does exactly what it says and against anyone with an initiative of 5 or under he also gets rerolls to hit. They say attack is the best form of defence, we shall see but I have high hopes for him. I will add that 200pts for a dwarf lord isn’t too expensive either.

Core

The Old Grumblers – 24 Longbeards – musician, standard, heavy armour, shields, Ro Stoicism – 367pts

Even after I don’t know how many games using them, I’m torn on whether I like Longbeards. If armed with great weapons (GW), then I’m more inclined to take GW warriors instead as you get more for your money and the drop in Str from 6 to 5 isn’t too bad. With a standard initiative of 2 for both of them, you are likely striking last anyway so taking GWs with the always strikes last rule, doesn’t really matter too much. So if I take them I’m more likely to arm them with shields to get the 4+, 6++ saves but then I feel they need a runesmith to give them a -2 to enemy armour saves as I want them somewhat offensive rather than just an anvil unit, as with dwarves you don’t get enough units/troops in a normal list to have a dedicated tarpit. 

They do have a few advantages over normal Warriors. They are elite troops so rock a WS5 as standard, meaning nearly every enemy unit will only hit on 4+, whereas they have a good chance of hitting on 3’s. They are also immune to psychology so ignore fear/terror/panic tests. They also have access to a 50pt magic standard which, if you don’t have the Groth rune somewhere, is almost certainly going to be the stubborn rune (as it is in my list).

In this list, I won’t have a runesmith in the unit to provide the additional offence (just the BSB) so this will be more of a test of their staying/grinding power. One of our group opponents, is also running 3 large blocks of shieldbeards (as they are affectionately known), so this also gives Alistair some experience of the unit.

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Guild Experimental Weaponry team – 10 Thunderers – standard, heavy armour, shields, handguns, veteran with brace of pistols – 150pts

Guild Experimental Weaponry team – 10 Thunderers – heavy armour, shields, handguns, veteran with brace of pistols – 140pts

The final units in the core selection are two units of Thunderers. These have a 4+ save and a 24″ AP Str 4 ranged weapon. The veteran is armed with pistols to allow them to pretty much always stand and shoot, something I feel is needed for them.

I’ve gone with Thunderers as I normally take xbows as I prefer the longer 30″ range over the increase in armour penetration and xbows have the option of great weapons and/or shields, allowing them to be an offensive unit (whereas Thunderers can only take shields). Only one unit has a standard for our scenarios (and I didn’t have the points for the second unit to get one, choosing instead to take a champion with pistols in each instead to try and ensure they always get a stand and shoot reaction).

4 Thunderers of Clan Silvertop
Thunderers of Clan Silvertop
Special

Shintel’s Wall – 19 Ironbreakers – musician, standard, gromril armour, shields, Ro Stoicism, Ro warding – 336pts

With a 3+ save, 5++ ward in combat, LD 10 and the stubborn rune, this unit will fight to the last Dwarf and should stick around for a while. They have pretty much the same stat line as the above Longbeards but have improved saves. The rune of warding will give them a nominal 6++ vs direct spell damage. The thane on oathstone ensures the 5++ combat ward wherever they are charged, so they will make ideal flank guards or objective protectors. They are also an ideal target for the Anvil’s +1 save boost and the only unit bar the Thunderers that could benefit from the immune to psychology. My one concern is that the unit size is a bit small.

The Brotherhood of Doom – 24 Slayers – standard, slayer axes – 298pts

If we are judging units purely on fluff, these guys are hands down my favourite unit but they are also pretty effective too as I found out when I used them in the 2016 club tournament. So what do they bring to the table? 

They are both immune to psychology and unbreakable, so basically never have to take a leadership test and will never run away. This is huge. It means you have a block of dwarves that will have to be completely wiped out and can effectively tarpit anything and operate outside of the bsb/generals bubble (it is also one reason you find excommunicated beardless dwarves using small darts of them, the shame!). As with black Orcs, they can also choose each round whether to use additional hand weapons (AHW) or great weapons (GW). I would personally only use the AHW’s if they manage to charge (as with all dwarves they get +1 to Str when the charge and this would take them to Str 4) and then only against T3 opponents. Against everyone else I’d use the GW to get a Str 5 attack. When a model dies in combat, it gets to make a final attack back. Contrary to what I’ve seen written in some places, it is a single attack, no matter your base attacks) and using AHW’s doesn’t boost the number, though you DO get the Str bonus for a GW (or runic item effects). This rule helps to overcome the glaring lack of armour. 

So this unit pretty damn good, so why is it not seen more? Well firstly, it is highly susceptible to missile fire. This is why the Grungni banner with the 5++ ward vs missiles, is almost a must take with the unit. It also has the same limited movement as all dwarf units so it is hard to get favourable matchups. The final reason is down to choices. They come out of the same section as cannons, Gyrocoptors, hammerers, ironbreakers etc. That is a lot of quality competition vying for slots and is probably the main reason for their exclusion.

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The Valkyrie – Gyrocoptor – 80pts

I won’t go into detail about the Gyrocoptor here as I have many times before. Suffice to say it is invaluable in a Dwarf list and if you haven’t taken a minimum of one (but better two or three), you need to go back to your list and revise it. Yes they are that good.

Rare

Flame Cannon – Ro Forging – 165pts

Another warmachine I’ve never taken though I’m not sure why. It is at heart a Str 5 flaming breath weapon that auto hits models that fall under the flamer template and causes panic tests on models/units that suffer wounds. And on top of that each wound caused is actually D3 wounds so it is excellent vs Ogres or other multiwound models. It also has a range of between 2″ and 22″ (much further than the standard variant due to the dwarf special rules) but it works out further than 22″ as that is the spot from where the template is laid down (though the distance is variable as it is 0-12″ + the roll of an artillery dice). It is for this reason that the Flame Cannon has been given a Ro Forging to reroll misfires or distances if required.

Gyrobomber – 125pts

The final entry in the list is the ‘coptors big brother and is another first time entry in my army list. It shares the same stat line as it’s smaller sibling (which feels odd, you’d think it should at least have an additional wound) but drops the steam gun for a clatter gun. This fires 4 Str 4 AP quick to fire (so no move and shoot penalty) shots and has a 24″ range. So it will hit on 6’s at long range and 5’s at short, so don’t expect anything ground-shattering from it but unlike the ‘coptor, the gun is not where it’s strength lays (unsurprisingly the clue is in its name after all). If it moved over an enemy unit it can drop a bomb. You place the large 5″ template and roll to scatter. Anything under the template takes a Str 3 hit (with a model under the centre hole taking a Str 6 hit with D3 wounds). Then on a 4+, place the smaller 3″ template in the same location and roll for a further scatter (though only D6″ distance) and anything hit takes damage as per the first hit. Against low toughness horde armies (looking at you Goblins), this could be devastating if you are lucky with rolls. 

The main issues as I see them are threefold. (1) You cannot add runes, so you are at the whim of the scatter dice. Other armies suffer from this all the time but as dwarves you are used to better. (2) It is only Str 3, so in most cases the best you are wounding on is a 4+. This is offset a bit by the large template. (3) The bomber is still just a 3 wound model. This isn’t a lot and as it will be operating over enemy lines, it could easily be isolated and shot down.

 

 

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The Dark Tide

In the final post of this series, i’ll take a look at the final competitor in Group A, Luke C and his Dark Elves. Luke has been using Dark Elves for a number of years and I know often attends the Hockley tournament with Dan so will be a tough player to beat.

I actually played Luke for the first time recently with both of us using our respective competition lists (write up here), so we both have an idea already about the other one. His use of chaff was an eye opener and i’ll have to be careful not to make the same mistakes again.

The entry restrictions were changed between us playing and the final submission and so the below list, although similar, contains a few changes.

