SELWG WHFB comp – Game 3 vs Joe’s Vampire Counts.

Friday bought about the final game for me in the Kroak league against Joe’s Vampire Counts (or more accurately Undead as no Vampires were present or harmed in the making of his list). Joe’s list can be found in detail here: The endless hordes

I think it was fair to say that this was the game I was most looking forward to in the group. Not because I had previously played Joe (I hadn’t) but because last time i’d played undead was back in 4th/5th edition before they split them into two separate armies. I was curious to see how much they had changed in the intervening time.

A recap of my list is here: Creation of the Throng

As normal i’ll caveat that this is as accurate as I remember, any errors are down to notes/memory and lack of ability with battle chronicler (and the couple of turns I forgot to take any pictures).

Scenario

We rolled Dawn attack. Played as per the rule book but victory goes to the general who controls the most quadrants (own deployment quadrant = 1 point and enemy deployment quadrant = 2 points)

Terrain

We rolled the maximum amount of scenery possible (7 pieces) and rolled up the following:

2 * Buildings with 3 walls (hard cover).

3 * normal hills

1 * Charnel Pit (units within 6″ are at -1 LD)

1* Dwarf Brewhouse (units within 6″ are immune to psychology and stubborn)

Once laid out it looked like this. The crater represents the Charnel Pit and the tower is the Dwarf Brewhouse.

2-terrain

Secret Mission

Joe chose ‘Cut off the Head’ (Kill my general in close combat), I chose ‘Take a message’ (Specify a model in the army to move into contact with an enemy fortitude bearing unit that contains your spy. Don’t destroy that unit).

Pre-match rolls

Dwarf hatred was for the first time in I don’t know how many games, not general vs general and was against everyone. (Happy days!)

The level 4 Necromancer rolled: Wind of Death, Gaze of Nagash, Raise Dead (I think) and Hellish Vigor but swapped Wind of death for Invocation.

The level 2 rolled Raise Dead and Invocation.

The level 1 took Invocation

Deployment 

Having just rebuilt their brewery after it’s desecration at the hands of the lizardmen, the dwarves of Karak Silvertop had been ensuring that the quality of the produce had not dropped after the loss of the former Master Brewer. After weeks of sampling and with the increased traffic between the Karak and the Brewery, it was inevitable that the increased restlessness of the dead would finally be noticed. The extra vigilance and concerns over the Breweries security ensured that Barlin, Harek  and the throng were already on the road and able to intercept the shambling undead horde as it reached the new build. As the throng lined up across the field they roared out as one, “THE BEER MUST FLOW!’.

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Joe won the roll for deployment and so set up first. Due to the scenario each unit had to be rolled for, to see where it was to be placed. The unit of Skeletons with no characters went on his right flank. The unit of 40 Zombies (with the level 1 Necromancer), the unit of 21 Zombies (complete with level 4 Necromancer) and Spirit host were on his left flank. All other units went in the centre, with the 2 Wight Kings going in the Grave Guard unit and the level 2 Necromancer going in the 2nd large Skeleton unit.

Having learnt from the previous Dawn attack games I’ve played (which is probably the majority of my most recent games – sure the dice are loaded…), I started off with my artillery (with engineer on the organ gun) and true to fashion they ended up on a flank (left this time). The Hammerers (with General) went on the right. All other units were deployed centrally (with the bsb in the longbeards and Runesmith in the Irondrakes).

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Turn 1 – Vampire Counts

The entire horde shuffled forward with the exception being the zombie units near the general who, being in his sphere of influence, cranked it up to maximum lurch. The Terrorgheist performed a ‘strategic redeployment’ to try and get out of the cannon’s range.

The winds of magic blew like an asthmatic smoker and the master necromancer just about managed to fire the Gaze of Nagash at the Hammerers, 3 of them falling with smoking holes in their chests.

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Turn 1 – Dwarf

Barlin ordered the Silvergate Guard to advance with all haste in order to reach and protect the brewhouse. He figured the sooner they reached it the sooner they could start quaffing. Sure there was the trifling matter of the mass of undead in front of them but wading through them would just help work up a thirst. Holding true to standard dwarf philosophy, there was barely any other movement. The old grumblers shuffled to one side, moving closer to Little Betty. The Irondrakes stomped forward in lockstep to bring their drakeguns into range of the grave guard. They added their fire to that of the quarrellers cutting down 7 of the guard. The organ gun started the way it meant to go on for the battle and failed to cause any damage. The cannon successfully hit the terrorgheist causing a single wound (it hadn’t managed to get out of range yet).
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Turn 2 – Vampire Counts

The undead continued to move forwarded trying to close down the distance as fast as possible. The Terrorgheist completed it’s ‘strategic maneuvering’ and finally moved out of range of the cannon. There was an average magic phase roll and once again the Gaze of Nagash roasted 3 dwarfs. The difference was, the quarrellers were the target. All other casts failed.

