Thoughts on Building and Painting an Army

Listening to a podcast the other day got me thinking about the differing elements that come into play when putting together a new army. This process normally starts even before your first purchase and will begin with:

Why would you choose a specific army?

I feel there are 3 main factors that influence this:

1) you love the models in the range.

2) you enjoy or want to try the perceived play style of the army

3) you like the background fluff.

You could argue that there is a fourth option: Cost, but i cover that later.

I personnally feel that 1 is a no brainer, why would you spend money on something you don’t find appealing? However it may not necessarily be the primary reason.

The other two are more conditional and will likely depend on the system you play. In warhammer fantasy (and to a lesser extent 40k), I was heavily invested in the fluff. When I decided to start collecting Dwarves the fluff was my primary reason for doing so. Yes there are great models out there too but it was the image of implacable holds in the mountains and the remains of the doughty race inhabiting them that made me want to play them. In a similar vein I could only ever play Space Marines or Eldar and went with the former, mainly due to the cheap second hand market.

Conversely I started to collect Beastmen because their style of play was inherently opposite to the Dwarves. Rather than hang back and shoot shit, it was run forward and smash face.

2017 SELWG Kings of War comp entry

 

My other two current armies are both elves (wood and high) and these were picked up over the years because I loved the models.

Cost

So you’ve decided on your army, so what next?

Purchasing your models is likely to be the next step and here you reach your first dilemma and this will probably be based on two considerations: available cash and whether this is your first army.

There’s no beating around the bush, this plastic crack addiction can be expensive. As such a slow burn project buying a unit at a time is much nicer on the pocket and if you already have an army (and have the patience to do this) it’s quite doable. However if you are like me (and I hope for your sake and sanity you aren’t!!) and suffer from a lack of patience or it’s your first army, then you will likely buy or want to buy a larger number of models, at least enough to play a smaller game.

If you are buying GW models be prepared to spend a pretty penny. I won’t deny that a lot of their models look fantastic, however they are at the top end of the price range. However there are a lot of other companies out there that make great models and if you are still buying for use in warhammer fantasy, then for some armies you won’t have a choice but to use them (or ebay) as GW have discontinued large chunks of the old world range. At a later date i’ll post some of my favourite companies and the ranges I recommend for them.

Build or build and paint

So now you have made some purchases, what is your preferred method of putting them all together?

You again have several methods, you could build one unit at a time then paint that unit. If you are doing a slow build this might be a preferred method. I personally love putting together models and take immense pleasure from putting them together so am more likely to build everything before painting. However this has the drawback of leaving you with the daunting task of then painting it all in one hit. Just the thought of that is depressing so I now try and mix up building with painting.

Now you are ready to paint you again have a plethera of choices. Have you decided on a paint scheme for the unit? Do you paint a test model first to see if it works? Sometimes for me, the hardest decision is whether to undercoating black, white or a different colour? I’m a bit of a traditionalist and normally use black or white. Which I use will depend on what colour scheme I am likely to use. If it involves a quantity of light colours (white or yellow for instance), it will be white as it makes the colours stand out more (and I don’t have to use repeated layers!). If the model has large amounts of armour, then i’ll probably use black. One of my mates tends to just use black as he says it makes shading in crevices better and it is easier to see if he’s missed painting a section.

The one time I use a different undercoat is on space marines where I have been using Caliban Green as the base. As the majority of the model is that colour, it makes painting it easier (and no they aren’t painted as Dark Angels).

Basing

For me the last decision to make is normally around how to base them but this is because most of the time I haven’t put much thought into this and just do a basic flocking. Very occasionally for me and for many others, the base is something that is looked into after a model is purchased but before it is even built (I tend to only use them on larger models such as chariots). A good base can really make a model or even bring an army together with a specific theme. Most model companies provide plain plastic bases with a purchased model, however there are a multitude of firms that sell sculpted bases. Anything from fairly basic with rocks on to plinths. One of my favourite bases (and themed armies using them) was a pirate ogre army with bases looking like the decking of a ship. There is also at least one firm that sells different textured rolling pins that allows you to create your own bases using that to imprint green stuff and it looks really good.

 

I’m sure i’ve missed out lots of other options but the point of this post was just to make you think about what your process is. Do you use a tried and tested method or do you switch it up each time?

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WHFB – Beastmen vs Dark Elves – SELWG Comp’ game 

It’s funny how things work out. You finally manage to get a game against someone you’ve never played before (in this case Luke C) and then in the space of a month (or so) you get to play an almost carbon copy game. The difference, this one was my first game in our club competition.