Characters

Dread Lord (General) – Lt armour, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Endurance, Cold One – 246pts

His general is well protected with a 1+, 5++ save. The Ogre blade boosts his Str to 6, covering the only shortfall in his stats. His attacks will be flaming if in the cold one Knights, so maybe I can use that against him.

Supreme Sorceress – Power Scroll, Talisman of Preservation, Dark Steed, Lore of Life – 320pts

Life is generally a defensive Lore and helps shore up the elves natural frailties. The exception is dwellers. That spell is based on a Str test so I have a better than average chance of resisting it, especially with the banner boosting the Str of my Gor. One thing I must do is dispel Throne of Vines when he casts it. That for me is a priority as it will reduce the effectiveness of everything else and mean he can suffer miscasts. Like Alistair, he has taken a power scroll which halves the cost of a spell cast when used. This could allow him to push through Dwellers when Im not expecting it!

She is also likely to be bunkered in one of the riders units which will mean that is unlikely to have chaff duty.

Death Hag – Rune of Khaine, Cauldron of Blood, Obsidian Blade – 390pts

The rune gives the hag +D3 attacks each turn. This is on top of her 3 standard (+1 for frenzy) ASF, armour ignoring (due to her weapon) attacks. The cauldron then gives her and the unit a 5++ save (or 4++ vs magic missiles). The cauldron bound spell gives the unit an additional attack, so the hag could have between 4-8 and the witch elves up to 4. Generally all kinds of filth.

Master – Lance, Heavy armour, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Cloak of Twilight, Dark Pegasus – 188pts

Im going to call this his trouble shooter/assassin. With a 1+ save and boosted toughness (4) and wounds (3) due to the mount, he is quite defensive. The lance and cloak give him a good alpha strike at Str 6, ASF, killing blow and D3 wounds in the first round of combat. The mount adds to this, as also gets +1 Str on the charge. If I could get a charge off onto him with the Doombull it would help as he would only be Str 4 so I’d still get a 2+ save, killing blow wouldn’t work on the model and he wouldn’t get rerolls due to my i10. The D3 wounds are still a worry though, especially if he charges me as my save then becomes 4+.

Core

5 Dark Riders – Musician, Standard, Lt armour, shield, Spear, repeater xbow – 120pts

5 Dark Riders – Musician, Standard, Lt armour, shield, Spear, repeater xbow – 120pts

5 Dark Riders – Musician, Standard, Lt armour, shield, Spear, repeater xbow – 120pts

Luke has already shown me that he uses these guys to great effect and completely blocked me from moving/charging on my first turn. I’ll have to learn from that error. He is also partial to putting them in a conga line (as do many others). Something I refuse to do out of principle as I dislike doing things I feel are too ‘gamey’. It’s why you will never see slayer darts in my lists. If it could give me a bit of a handicap, so be it. This time the units are actually armed with crossbows.

27 Witch Elves – AHW, Full Command, Razor Standard – 372pts

With between 2-4 ASF poisoned, initiative 6 attacks, these ladies could mince through my units. The saving grace is their strength 3 requires a 5+ to wound, however poison, augmented with the rerolls to hit, could help bypass this entirely. On top of that they can reroll 1’s to wound. This is one of the reasons the unit combined with cauldron is so feared in combat.

They can be frenzy baited but with the bsb in the unit, it reduces the likelyhood.

The razor standard isn’t a biggie as almost nothing in my list has armour (which is why poison is such a pain as it negates my one defence – toughness).

At the other end of the scale, they are standard, T3 squishy elves and aren’t the only ones with rerolls to hit. The cauldron does give them a 5++ ward so they aren’t entirely defenceless but like my troops offence remains their best defence.

Special

Cold One Knights – Full Command, Lance, Heavy armour, Shield, Cold One, Banner of Eternal Flame – 310pts

These are some of my favourite GW sculpts. And bar a few early 90’s Marauder models are the only Dark elves I own. They suffer from all the flaws of elves and Cavalry in general, relying on the initial charge to damage and armour saves to survive the grind afterwards. The cold one mounts help with this but could also hinder due to stupidity (though with the general in the unit this is highly unlikely). My Doombull does rock a 2++ ward vs fire based attacks so could cause all sorts of issues for this unit. However, my Ungor Raiders held up the unit for almost 3 turns last game, so there are a number of options for dealing with them.

Har Ganeth Executioners – Full Command, Great Weapon, Heavy Armour – 306pts

With T3 and a 5+ save, they will fall over to a stiff breeze. However as with most dark elves, they are all about the offence, as shown in my last report. The great weapons will prevent their rerolls, but S6 will ensure they wound on a 2+ in most cases and high initiative will see them striking first. The killing blow skill will make almost no difference to me as I have very few multi-wound non monstrous models and no armour.

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Evaluation

Not much has changed since we last fought. The big changes are the Doomfire Warlocks are gone, due to the wizard level restrictions. In their place comes the Master on Dark Peg’. Smart deployment to prevent his previous game dark rider shenanigans will be key, together with knowing what I need to do to win the scenarios.

Scenarios

1. Eliminate

His bounty tokens will be placed on: Witch Elves, Executioners and the Cold One Knights. My will be on my Gor, Bestigor and a Chariot.

So if I were Luke, what would I do? As normal, the chariot is my weak link.  The Dark Peg could easily take it down but then a unit or 2 of harassing Dark riders also stand a high chance of doing so through massed shooting and there isn’t a huge amount I can do about that. Perhaps place the chariot in the opposite corner to my troops with the flank guarded by screening Ungor (the other flank by a table edge). Make it so shooting is through hard cover or else they risk a chariot charge. Again vs the Peg, the Ungor would form a screen and at least the peg would be out of the way for a turn. I could also start my doombull there if necessary but he could have better uses (it would depend on other deployment). I could also use the chariot as bait…

His witches will be gunning for any of my units in the knowledge that they should beat them in a straight fight. I’ll just have to use chaff to block them so if they charge they will overrun to an unfavourable location (trying to get a flank of course).

His Knights will be wanting to avoid the Bestigors at all costs as their numbers and weapons will give them the edge.

His executioners would take a heavy toll on either of my units but my numbers should see me through in a ‘fair’ fight.

From my side I want the Bestigor in his Knights and Gor into the executioners whilst holding up the witches.

This game will ultimately come down to chaff. Who can use it the most effectively.

It is also a game where I will want the Bestigors in bus not horde formation (though perhaps 6-7 wide).

2. Dawn Attack

The table is divided into quarters. 1pt given for each of yours, 2pts each for your opponents side. You need to have the most fortitude in a quadrant to capture it.

This is an issue for me as he has a shed load more fortitude. He has 6 separate units with fortitude and can add the bsb and general to increase the units fortitude (to a max of 9).

His General will likely be in the Knights (for a fort’ of 3, but he could move to a under strength rider unit to boost it). The BSB will go in the witches to give that a fort’ of 2.

3 of the units with standards are Dark riders, making it essential that I kill at least 1 model off them as it will drop them under scoring strength (and hope there is no regrowth). This is essential as their mobility will allow them to steal quadrants. If I can target the one that perhaps bunkers his Mage it would be an added bonus.

The most I can manage is one block with fort’ of 2 and one with a fort’ of 3. So this will be an uphill struggle.

3. Invade

This is played lengthways and you need to get more fort’ into your opponents half. This will likely end up as a battleline fight. Although taking my units in horde would effective block a chunk of the table, due to his sheer damage output and higher initiative, bus formation will likely be better for me (at least with the Bestigor – though it will be 6-7 wide).

The Doombull may have to play backfield to catch any darkriders that slip through.

4. Secure

You get one point per piece of terrain you hold (it’s double if in the opponents side). Again I’m at a disadvantage as unless I move my General or BSB into each Ungor Raiders unit (highly unlikely but you never know as it could turn a defeat into a victory or at least a draw), the most I can capture is two bits of terrain vs his 6 and so will definitely need to advance to capture terrain on his half whilst destroying any  fortitude units I encounter on route (are you noticing a trend here?). I’ll have to almost treat this as a battleline game but make sure I’m in scenery at the end. Thinking about it, the general in Ungor is looking more attractive, despite the drawbacks.