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Turn 2 – Dwarf

The dwarf missile troops continued to concentrate all firepower on the Super Star Destroyer Grave Guard cutting down another 12. The cannon ‘Lizard Bane’ hit the corpse cart but failed to wound.

The undead left flank was looking very crowded and the Silvergate Guard were feeling pretty lonely, so they charged forward to make some friends. They found the ethereal hosts to be too flighty, so continued on towards the horde of zombies but failed to make contact.

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Turn 3 – Vampire Counts

The undead right flank continued to shuffle forward. On the left flank the bat swarms and Terrorgheist moved into flanking positions as the zombie horde charged into the Silvergate Guard. Bludgeoning hammers greeted them and over 3 ranks fell apart in the ensuing combat for the loss of 1 dwarf.

The level 2 Necro managed to miscast his boosted invocation, wounding every caster on the undead side, however one unit of skeletons (SW1) gained 7 additional troops and the other skeleton unit and the Grave guard were each bolstered by 3 additional reinforcements.

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Turn 3 – Dwarf

The Irondrakes continued to move away from the grave guard whilst the Brotherhood of Doom moved up beside them. The Gyro finally moved, re positioning on the hill in front of Little Betty. The massed fire of irondrakes and 1 quarreller unit dropped another 12 grave guard. The other unit of quarrellers felled a single zombie as the slayers had blocked their view of the guard. Lizard Bane again fired at the Corpse Cart, this time leaving nothing but a smear of blood and splinters behind.

The Silvergate guard finished off the last of the zombies and incumbent Necromancer and reformed to face the Terrorgheist.

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Turn 4 – Vampire Counts

The Grave guard charged at the Irondrakes but their standard flared brightly causing the guard to stumble and fail to reach them. To add insult to injury, the Drakes also opened fire incinerating 11 of the wights.

The Terrogheist and bat swarms both charged into the Hammerers, the ensuing combat killed 6 dwarves and saw the Terrogheist crumple to dust and one of the swarms destroyed. The Hammerers reformed to face the final swarm.

The winds of magic blew strongly for the first time in the battle (10). The level 2 invocation was scrolled. The level 4 invocation raised 7 grave guard and the Gaze of Nagash was dispelled.

The two units of Skeletons moved forward again and the fellbats moved into charge range of the cannon.

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Turn 4 – Dwarf

The irondrakes again moved back to extend the charge range of the grave guard. The Botherhood of Doom advanced towards the remaining zombie unit, in the process, moving out of the grave guard charge arc. The Gyro moved behind the larger of the Skeleton units and opened fire with its steam gun, 6 of the undead falling apart. The quarrellers and Drakes cut down another 6 grave guard. Lizard Bane fired grape shot at the fellbats obliterating the flying rodents.

As expected the Silvergate Guard walked over the remaining bats and reformed to face the undead deployment zone (for once I actually remembered that I needed to capture quadrants to win the scenario).

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Turn 5 – Vampire Counts

The relentless march of the skeleton blocks continued. The two Wight Kings, sensing the immenant demise of the Grave Guard unit, moved out of it, with the BSB joining the closest Skeleton unit and the other Wight moving behind the Grave Guard.

The Gaze of Nagash and the level 2 invocation were dispelled but the boost level 4 invocation was cast successfully raising a load of Zombies and some Grave Guard.

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Turn 5 – Dwarf

The Brotherhood of Doom charged into the Zombies, scything through 3 ranks. The Gyro charged the back of the Skeleton unit (delivering the message to the spy). Both sides failed to inflict any wounds but the Skeletons won on combat resolution and reformed to face the Gyro.

The Quarrellers, Irondrakes and Organ gun finally succeeded in destroying the remains of the Grave Guard. Lizard Bane fired a speculative shot down the front rank of the Skeleton unit. The level 2 Necromancer failed to move out the way and was mashed into paste but the BSB showed it’s unnatural reflexes and dodged the shot that had ripped apart the rest of the rank.

The Silvergate Guard advanced to capture the enemy left quadrant.

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Turn 6 – Vampire Counts

The Skeleton warriors and the lone Wight King charged the Irondrakes. The former failing to connect and the latter disolving under the weight of fire.

The other unit of Skeletons broke the Gyro but failed to catch it. The Slayers continued to rip through the zombie unit and by the end of the combat only the Master Necromancer remained

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Turn 6 – Dwarf

The Silvergate Guard continued forward to secure the enemy quadrant and ensure the Brewhouse was protected.

The Dwarf missile troops all aimed at the skeletons unit with BSB killing 17 of them.

The Gyro rallied and in the final combat of the game, the Slayers finished off the enemy general.

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Conclusions

So again another enjoyable game against a great opponent.