Having played Luke so recently, we both had a good idea of each other’s lists and it is fair to say that of my three opponents, he was the one I was most worried about. Not just because he is a good player and knows the elements of his list inside and out, having played Dark Elves a lot but because of the mobility and potential number of his scoring units.

His list is recapped here.

The Herd of Khazbar the Magnificent is here.

Khazbar stood still, snout betraying no emotion as Bashor vented his anger at another loss on the nearest of his lieutenants. As he watched the last vestiges of life throttled out of the Wargor, he knew Bashor was probably imagining his face but the ever present shadow cast by the Doombull prevented that ire being turned on him. The gift of flight and further links forged through his magic had guaranteed that Cattleclysm acted as his personal bodyguard and even Bashor wasn’t far enough gone to challenge that hulking brute. Inside Khazbar was practically dancing with glee as the Beastlord’s hold over the herd started to slip. A few more losses were all it would take. Soon, he thought, soon they will come back to the fold. 

Terrain

To make a change we rolled map pack 3 which consisted of 2 woods (of which the central one ended up normal and the one closest to the edge, a venom thicket), 2 marshes (the one in between the woods turned out to be quicksand) and 2 normal hills.

Luke rolled as player A and after setup, it looked like this:

1. Terrain

Scenario and pre-match rolls

We ended up with ‘Secure’. Gain 1 VP for each piece of terrain held at the end of the game (2VP’s if in your opponents half). This was the worst possible scenario I could have rolled against Luke. He had 6 separate scoring units vs my 2 and he was far more mobile, so I knew I had to be super aggressive.

For spells, Khazbar (Beasts) conjured up: Wyssans, Curse, Transformation and Pann’s Pelt.

Wazzock (Shadow) got: Miasma.

The (Life) Sorceress bought: Throne, Regrowth, Flesh to Stone and Dwellers.

Deployment

Luke won the roll for sides (and following my normal philosophy) opted to stick on the side he was sitting.

The scenario followed Battle line deployment rules (alternate unit placement) and after deployment and vanguards, it looked like this:

2. Deployment

1. Deployment
You are completely imagining the cardboard being used as a movement tray

2. Deployment

3. Deployment
Beastmen Battle-line
4. Deployment
Beast centre
5. Deployment
Beast right flank
6. Vanguard
Vanguards
7. Vanguard
Deployment after vanguards

Turn 1 – Beasts

As I knew I had to, I started the game aggressively with one chariot attempting (and failing) to charge the Dark Rider unit directly in front of it (who elected to stand and shoot to no avail).  (I will say Luke was a gent and allowed me to retract a charge from the other chariot when I misread a rule. In the scheme of things it probably made no difference but I like to mention and acknowledge such things).

Choosing not to contain his natural rage, the Doombull flew into the second group of Dark Riders. In a surprising turn of events for both parties (or not, considering the pathetic show of rolling and forgetting of rules – in this case impact hits), only 3 riders were hurt during the making of this combat and easily held their ground. (Luke again offered me the chance of retracting the charge as the cold ones were poised to charge the Bull in the next turn. I was happy with this as he has a 2++ ward vs their fire attacks. Again Luke ever the gent, pointed out that his Dark Lord didn’t have flaming attacks due to magic weapons trumping that rule. However, apart from the fact that I’m a believer of learning from your errors, I also wanted his riders gone so they were unable to claim objectives and my Bull still had a very good chance of killing his Lord with his (now) 8 attacks).

In the final charge, the central Razorgor was unleashed at the riders in front of him and in an unexpected bonus, tore them apart when the cowards elected to flee.

The rest of my forces just moved forward, the Gor unit losing a few models to the marsh (which also wounded the BSB).

Magic was all about movement (or preventing it) with Curse cast on the Peg Master and Miasma on the Witches.

I was actually very pleased with the result of this turn. 2 Dark Rider units had been taken out of the scoring equation, meaning he now only had a 4 to 2 advantage. He either didn’t realise my intent, perhaps thinking after last game I wanted the riders dead at all costs or just didn’t care.

3. Beastmen Turn 1

8. turn 1 beasts

9. turn 1 beasts10. turn 1 beasts

Turn 1 – Dark Elves

To no ones surprise, the Cold One Knights charged into the Doombull. The Lord managed to score two wounds on the bull and in a phenomenal display of rolling, Cattleclysm missed with 7 of his 8 attacks. Despite the Sorceress moving over and casting an unboosted Flesh to Stone on the unit (I dispelled Throne), the 1 attack did wound the Lord but he still lost combat and was duly run down. Bugger. That was not how that was meant to go. Luke obviously was not reading from the same script which frankly was just downright inconsiderate of him. To make matters worse, his Knights over-ran into my badly positioned raiders unit.