5. Loot

3 tokens placed, one in the middle and the other 2 on the central line, at least 12″ apart. The player who holds the most wins. In this case, I am considering grouping them on one side of the table rather than have them spread out as this might actually favour me, especially with his fast moving units. The question is, will he charge forward with the fast cav to capture them and then retreat trying to slip them through the gaps of the blocks moving up behind them.

This is a tricky one as I do want his blocks to have the tokens to reduce their mobility rather than the riders. The good news is they only need to lose 1 model to lose fortitude and thus the token.

6. Wicked woods

Holding the woods is key and moving into it early is essential. You have to hold it for at least 7 player turns (of 12) to ensure a win. The key will be to move as much chaff forward as possible to obstruct his blocks at every turn to maximise the turns a unit is in it. Everything not in the woods becomes sacrificial, whether chaff, doombull or Bestigor.

Last time we played he got the jump on me, so if we play this again, I need to ensure that I get the upper hand, maybe by placing the harpies centrally so their 20″ march can block any unit he wants to move into the woods.

 

My First game of the competition will be against Luke next Friday (29th)

The Green Machine

Following on from the last post, in this one i’ll look at the next member of Group A. Namely Alistair and his Orc and Goblin army.

I’ve only ever played Alistair at Kings of War and he showed a frightening ability to learn from previous games and adapt his list and tactics. As such, although he may not have played 8th for some time, I can’t underestimate him and suspect his list is based on previous, well worked lists.

Again I give a warning to readers, this will be quite long, wordy, very few pictures and is really for me, so if you have no real interest in warhammer fantasy and my list musings I’d stop reading now and no offence will be taken!

OnG’s hold a special place in my warhammer heart and are the one army where I’m almost certain to run a reasonably fluffy list. Back in 3rd edition you had to take at least 1 unit each of 20 goblin ‘warriors’ and 20 goblin archers. As such I still almost always have a unit of each (though the archers are now by default night goblins). As such I was very curious to see what Alistair would bring.

Characters

Orc Warboss (General) – Armour of Destiny, Gold Sigil Sword, Wyvern – 340pts

The basic stats of the Orc warboss match those of my Beastlord, except he has one less point of movement and initiative. This means he is naturally tough and strong without upgrades. To make up for his obvious one lacking area, he has been boosted to initiative 10 (with the bonus of having a magic sword). He’s also been given a 4+ save and 4++ ward. Mounting him on a wyvern gives a hard hitting mount and also boosts his general’s bubble to 18″.

Black Orc Big Boss (BSB) – Tormentor Sword, Armour of Fortune, Shield – 157pts

The compulsory bsb. He is as tough as the general and reasonably well protected with a 4+ save and 5++ ward. Again he has a cheap magic sword that will allow him to deal with ethereal and gives any monster or character he wounds, the stupidity rule. Being a Black Orc, he is able to quell animosity (by causing D6 Str 5 hits on his unit – basically bashing heads together!).

Orc Shaman – level 2, Power Scroll – 135pts

A low level shaman. His scroll allows him to, once, halve the cost of any spell. This can be a nasty surprise, especially if it is a low magic phase as it will allow something like Foot of Gork to be cast when you are not expecting it!

Orc Big Boss – Spear, Lt Armour, Shield, Dragonhelm, Crown of Command, War boar – 120pts

This boss will obviously go in the Boar boyz unit. He is armed to be tanky with a 2+ save and 2++ ward vs fire attacks. The Crown of Command will allow the unit to always take an leadership tests on an 8 (or 9 if in the general’s range).

Black Orc Big Boss – Sword of Swift Slaying, Heavy Armour, Shield – 117pts

Another black orc to place in a unit of boyz to quell animosity. The sword will overcome the low initiative of the Black Orc, allowing him to have a chance of removing threats to him.

Goblin Big Boss – Ruby Ring of Ruin, Giant Wolf – 72pts

The boss is a cheap way of improving the leadership of a unit that could well be out of range of the general. The Ring gives another decent cheap spell to cast to supplement the 2 shamans.

Orc Shaman – level 2, Ironcurse Icon – 105pts

Another low level shaman. Has the ability to give a 6++ ward vs warmachines to him and his unit (not that this will be of any use against me with my total lack of them).

Core

19 Orc Big ‘Uns – FC, AHW, War banner – 241pts

A fairly small unit of boyz. Upgraded to orc ‘elite’. They are comparable to my Gor (with the beast banner embedded). It is likely one of the black orc bosses will be in the unit and if they fail an animosity test it could really reduce their effectiveness due to the wounds caused. This is probably why they have the banner that adds +1 to the combat resolution.

40 Orc Boyz – FC, Lt armour, shield – 315pts

A solid block of boyz. In a straight face off, my two blocks should both be capable of beating this but probably not without suffering numerous casualties in return.

26 Arrer Boyz – FC, Bow, Lt armour – 212pts

I’ve found the best way to treat arrer boyz is as a normal block of orc boyz, that just happen to have a ranged capability too.

9 Wolf Riders – FC, short bow, Lt armour, giant wolf – 129pts

Its quite unusual to see a single unit at this size (although saying that, I also like to run them like this). This unit is a prime candidate for my Doombull

Special

9 Boar Boyz – FC, Spear, Lt armour, shield, War boars, Rangers Standard – 265pts

A very hard hitting unit if they get the charge off. Spears and choppers rule will give them Str 5 on the charge, which matches the boars. With the character added to it, combined with their 3+ save they are a pretty tanky tarpit too. The standard will mean they won’t have to take any dangerous terrain tests.

6 Trolls – 210pts

Standard trolls so no -1 to hit. The vomit attack is of no use on most of my army as I have negligible armour saves, so instead we have the standard 18 Str 5 monstrous infantry attacks. Nothing to be sniffed at. Oh and they are tough and have a 4+ regen save (of which I have no flaming attacks to negate). The downside is the low leadership and stupidity rule, meaning they will need to go near to the general to be effective.

Rare

Doom Diver Catapult – 80pts

This is the one credible threat to the doombull as it will ignore armour and causes D6 Str 5 hits. The ability to adjust any misses makes it particularly dangerous.

Ok this is my old Marauder wyvern not Alistairs


Evaluation

Sadly no pump wagons, snotlings or blocks of goblin infantry (though on the upside barely any artillery, no black orc boyz or savage orcs). A lot of the random elements that are in the book have been left out, instead a solid ‘reliable’ mass of orc boyz, backed up with black orc characters to help remove the animosity that can foil an Orc generals plans. He also has 5 units with fortitude (one of which can be bumped up with the bsb to get an extra pip of fortitude). This will give him an advantage in some scenarios against me.

As a general rule, orcs are tough and not that dissimilar to Beastmen in stats. Where they differ is they have a lower weapon skill in general (meaning my troops will hit on a 3+ vs the Orcs return hits on a 4+), have a lower initiative (so will strike last) and a lower movement. They do gain an additional point of Str in the first round of combat but also suffer from animosity which can be both a boon and a drawback. However his 2 main units of orc infantry will likely have a Black Orc big boss in each meaning they will not suffer from it (though could suffer D6 Str 5 hits if they do fail it, which realistically means the wolf riders and boar boyz are the units that might fail the test.

He has taken a gamble on magic, with only 2 low level shamans and no dispel scroll so this may give me an edge.

As with Martin’s Dwarves, he has only 8 drops to my 10 so I’ll have the edge on him which should help with some scenarios.

His general being on a monster, means it can’t join units and so cannot assist with scenarios that require fortitude (bar killing stuff of course). I might again be able to use this to my advantage.