Not having played undead, I was unsure if Joe’s list would be considered strong. Even after the game I’m not sure but I suspect not. It was definitely an unusual list with no Vampires. What really stymied him was the random deployment and his general stuck on one flank. With the majority of his units only able to crawl forward 4″ a turn I was able to focus fire down his horde of Grave Guard, which was realistically the only major threat to my combat units, so that by the time it reached charge distance it was no threat at all. This was about the sum of my pre-battle plan but with the increase in movement his general would have given, his units would have made it into combat much quicker and a different battle would have likely unfolded. It also meant he was reliant on his level 2 necromancer boosting the size/resurrecting the combat blocks which made it far easier for me to counter.

The other thing we discussed after the battle was the Terrorgheist. He didn’t once use the scream attack figuring that with the dwarf high leadership it wouldn’t do any damage. That was definitely a mistake as with a few high rolls it could have depleted the Hammerers enough that they were far less effective (it may have made no difference but without trying you don’t know).

On my side, the Organ Gun (even with Engineer) was singularly ineffective. It caused around 2 wounds over the course of the battle and rolled misfire after misfire. The Irondrakes more than made up for this in their central position, decimating the Grave Guard. The Hammerers destroyed everything thrown at them. Admittedly zombies and bat swarms aren’t the most elite of troops but I thought the Terrorgheist would be more effective. Another positive point is my Gyrocoptor finally managed to survive an entire battle (hurrah!). It helped not charging it forward recklessly in the first turn. I may have to even name it for that achievement…

I think the surprise for me was how ineffective fear is in 8th edition. Only working in close combat and not having to test for shooting seems an over sight in the rules. The unstable rule also seems to be too effective but again elite dwarves against the weakest undead troops aren’t the best judge of this rule.

Results

So at the end of the game I controlled one enemy quadrant and one friendly, for a total of 3 points. Joe controlled one of his quadrants for a total of 1 point, meaning that the stunties finally broke their run of draws and picked up a solid win.

Points for the game were as follows:

Mark – Win (15) – Secret Mission (7) – Painted Army (2) – Six turns played (1) = 25 points

Joe – Loss (5) – Six turns played (1) = 6 points

This puts me up to 64 points in total. A reasonable score but like Paul in Archaon league I must now wait out the other group members to finish their games to see where I place. (I believe 80pts is the maximum that can be reached but as each of the other members of the group have either had 1 game as a draw or a loss, no one will reach that total).

 

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The endless hordes

As I stated before I guessed Joe would be packing the standard blender. Imagine my surprise when I saw no vampires at all in his list!

So what was in his list?

Chars

Necromancer – Lvl4 – Nightshroud + Talisman of preservation (4++) + lore of vamps

Necro’ – lvl 2 – Master of Dead + lore of vamps

Necro’ – lvl 1 – lore of vamps

Wight King (BSB) – Sh + Screaming Banner (3 dice fear test)

Wight King – sword of strife (+2 A) + enchanted shield (+2 AS) + luckstone

Units

40 Skeletons – Spears – Music + stand

40 Skeletons – Spears – Music + stand

40 Zombies – Music + Stand

21 Zombies – Music + Stand

40 Grave Guard – FC + GW + Banner of the Barrows (+1 to hit in CC)

2 Bat Swarms

2 Fellbats

2 Spirit host

1 Corpse Cart

1 Terrorgheist

 

Thoughts

So no blender, however 40 GG with (I am going to assume) both Wights and the lvl 4 Necro will be a hard nut to crack. Organ gun will be aiming for that with extreme prejudice as will the irondrakes.

The Cannon will auto go for Terrogheist and then the corpse carts will be next target.

The quarrellers will target fell bats/bat swarms or corpse carts depending on what they can see.

Over 550 points are invested in the GG so that has to be primary target. hammerers as a flank charge would be preferable with perhaps LB’s in the front as they would still get their 6++/5++ vs KB.

With open lists he will know only my smiths can harm the spirit hosts so I may need to risk solo charges to kill off the blockers.

I suspect that the other necro’s will be bunkered in each of the skeleton hordes and with master of the dead on the lvl 2, both of these can be increased in size.

He basically has 2 killing units (terror and GG) and a lot of tar pits. I shouldn’t take the skelly hordes too lightly. With spears and horde formation he is likely going defensive to maximise attacks although he will loose parry saves so I would expect to inflict some serious damage in an melee. The items (corpse cart) that cause ASL aren’t too much of an issue as most of my troops have GW so are already ASL. On paper it is all about taking out the GG unit whilst minimalizing my own losses (if that is where most of his chars are bunkered).

Magic

The rules of the comp mean that you must pick and stick to your magic lore for the group and so I know all 3 necro’s will have lore of vamps. This means he will potentially have all 6 spells + the sig spell between his char’s. In practical terms, I would expect him to use the sig spell on at least 2 of his necro’s.

In terms of the spell eaters, his lvl 2 will definitely take the sig spell to utilise master of the dead (raise skelly’s above starting size). This is a potential to destroy. Gaze of nagash is potentially his only ranged attack of note so will also be a contender as will Vanhel’s. With no magic of my own, curse of years will be dispelled in my own magic phase if it goes off.