The Dark Riders on the other flank thought they would return the favour and charged the chariot that had failed to charge them. They were somewhat more successful inflicting 2 wounds on the chariot. In return the chariot, completely forgetting they had primal fury (as they did for all the entire game), failed to removed a single model. Still at least they were now locked in combat.

The Executioners partly moved into the wood to dispute it (and avoid their rank bonus being negated) but the Peg and Witches didn’t move due to the aforementioned magic effects on them.

4. DE Turn 1

Turn 2 – Beasts

Determined to remove the Dark Riders engaged with the wounded chariot, the other chariot charged in to assist and promptly sank in the quicksand. (Annoyingly we both knew and stated it was going to happen. After the Doombull combat we both sensed it was one of those games where you could see a trend in dice rolls… On a positive note, the chariot already in combat managed to kill a rider taking them beneath scoring strength. So that was something).

The Knights steamrollered the Ungor (taking revenge for the last game where the plucky fellows had unhorsed one with a lucky bow shot and then held them up for the rest of the game) and with that flank now secured, turned to face the centre.

With a big intake of breath from me, the Harpies charged over the swamp and into the lone Sorceress. I had expected the Harpies to fail, due to the distance involved, land in the marsh and have a number die due to the terrain (yep already I had a positive mental outlook). Shockingly the bird women made the charge and instead failed to do anything apart from lose one of their number, as the horse bludgeoned her to death with its hooves. With the Cold Ones now looking at their rear, the life expectancy of the Harpies was starting to look a little short!

Meanwhile the Gor unit moved out of the marsh and into the woods the Executioners were holding, in order to dispute it, of course losing a bucket load more of their number in the process.

The Bestigor also moved into the woods in front of them to capture that.

The central Razorgor moved to block the Witches whilst the other moved up to threaten the executioners flank.

Magic was quite uneventful with Wyssans cast on the chariot and Curse on the Witches.

5. Beastmen Turn 2

11. turn 2 beasts
Ungor dead? Check!

12. Turn 2 beasts

Turn 2 – Dark Elves

The Knights charged the Harpies and after trampling their remains into the ground, reformed with the marsh guarding their flank.

The Peg Master charged the remaining unit of Ungors and not to be outdone by the Knights, made short work of them and turned to face the Gor’s flank.

The Executioners changed facing slightly so they no longer presented their flank to the Razorgor, the woods taking a few of them in compensation for their trespass.

The chariot/rider combat continued with another Dark Rider dying.

The notes got a bit sketchy here but I know I failed to dispel Throne and scrolled Flesh to Stone (but not sure on who or why, though possibly the Knights in preparation for my next turn).

6. DE Turn 2

13. Turn 2 DE

Turn 3 – Beasts

The Bestigor let out a bellow but instead of making an easy charge on the Cold One Knights, stumbled forward, an entire rank of the horde succumbing to the lethal plethora of roots and branches. Children of the woods indeed. I had a feeling I was going to pay for that.

The Gor also tried their luck and like the Bestigor, fluffed an average charge, though their target was the Executioners. They were a little more sure footed than their heavy armoured kin and only a handful were killed by ‘tree to face’. If the Razorgor, that successfully made the its charge, had been capable of thought it would have been worried about the distinct lack of support from the Gor. As it was, any thought was quickly extinguished by the multitude of Draichs that butchered the poor little piggie.

In the magic phase, Throne was dispelled but nothing else was successfully cast.

To fully twist in the knife, in a turn of failures, the Dark riders managed to finish off the remaining chariot, leaving them free to do what they do best; interfere and get in the way.

7. Beastmen Turn 3
The map isn’t quite correct as the sorceress isn’t actually blocking the Knights

14. Turn 2 DE15. Turn 2 DE16. Turn 2 DE

Turn 3 – Dark Elves

The Cold Ones Knights charged the Razorgor that had been holding up the witches and made short work of it. They then reformed to face the Bestigor on the edge of the woods, the spy in the unit surreptitiously removing the message that had been concealed on the body of the animal.

The Master on Pegasus charged into the flank of the Gor cutting down 4 of their number for the loss of 1 wound. The Gor not only survived the attack but reformed to bring their overwhelming numbers to bear. The master looked round for support but found none in his immediate vicinity.

The remaining dark riders from the 2 units, moved up to block the Bestigor to prevent them from both: repeating their attempted charge on the Knights and moving out of the woods in order to regain steadfast.

In a stroke of luck (at least for me), the Sorceress failed to cast Throne of Vines ending the magic phase.