Scenarios

1. Eliminate 

The bounties will be placed on his 40 Orc boyz, Orc Big Uns and Boar boyz respectively, whilst mine are on the Gor, Bestigor and one of the Chariots.
This means he could leave one unit (e.g. the Big ‘Uns) protected (perhaps on the central objective) and this would still leave his Trolls and Arrer boyz to assist in hunting down my two units. The Doom Diver will likely be gunning for my chariot so i’ll have to ensure it is only dropped after the diver to make sure it out of range. This will mean that the wolf riders and general will likely be gunning for it as an easy two points.

2. Dawn Attack

The table is divided into quarters. 1pt given for each of yours, 2pts each for your opponents side. You need to have the most fortitude in a quadrant to capture it.

With 5 units capable of capturing, he has the advantage here. The Wolf Riders (and to some extent the Boar Boyz) will be his quick reaction force able to run and capture anything unattended. As such i’ll want to eliminate them quickly. This would then leave us both with a combined fortitude of 5 (though he would still have the edge on capturing quadrants, as his fortitude is split between 4 units).

3. Invade

This is played length ways and you need to get more fort’ into your opponents half. No two ways about it, I can see this will end up a straight fight as we both storm forward. I’ll have to use my chaff smartly to weigh the matchups in my favour. Bestigor may have to go 6 wide and in 7 ranks for this one rather than horde formation.

4. Secure

You get one point per piece of terrain you hold (it’s double if in the opponents side).

I will really struggle with this one and will have no option but to take the fight to him to reduce the number of terrain items he can capture.

5. Loot

3 tokens placed, one in the middle and the other 2 on the central line, at least 12″ apart. The player who holds the most wins. I’ll have to treat this one in a similar way I would the dwarves. The difference is I don’t necessarily need to capture them first. With the sheer number of his units, Alistair can afford to try and capture all three if needed.

6. Wicked woods

I can’t treat this any differently to the dwarf game. Capture the woods and throw everything else forward to get in the way.

Master of the Longbeards 

In a series of three posts, I’ll be looking at the army lists of my opponents in Group A of the competition, evaluating the army and then trying to work out how I would win the scenarios in their shoes.

Fair warning to readers, this will be quite long, wordy, very few pictures and is really for me, so if you have no real interest in warhammer fantasy and my list musings I’d stop reading now and no offence will be taken!

The first of these posts will focus on the Dwarven Throng of Martin H. Now I will state, straight off the bat, that Martins original list was partly re-written by Steve (my co-adjudicator) to make it ‘comp legal’ and then refined my myself to replace the most glaring uncompetitive elements (e.g. remove Brimstone cannons on the Gyros), fixing the odd clash of items (having both Great weapons and Runic Weapons on a character, when you can only use one) and adding additional artillery runes. Martin was very happy with the choices so kept with the revised list. So what was the composition?

Characters

Dwarf Lord (General) – MRo Gromril, Oath Stone, GW, 3*Ro Warding – 251pts

I like this lord. He is very defensive with a 1+ armour save and 4++ ward. He also pumps out 4 ASL, Str 6 attacks. Giving him an Oath stone is clever as it means his unit,  if charged in the flank or rear, never lose their rank bonus and still get their parry saves (which would be 5++ in the first round due to shieldwall). The downside is he has to accept challenges but with his saves, that shouldn’t be an issue. They also cannot flee as a charge reaction (as if Dwarves would) but this isn’t an issue for this list, as none of his main units have that option anyway due to immune to psych’.

Thane (bsb) – Gromril armour, shield, MRo Valaya – 158pts

A fairly standard bsb with 3+ save. The banner adds to the inbuilt dwarf Magic resistance and ensures they will dispel at +4 (so they will match or exceed all enemy cast bonuses from the wizard level). It has an added bonus of allowing you to dispel all ‘remains in play’ spells on a 3+, crucially without using dispel dice (and also without checking the rulebook, I believe it occurs out of sequence, so at the start of the Dwarf players turn. This means it can get rid of items that might impact movement). Suffice to say this is one of my favourite runic banners.

Runesmith – Gromril armour, shield, Ro Stone, Ro Spellbreaking, Ro Passage – 103pts

Again there is nothing surprising in this build, not that it makes it any less effective. A 2+ save with auto dispel rune. The Ro passenge allows his unit to avoid taking dangerous terrain tests but has mainly been taken as you can’t have duplicate rune combos. The great passive effect of the Runesmith is he gives his unit AP. When you are packing all Str 4 troops this is essential for beating armour saves (as combined gives a -2 to armour saves).

Runesmith – Gromril armour, shield, Ro Stone, Ro Spellbreaking – 93pts

A carbon copy of the above but without the Ro Passage. Each of these will be placed in a different unit as the AP effect doesn’t stack.

Core

28 Longbeards – Full Command (FC), shields – 394pts

This is a solid unit of elite dwarves. Immune to psychology so they can’t flee as a reaction (and ignore fear etc.) 4+ save with T4 makes them reasonably defensive and they have the numbers to stick around. My only issue with them is I’ve found them to lack punch against really tough armoured opponents.

28 Longbeards – Full Command (FC), shields, Ro Stolicism – 429pts

As above but the banner rune makes them stubborn, so no matter what they will always take any leadership test on at least a 9 (or 10 if in range of the general). This means they will hardly ever run and will have to be killed to the last Dwarf.

28 Longbeards – Full Command (FC), shields, Ro Stolicism, Ro Sanctuary – 444pts

As above but with an additional rune (again due to the runic item duplication restriction) that gives Magic resistance (1). This means that against direct damage spells their save improves by +1 (to 3+).

10 Quarrellers – standard, GW, Heavy armour – 150pts

A small unit of shooters to protect the warmachines and shoot up enemy chaff. The standard allows them to capture/score in many of the scenarios and the Great Weapons gives them Str 5 in combat as standard.

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Special

2 * Gyrocoptors (run as 2 single units of one) – Steam Gun – (2 * 80pts =) 160pts

The Dwarf chaff unit and I still rate this as one of the best chaff/harassment units (if not the best) in the game (the others being Dark Riders, Razorgor & the Ogre Cat). It is the ability to fly, drop bombs when marching and the template weapon that make me rate it so highly. The drawback is, I often find it so useful that I don’t actually like using it as a throw-away unit, which is why I labelled it also as a harassment unit. The price puts it more in line with a chariot than a true throw-away unit such as the Razor or Cat.

Cannon – Ro Forging – 145pts

The compulsory cannon. Given forging to reroll misfires. This will be deadly for my Doombull and is a priority to eradicate.

Rare

Organ Gun – Ro Forging, Ro Accuracy – 170pts

Ah the organ gun. You know it, you love it (if a dwarf) or hate it (if you are on the receiving end). With runes it will cause between 2-20 Str 5 AP hits. Hitting on a 3+ at short range, 4+ at long, rerolling one misfire dice. The 30″ range is what sets it apart and makes it superior in my eyes (and even before runes are taken into consideration) from the hellblaster. This thing can be deadly and I need to find a way to neutralise it. At the very least, a wall of Ungor Raiders, will provide hard cover for my units giving the OG -2 to hit.

Evaluation

Ok, above I stated my issue with this Longbeard build is it lacks punch. However with 3 such units and the synergies with the Lords oathstone, the banners and AP from the Runesmiths, it becomes more of a game of attrition with the dwarves blunting the initial attacks and then grinding the enemy down. It is very dwarfy and could be very effective, especially if enemy units were first softened up with shooting. They also have the advantage of hitting my blocks on a 3+ vs my 4+ back at them, though they will normally only wound on a 4+ (as will my Gor). The Bestigor will have the advantage in this though as the GW’s will wound on a 2+ and will ignore the armour save.

In general, he has 3 slow combat blocks. I have plenty of chaff that can be used to slow them down. I can see Razorgor being used to assassinate his runesmiths. The Harpies will have to target the cannon as a priority and the Doombull the Gyro’s. The chariots will be used to distract the cannon (hopefully!).

With only 8 drops to my 10, I’ll have the edge on him and with the scenarios, he won’t be able to castle (probably why he has the rarely seen 3 combat blocks).

Scenarios

So if I were using this army, how would I try and win each scenario?

Full details of the scenarios are here but I will give a small recap of the objectives of each.

1. Eliminate

His 3 bounty tokens will be on his 3 combat blocks. Mine will be on: the Gor horde: the Bestigor horde: One of my Chariots (Yikes!). Thankfully he picks the chariot before deployment. This means I will place this out of range of his cannon and as far away from his troops as possible and will play hide the chariot. The Doombull can start near it, to intercept any pesky Gyros.

With an additional token in the centre of the board, it makes sense for his 3 blocks to start centrally ready to ‘surge’ (ok shuffle, they are dwarves) forward to capture that if possible. With poor movement they can’t start too far away. He will likely try to soften up my forces first with shooting. I will definitely be trying to flank his forces with one of my blocks and will try and deploy on one side of the board (on the opposite side to the OG). If he’s smart that side will have the unit with oathstone.

2. Dawn Attack

The table is divided into quarters. 1pt given for each of yours, 2pts each for your opponents side. You need to have the most fortitude in a quadrant to capture it.

This is an issue for me as he has more. He has 4 separate units with fortitude and can add the bsb and general to increase the units fortitude. This makes it likely that he will hold one quadrant with his shooters (art + quarrellers), another with his other blocks (he could have it so his fortitude was 3 in one quad and 4 in the other). He could then advance to capture one of mine.

The most I can manage is one block with fort’ of 2 and one with a fort’ of 3. However I look at it, I’m at a disadvantage and will have to destroy a number of his blocks to win (or try and pin them into just one quadrant). In theory the quarrellers is the weak link. As with everything, deployment is key. Using his blocks size and movement against him.

3. Invade

This is played lengthways and you need to get more fort’ into your opponents half. My speed gives me a bit of an advantage, however the narrow width means his shooting will be far more deadly and as soon as I get in range the organ gun could punish me. The saving grace on that is that he will have to advance his troops early to ensure he can move into my half and they may block his lines of fire with careful placement. Although I’d love to hang back and intercept and destroy his blocks in order to avoid his shooting and then advance to his half, if he times his advance to my side well and with the stubborn nature of his blocks, it would be a huge gamble.

4. Secure

You get one point per piece of terrain you hold (it’s double if in the opponents side). Again I’m at a disadvantage as unless I move my General or BSB into each Ungor Raiders unit (highly unlikely but you never know as it could turn a defeat into a victory or at least a draw), the most I can capture is two bits of terrain vs his four and so will definitely need to advance to capture terrain on his half whilst destroying any  fortitude units I encounter on route (are you noticing a trend here?). I’ll have to almost treat this as a battleline game but make sure I’m in scenery at the end. Thinking about it, the general in Ungor is looking more attractive, despite the drawbacks.

5. Loot

3 tokens placed, one in the middle and the other 2 on the central line, at least 12″ apart. The player who holds the most wins. Logic dictates I need to spread them out across the table rather than have them all on one side, as that will favour Martin, especially with his unit advantage and low movement. I should also consider going only 5 wide on both units as I want to grab a counter fast and hold onto it so steadfast will definitely be one to do. Chaff will be key to holding him up. The Ungor trick might be viable if one is uncontested on the far side but will have to watch out for the Gyros.

If I had the dwarves, would I play the odds game and send a block for each token or would I concentrate on two, using artillery to cover the others? I’d probably use the blocks to capture 2 of them and if unopposed try and sneak the third with my quarrellers.

6. Wicked woods

Holding the woods is key and moving into it early is essential. You have to hold it for at least 7 player turns (of 12) to ensure a win. The key will be to move as much chaff forward as possible to obstruct his blocks at every turn to maximise the turns a unit is in it. Everything not in the woods becomes sacrificial, whether chaff, doombull or Bestigor.

The question becomes if he has practiced the scenario and whether the damage that the wood causes will out him off moving in early.

WHFB – Beastmen vs Skaven

This week I had lined up a game against Paul. He hadn’t played 8th Edition for a few years now but he was one of the club members who had signed up to the competition and so wanted to re-familiarise himself with the rules. I jumped at the chance to have a game and not just because he is another club member who I’ve not had the pleasure playing before but also because he has a horde of Skaven and last time I fought them was in 4th Edition! Suffice to say I was looking forward to the game immensely.

I will say before writing, that it was another game cut short (3 turns). Unlike normal, it wasn’t just down to chatting whilst playing but also due to taking time out to draw the groups for the club Warhammer Competition.

Lists

Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent

Bashor the Bloody – Beastlord (General), ogre blade, armour of destiny, shield – 238pts

Khazbar the Magnificent – Great Bray Shaman, level 4 – Lore of Beasts, Talisman of Protection, Brass Cleaver, jagged dagger – 335pts

Zurrock the Mighty – Wargor (bsb), HA, shield, Beast Banner – 191pts

Wazzock the Lame – Bray Shaman, level 1 – Lore of Shadow, dispel scroll – 100pts

Cattleclysm – Doombull, Arabyan carpet, gold sigil sword, dragonbane gem, ramhorn helm, gnarled hide, HA, shield – 353pts

48 Gor, FC, AHW – 409pts

1 Tusgor chariot – 80pts

1 Tusgor chariot – 80pts

5 Ungor raiders – 30pts

5 Ungor raiders – 30pts

37 Bestigor, FC, Standard of Discipline – 489pts

1 Razorgor – 55pts

1Razorgor – 55pts

5 Harpies – 55pts

Skaven

Grey Seer – Earthing Rod, Skalm, Screaming Bell – 495pts

Chieftain – BSB – HA, Charmed Shield – 75pts

Plague Priest – Flail, Dispel Scroll – 129pts

Warlock Engineer – Warpmusket, Doomrocket – 60pts

Doomwheel – 150pts

Hell Pit Abomination – 250pts

31 Clanrats, FC, Light Armour, Sh, Ratling Gun weapon team – 210pts

31 Clanrats, FC, Light Armour, Sh, Ratling Gun weapon team – 210pts

20 Plague Monks – FC, AHW, Plague Banner – 195pts

31 Stormvermin – FC, HA, Halberd, Razor Standard, Doom Flayer weapon team – 335pts

3 Rat Ogres – Packmaster – 128pts

5 Giant Rats – Packmaster – 23pts

5 Giant Rats – Packmaster – 23pts

7 Gutter Runners – 126pts

Warp Lightning Cannon – 90pts

Scenario

We randomly rolled for the Scenario and would you believe it, I ended up with the Wicked Woods scenario again (scenario list here). As Paul had not played this before we stuck with it for the game.

Terrain and Pre-match rolls

And just to continue the trend, we rolled map pack 4 (the same as my last game) which meant a river, 2 normal hills, 2 scree slopes and a forest.

After placing the terrain (including the additional wood from the scenario), it looked like this.

1. Terrain

1. Terrain

It terms of spell selection:

Khazbar ended up with: Curse of Anheir, Wyssans Wildform, Pann’s Impenetrable Pelt and Savage Beast of Horros.

Wazzock took Miasma

The Grey Seer got: Vermintide, Cloud of Corruption, Plague and Curse of the Horned Rat.

The Plague Priest took Pestilent Breath

Deployment

Deployment is as per battle line so alternate. Paul placed the first unit and finished first so got the advantage to the first turn roll off (which he won, doubtless through some nefarious Skaven underhanded tactic!)

After the careless deployment in my previous game, I was far more rigid with it this time. The Gor Horde went front and centre to capture the woods with the Bestigor next to them. The rest of the Chaff and Chariots surrounded the two main blocks with the Doombull backing them up. This ensured that the majority of the army was within the BSB/General bubble. Again the river was impeding us but this should work in my favour with the Skaven reliance on ranks for leadership.