8. DE Turn 3

17. Turn 3 DE18. Turn 3 DE

Turn 4 – Beastmen

Khazbar continued his magical molestion of the witches and again cast Curse on them  to discourage any movement.

In a combat that could only go one way, the Gor horde decimated the Dark Master and the Pegasus he had been mounted on.

In a ridiculously stupid move (not sure what I was thinking), the Bestigor finished off one the single Dark Rider in front of them and then over-ran into the final remaining unit of Dark Riders. (If I had been thinking clearly I would have instead moved Khazbar out of the unit and used him as chaff to block the witches. This would have meant only the Knights and Dark riders would have been able to charge the Bestigor, a combat that might have gone either way).

9. Beastmen Turn 4

Turn 4 – Dark Elves

The Sorceress cast Dwellers onto the Gor unit and although a number were dragged under the ground, they held their nerve ensuring the woods were disputed between them and the Executioners.

The Witch Elves and Knights then joined the Dark riders in charging the Bestigor. The Witch Elves alone wiped out the unit before they could strike back and ran down the two lords (giving Luke his secondary mission of ‘cut off the head’). The witches overrun moved them into the woods, capturing the terrain and thus winning the game.

10. DE Turn 4

19. Turn 4 DE
End game

Results

It ended 2-0 to Luke as he had captured the wood in my half.

In terms of competition points in was:

Luke: Win (15) + Mission (6) = 21 points

Me: Loss (5) + Mission (6) + Painted army (2) = 13 points

Conclusions

That was a game that started well and then rapidly fell apart. Although I couldn’t say I was ever close to victory, a draw had definitely been achievable if I’d put a bit more thought into moves.

Luke said he had not been expecting all my charges in the first moves of the game. I think it actually threw him slightly as he’s not used to other players wantonly attacking Dark Elves on the first turn, they normally avoid them. As I said to him, every time I’ve held back with Beastmen it’s put me on the back foot. And it’s far more fun to play them to their fluff, the raw unbridled savage hordes!

I hate to blame dice (though I will add them as a contributing factor) and I probably didn’t help stack odds in my favour but I did roll appallingly this game. The first turn Doombull combat and failed Chariot charge started the trend, though they weren’t critical moments. However the turn 3 failed charges by the Gor and especially by the Bestigor were all potential game defining moments where the poor rolls cost me. It was not by any means a foregone conclusion on either combat but I would have placed money on the Bestigors coming out on top.

I did blunder with the Gor unit. I would have been better off holding the marsh and staying within 3″ of the wood to dispute it as at least it would have netted me a point, prevented the number of casualties from terrain and meant the executioners would have had to do something bar sit there all game. I just have a weakness for combat.

The number of troops lost due to dangerous terrain was ridiculous but putting myself in situations where i had to make these rolls, so they could go against me, was entirely of my own making. I will have to be a bit more ‘caring’ if the lives of my troops going forward (pfftt who am I kidding, they are fodder to be used to further my own plans for world domination moo ha ha ha ha).

I can take nothing away from Luke’s victory, he played the better game and was again great fun to play against. As things stood, if we had played past turn 4, he likely would have tabled me before the end of the game.

A letter froooooom America

I love it when you get home to surprise parcels. 

A couple of months ago I mailed some of my bits box to one of the guys off the eighth edition for life forum and as a thank you he sent me this little beauty. It’s an Avatars of War model and he even painted it in in colours that matched my army theme (though liberally splattered by blood). Suffice to say I can see my next dwarf outing being heavily slayer themed!

Hobby Update – Ungor Raiders

With my first competition game on Friday, I realised I needed to pull my finger out and ensure my entry was fully painted to garner the bonus points for each game.

So I present 10 Ungor Raiders. I’ll try and fully finish them before Friday as there are some details I want to do on them still (nose rings etc.). However in terms of the competition they are good enough as have at minimum 7-9 basic colours used + 2 different washes + a drybrush. 

IMG_3802IMG_3804IMG_3805

 

So with these done, my competition entry is fully painted.

This now leaves me with the following remaining Beastmen to paint until the army is complete (or until I buy anymore…):

Malagor

2 Minotaurs

Minotaur Standard bearer

Wargor BSB

157/162

I may not do these at present, as I’m getting the wood elf painting itch again. 

However, when I drove through Tewksbury the other weekend I noted the town was infested with coats of arms on half the buildings. I, of course, had to stop every hundred metres to take photos (accompanied by much eye rolling from the wife) and inspired by the designs and colour schemes, I stopped off at my parents to collect one of my original 5th ed. Bretonnian Knights from storage. Could this be the start of a new army? We’ll have to wait and see. 

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.

IMG_3440

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.