After his scouts deployed, it looked like this.

2. Deployment

2. Deployment3. Deployment4. Deployment5. Deployment6. Deployment7. Deployment

Turn 1 – Skaven

The chittering horde scurried forward, responding to the commands of the albino rat hiding behind the giant bell, with the exception of the elite rats who hung back waiting for their weaker kin to begin the initial assault. The battle line, if one could label a horde of vermin as such, split in two as it skirted the Wicked Woods. On one flank the gruesome monstrosity surged towards the beastmen lines at a particularly worrying speed.

In the Beastmen flank the Clan Eshin novitiates sprung their ambush, with a hail of poisoned stars announcing their presence peppering the nearest Razorgor. In their eagerness to prove their worth, the hapless rats fumbled most of their shots only wounding the animal.

The Warp Lightning Cannon, slowly built up its charge. The whine of motors could be heard from Beastmen’s side of the river. As the noise got louder the ratmen crew could be seen abandoning the machine just before it exploded.

3. Skaven turn 1

8. Turn 1 Skaven9. Turn 1 Skaven

Turn 1 – Beastmen

Bashor took one look at the hybrid WyrmRat advancing towards his bodyguard and in a fit of cunning, that had shown his right to lead the herd, ordered forward the unit of raiders to get in the way of the monster. The petrified little things unsurprisingly failed to wound it with their bow-fire. The two nearby chariots, moved so that they would each get a charge off on it depending on what it targeted next turn.

The horde of Gor advanced up to the river, ready to contest the Wicked Woods, supported on both sides by Razorgor. The other unit of Ungor Raiders also advanced up to the natural barrier of the river in order to target the Giant rats (of which they managed to slay one in a dazzling display of shooting).

The rest of the herd manoeuvred so that the Eshin scouts would be in trouble in the following turn.

The winds of magic blew strongly and Khazbar cast wildform onto Bashor and his bodyguard in order to further improve their chances vs the Abomb. His pupil, Wazzock then cast Miasma onto one of the Ratling crews as they were both lined up and had a good view of his unit too.

4. Beasts turn 1

10. Turn 1 Beastmen11. Turn 1 Beasts12. Turn 1 Beasts13. Turn 1 Beasts14. Turn 1 Beasts15. Turn 1 Beasts

Turn 2 – Skaven

Most of vermin units slowed their advance to a crawl. Now they good see them closely, none of the rats were eager to get to grips with the obviously superior humanoid specimens in front of them. The exceptions were: A group of giant rats that were driven up to provide a distraction: The Abomb, that smashed through the paper shield of Ungor, over running deep into the corner of the Beastmen deployment zone and the Doomwheel that careened up to the unit of harpies that had been edging over to the far edge of the battlefield and promptly fried one of them.

The Gutter runners, showing they were true Skaven, decided to pick on someone smaller than themselves and targeted the remaining unit of Raiders. Despite killing 3 of the 5 Ungors the plucky beasts refused to let themselves be cowed by the slinking rats (my first ever snake eyes break test – woot!).

On the other flank the two Ratling teams fired up their weapons. The first, still under the effects of a miasma, shot up an empty piece of ground. The second, lost control and managed to gun down a few of their own unit, narrowly missing the Grey Seer who had to duck inside the safety of the Great Bell to avoid being hit. A few seconds later he leapt out of the bell and grabbed hold of the frame to steady himself as the clapper struck and it let out an unholy clamour, the unit surging forward in response.

From the height of his new perch, the Seer spotted an opportunity and cast an irresistible Plague on the Bestigor. 7 of their number fell to the foul magics, which then jumped to the nearby Gor unit fully taking out almost 2/5ths of them! The feedback from the spell inflicted a wound on the Plague Priest who glared daggers at the Seer.

5. Skaven turn 2
The utterly cunning positioning of my chariots is revealed!

16. Turn 2 Skaven17. Turn 2 Skaven18. Turn 2 Skaven19. Turn 2 Skaven20. Turn 2 Skaven

Turn 2 – Beastmen

Realising that the herd had to get into combat to avoid the enemy magic, Bashor ordered his forces to advance. The remains of the Gor moved into the river, ready to capture the wicked woods in the following turn. The Bestigor also advanced up to the edge of the river.

One Chariot charged the Abomb inflicting a single wound (surprise! Oh he didn’t die, bugger). The other, backed up with one of the Razorgor, removed the offending giant rats that were in front of them. The Doombull charged the Gutter Runners who turned tail and fled, squirting fear musk. They didn’t run too far and were massacred in short order.

The rest of the chaff moved to block as many of the remaining Skaven force as possible.

6. Beasts turn 221. Turn 2 Beasts22. Turn 2 Beasts23. Turn 2 Beasts24. Turn 2 Beasts

Turn 3 – Skaven

With an excited squeak, one of the units of clanrats charged into the flank of the Razorgor. They were boosted by the Power of the Screaming Bell, as a Wall of Unholy Sound echoed across the battlefield giving them each an extra attack. The sheer number of these allowed them to make short work of the oversized pig and they reformed to face the sea of snorting Bestigor. The Seer supported this attack by summoning a swarm of rats that engulfed the nearest chariot, slightly damaging it. The Ratling weapon crew, glanced nervously at the Grey Seer and with a determination to save their skins, finished off the chariot.

The nearby Warlock crouched down and launched a rocket into the Bestigor. The resultant explosion, launched bodies everywhere and left the unit at under half its starting strength.

The Abomb made short work of the chariot that had dared to wound it.

7. Skaven turn 3

25. Turn 3 Skaven26. Turn 3 Skaven27. Turn 3 Skaven28. Turn 3 Skaven

Turn 3 – Beastmen

The harpies charged into the flank of the Giant Rats. In spectacular style they failed to kill anything and 3 of their number were slain in response. Shockingly they didn’t run.

The Doombull crashed into the Doomwheel but didn’t do enough damage to destroy it (it survived on a single wound).

The Bestigor, looking to avenge their losses on someone, charged into the river to vent their fury on the clanrats. A load of dead rats later (aided by the rank bonuses cancelled as both units were in the river), the clanrats fled and were run down (including the rat’s BSB).

In the final movement of the game, the remains of the Gor moved into the Wicked Woods, sustaining four wounds in the process.

8. Beasts turn 3

29. Turn 3 Beasts30 Turn 3 Beasts

Results

With a unit in the woods for 1 turn it was a 1-0 victory to the Beastmen (not that we were really gunning for the victory but I’ll take it as a moral one)

Conclusions

Holy shit, the Skaven are vicious. The amount of casualties his magic and the doom rocket caused was obscene (plague caused 25 in one cast with a further 12 from the rocket). I was not expecting that at all. It is random as anything though, so you can easily see how it could have also not done as well. For instance, the Doom Rocket landed directly on the Bestigor but could have massively overshot.

I love the randomness of them, sure playing Orcs and Goblins can be very fun but the Rats take it to a whole new level. It’s impossible not to laugh even as you lose half a unit!

If I have taken one thing from this battle it’s I need to be far more aggressive and storm forward my large units. They are large enough to be intimidating and should not worry too much about combat casualties from quite a few units (or should be able to inflict a reasonable number in return). It won’t work in every situation but definitely something to keep in mind.

Well that is probably it for the practice as next up the competition games.

The Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent – 2017 SELWG whfb competition list

As I am running the comp this year, I committed to bringing an army that no one else was using (if possible). One of the reasons was so I’d not bias the army restrictions as I wouldn’t know what I was taking. Of the many I own, it was looking likely to be a toss up between Wood elves and Beastmen. I actually had no preference between them as would happily use either but with the majority of lists in, there was a good chance that one of the other entrants would be using wood elves so I duly submitted my list to Steve M (my nominated 2nd adjudicator) so he could check it (and ensure I qualified for the bonus points of course). If you are curious, the other possible options not being taken were: Tomb Kings, Daemons and Ogres – non of which I own.

So with the army chosen by process of elimination, I decided to use the list taken in my last game.


Khazbar was perplexed. It wasn’t a feeling he was used to or even understood. His position had been clear, he was the voice of the gods and leader of the herd. Sure there had been a few set backs but that hardly warranted the rise of Bashor to usurp his position as head of the tribe. Only his quick thinking, mixed with a fair amount of grovelling had allowed him to keep his position as shaman and indeed his head. It had been a calculated risk to ‘gift’ the suit of armour and axe of strength to the new chief but that combined with the hint of more to follow had allowed him to retain a semblance of power, second only to Bashor.


Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent 

Bashor the Bloody – Beastlord (General), Ogre Blade, Armour of Destiny, shield – 238pts

Khazbar the Magnificent – Great Bray Shaman, level 4 – Lore of Beasts, Talisman of Protection, Brass Cleaver, jagged dagger – 335pts

Zurrock the Mighty – Wargor (bsb), Heavy Armour, shield, Beast Banner – 191pts

Wazzock the Lame – Bray Shaman, level 1 – Lore of Shadow, Dispel scroll – 100pts

Cattleclysm – Doombull, Arabyan carpet, Gold Sigil sword, Dragonbane gem, Ramhorn helm, Gnarled hide, Heavy Armour, shield – 353pts

48 Gor, Full Command, Additional Hand Weapon – 409pts

1 Tusgor chariot – 80pts

1 Tusgor chariot – 80pts

5 Ungor raiders – 30pts

5 Ungor raiders – 30pts

37 Bestigor, Full Command, Heavy Armour, Standard of Discipline – 489pts

1 Razorgor – 55pts

1Razorgor – 55pts

5 Harpies – 55pts

Total – 2,500pts

I’ve again gone with a Beastlord as my general. Putting him in the Bestigor with their standard gives him a 12″ LD 10 bubble, which should ensure units stick around or at least rally. The Ogre Blade gives him S7 and together with hatred will allow him to match the Bestigors damage output. The armour should provide an element of survivability.

Khazbar is tooled for combat to try and generate additional power dice. The cleaver will help get more attacks and if he goes in the Gor horde with the bsb, he will be on S5 with AP, before any buffs, which should help with units the Gor by themselves would struggle against. He has kept Lore of Beasts, if only due to the abysmal showing last time. I’m still not convinced that Shadow isn’t the way to go but at least this way I’ll get a good run of games to give Beasts a go, to finally make up my mind.

The BSB and Doombull are running the same loadouts as normal. The BSB will likely go in the Gor to bump them to S4. The Doombull will fly around making a nuisance of himself.

Wazzock is being used as a scroll caddy. I dropped the chalice as I found it too situational. He went Shadow rather than Beasts due to the low casting cost of miasma.

The raiders are fantastic value for money, I can’t believe it took me so long to use them. I currently only own 10 so two units of 5 it is. They together with the Razorgor and to some extent the Harpies and chariots, will be used as chaff and some as force multipliers.

The Bestigors are the hard hitters but like the Gor they are still rather frail. Horde formation, doesn’t allow the most flexibility in movement either.

I’m still not 100% convinced about the list, 10 drops isn’t a huge number and with only 2 units with standards, i’m going to struggle to win some of the scenarios. However, the two units I do have are large and should help to ensure I maintain/capture objectives. It will also mean I need to destroy as much of the opponents unit fortitude units as possible, whilst chaffing up everything of theirs I possibly can.

All I have left to do is finish painting the remaining 15 Bestigors and 10 Ungor Raiders before the comp starts.

Whfb – Wood elves vs ?? – Part 1 – my list.

This is probably my 6th post this weekend. They seem to be like buses, none come along for ages and then suddenly a whole bunch arrive at once.

My next battle is lined up for the 28th against last year’s TO Steve. We have agreed to try out one of the new scenarios, Wicked Woods.

What he hasn’t decided yet is what to bring on the above date (or even to enter into the competition). He is considering several options, one being High Elves and in the spirit of club comradeship (and because I know where he lives), I’ve offered him the use of my HE army if he wants.

That aside, I have decided that I am going to breakout the Wood elves for a game in the first time in 20 odd years. As such you may see a number of posts in the next few months actually involving painting (shocking behaviour i know!). The Dryad post, a few ago, is the first of the new burst of enthusiasm for some of my oldest models.

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Every time I read about wood elf tactics I seem to hear about shoot and scoot. The stereo type image of the elves appearing from the trees, a rain of arrows decimating the enemy before they fade away into the shadows. Sounds promising, so with a couple of thoughts in my head I sketched out a list.

So what have I decided to take and why?

Well I’d previously done some WE list bashing here but I ended up going a slightly different route if only because I decided I wanted to take a lot more archers in my list, after all it’s what wood elves are best known for! As normal it’s a 2500pt list

The Host of Tal Shavoc

Lords/Heroes

Haldrin Stormlight (Glade Lord) – General – Ogre Blade, Glittering Scales, Dragonbane Gem, Potion of Foolhardiness, Great Stag, Shield, Bow – 288pts

(Glade Captain) – BSB – The Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow, Great Eagle, Starfire Shafts, Spear, Bow, Light Armour, Shield – 208pts

Merilel of the Moon (Spellweaver) – Level 4 Lore of High Magic, Dispel scroll, Talisman of Endurance, Unicorn, Bow – 340pts

(Waystalker) – Bow of Loren – 110pts

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Core

The Dryads are there to be used as my chaff or to flank charge where possible.

The mounted hero is there as mobile support first and bsb second. He can strip regen and is ideal to remove Chaff either at range with the hoda or in combat with his 4 Str 5 AP attacks on the chg (+ the eagle). The eagle allows him to Keep up and support the wild riders with frenzy tests if nothing else.

The wild riders are the recognised hammer. The banner ensures that they will have the charge range on almost everything. 10 may seem overkill but allows some casualties and still maintain combat effectiveness.

The Treekin are my anvil. They are tough and should be able to hold up any unit I don’t want to engage with for a number of turns. They will be supported by the wardancers who will either help the combat by removing the rank bonus or can be used as a speed bump, particularly vs anything with impact hits.

The warhawk riders are my flexible arm. They can help remove chaff, hunt warmachines or assist in combats.

The Scouts are tasked with either removing War machines or high toughness low armour troops (such as trolls) from the get go.

The Dryads are there to be used as my chaff or to flank charge where possible.

The mounted hero is there as mobile support first and bsb second. He can strip regen and is ideal to remove Chaff either at range with the hoda or in combat with his 4 Str 5 AP attacks on the chg (+ the eagle). The eagle allows him to Keep up and support the wild riders with frenzy tests if nothing else.

The wild riders are the recognised hammer. The banner ensures that they will have the charge range on almost everything. 10 may seem overkill but allows some casualties and still maintain combat effectiveness.

The Treekin are my anvil. They are tough and should be able to hold up any unit I don’t want to engage with for a number of turns. They will be supported by the wardancers who will either help the combat by removing the rank bonus or can be used as a speed bump, particularly vs anything with impact hits.

The warhawk riders are my flexible arm. They can help remove chaff, hunt warmachines or assist in combats.

The Scouts are tasked with either removing War machines or high toughness low armour troops (such as trolls) from the get go.

Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame, Hagbane Tips – 180pts

Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Trueflight arrows – 170pts

Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Trueflight arrows – 170pts

Dryads (10) – 110pts

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Special

Deepwood Scouts (10) – Musican, Standard, Hagbane Tips – 180pts

Wildriders (8) – Full Command, Banner of Swiftness, Shield – 269pts

Warhawk Riders (3) – 135pts

Sisters of the Thorn (5) – Musician – 140pts

Rare

Waywatchers (10) – 200pts

Thoughts

Well first off the list has 62 ranged attacks. This seems suitably wood ‘elfy’ to me.

I envision the list working in almost 2 distinct wings that are both separate but can also work in harmony.

Attack wing

This is made up of:

The Glade Lord on Great Stag, likely within the unit of Wildriders. He will greatly increase their combat potential and more importantly his LD 10 should help keep the frenzy under control. Joining will also allow him to benefit from the banner of swiftness. The unit size should allow for some casualties to be sustained without it losing combat effectiveness. Combat lords are generally not taken, not because they are not effective but because its around 300 odd points that can be spent on another unit and a lot of players just use their level 4 as the general. However I like taking them, especially if it means your mage isn’t the general as I’ve seen them sucked down a hole once too often. I also like having combat characters. It’s probably a throwback to my herohammer days. This lord will consistently reroll his attacks against most foes and strike at strength 6. On the charge he gains an extra attack and this, coupled with the mounts attacks and impact hits, will increase the alpha strike. His defence isn’t great with just a 4+ AS and mainly relies on his high WS combined with the -1 to hit to mitigate damage. The 2++ Ward against fire based attacks will help against a number of cannons and the Toughness 4 conferred by the mount will help a little too.

The lord and wildriders will be supported by the Warhawk riders who can either act as a screen or strike out for warmachines/lone wizards or bunkers. I suspect the warhawks killing blow skill on the charge is more gimmick than actually effective but we shall see.

The BSB will be a roaming threat. He can join the attack wing to add combat res, also take on assassination tasks or go where his re-roll might be needed. He is somewhat vulnerable with only a 3+ AS so i’ll need to be careful with his deployment and although the eagle makes him a reasonably easy target, the additional wound and point of toughness from the mount should help offset this. On the charge he will be outputting 4 Str 5, WS7 AP ASF attacks (+ his mount) and this combined with his ranged threat (the HODA and starfire shafts) should make him a force multiplier in any given situation.

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Support Wing

The Dryads are there to be used as my chaff or to flank charge where possible.

The mounted hero is there as mobile support first and bsb second. He can strip regen and is ideal to remove Chaff either at range with the hoda or in combat with his 4 Str 5 AP attacks on the chg (+ the eagle). The eagle allows him to Keep up and support the wild riders with frenzy tests if nothing else.

The wild riders are the recognised hammer. The banner ensures that they will have the charge range on almost everything. 10 may seem overkill but allows some casualties and still maintain combat effectiveness.

The Treekin are my anvil. They are tough and should be able to hold up any unit I don’t want to engage with for a number of turns. They will be supported by the wardancers who will either help the combat by removing the rank bonus or can be used as a speed bump, particularly vs anything with impact hits.

The warhawk riders are my flexible arm. They can help remove chaff, hunt warmachines or assist in combats.

The Scouts are tasked with either removing War machines or high toughness low armour troops (such as trolls) from the get go.

The 3 units of glade guard are the first elements of this wing. They are supported by the deepwood scouts, waywatchers, Waystalker and dryads.

They each have a slightly different role.

The guard unit with banner of eternal flame and hagbane tips are to be primarily used against regenerating monsters.

The Deepwood scouts are tasked with warmachine hunting and supporting the monster hunters

The Waywatchers are for taking out high armour, low toughness troops (such as cavalry).

The 2 guard units with trueflight are for removing chaff and skirmishers and generally supporting the other elements.

The Dryads will either protect these units as a screen (as their arrows will then ensure there is no modifier to hit) or they will be a road block/redirector or will act as chaff deterrents. At only 110pts it is my one real throw away unit.

The Waystalker will definitely be tasked with character assassination. Primarily scroll caddies and BSBs.

The last two elements of the army are the Sisters of the Thorn and the Spellweaver on Unicorn. I’ve included them under the support wing but there is no reason why they can’t run with the attack wing. Likewise the weaver can run solo, with the sisters or even with the Wildriders to lend defensive tokens, though this last option makes the unit a mini deathstar and it will be an even greater priority for foes to target. I actually like the idea of her running solo. That way she won’t impede the fast cav status of the sisters and the protective tokens from the magic should help protect her from harm.

On paper and with my chosen builds, most of the army is a total glass hammer that should hit very hard but will tear like wet tissue paper if struck back. It means I’ll have to be very careful with targets.

Magic

A note on magic lore choice. I almost went with Shadow. I still really think the lore compliments wood elves, especially if you are taking forest spirits and eternal guard. However it is my ‘comfort lore’. I find it a very straight forward and easy to use lore and inevitably always take it with my Beastmen. As such, i’ve rarely taken any of the other 7 basic lores. So for a change I thought i’d try something different and decided on High Magic.

The wood elf lore attribute is, every time you cast a spell successfully (and it is not dispelled), you gain a protection counter that is removed instead of a wound. With the low cast level of a lot of the spells, you could be building these up really quickly!

High magic itself is really versatile. It is one of only two lores that has two signature spells. The first is a magic missile (Soul Quench) with a fairly short 18″ range that causes 2d6 str 4 hits. Where it shines is the ability to boost it to 4d6 hits. That could be truly frightening. Historically, I would have taken this one at the drop of a hat. However the other spell (Drain Magic) has the ability to remove any spell impacting a unit, whether friend or foe and it applies to any spell including Hex’s and augments. Recently I have really struggled against these kinds of spells and the ability to remove them is staggeringly powerful. If I was running a more combat orientated army, this would be the auto include of the two.

The other spells in the lore are in the main equally as good.

Apotheosis allows you to heal a model of a wound on a cast of 5+ and they also gain fear. You can boost it for D3 wounds. It’s like having the lore of life ability. As most of my army has one wound this may not be the most useful spell but it depends on the foe (having fear negates the enemies fear ability if they have it). And regaining wounds is never a bad thing!

Hand of Glory allows you to boost the M, I, WS or BS of a target by D3 or a boosted version to increase all 4. A very handy little spell for archers. It is almost the opposite of the miasma spell from lore of shadows. Where it shines is it is another 5+ cast for the basic spell.

Walk between Worlds is an 8+ cast and allows you to move an unengaged unit within 24″ up to 10″ (and they gain the ethereal rule for the movement).. A boosted version allows the move to be 20″. In a game that is all about movement, this is a phenomenal spell. It can easily allow you to get a powerful unit behind enemy lines.

Tempest is the weakest spell in the deck. You place a large blast anywhere and scatter it. Everything underneath suffers a S3 hit (S4 for flyers). If it suffers a wound it gets -1 to hit in both shooting and combat. Things that don’t use BS can only fire on a 4+. This spell seems confused, You really want to use it on warmachines but that relies on you rolling a 6 to wound to gain a 50/50 chance of it not firing. The -1 to hit is fine but at a casting value of 12+ there are just better spells to take.

Arcane Unforging is a great spell. It works like a lore of metal spell. You target anyone with a magic item within 24″. If you roll equal or above the armour value, they suffer a wound but even if they don’t, they must reveal the magic items that person has and randomly select one and it is destroyed on a 2+.

The final spell of the deck, Fiery Convocation, is the High Magic answer to the other nuke spells. It is a remains in play, direct damage spell, cast on a 19+ (so 14+ if your spell weaver is in a wood). It causes a S4 wound on every model in the target unit (with the flaming effect). If they don’t dispel it, it then does the same again at the end of every subsequent magic phase. With a 19+ cast value, if they didn’t dispel it to start with, they are very likely going to have to waste their magic phase (or a good chunk of it) removing the spell. Especially if it was cast on a horde. I love this spell (or at least the threat of it) as it should allow you to get through a number of the smaller spells and each time you do that, you are gaining protection tokens for your mage. The odds favour that you only need 5 dice to get it off (vs 6 on other spells). 5 dice gives around 85% chance (4 dice would only give around 56%).