Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chaos Versus Ogres

I had not played the Ogres yet and was very excited about doing so. Well, okay, I played them in Warbands...but that doesn't count.

First off, Warbands is so limiting that you don't get a real feeling for what troops can do. For example, Tomb Kings desperately need mass Magic to be effective. In Warbands, the simply can't have it.

Second, armies that are small numbers are disproportionately punished in Warbands for bad rolls. If you only have 2 guys and one bad roll means one of them dies...well, every so often you are going to have a bad roll. There is no margin for error in Warbands.

So anyway, I was really looking forward to this game. Ogres have the strength to be a threat to Chaos, they have the toughness to take a lot of damage and with multiple wounds, they can strike back more frequently than a lot of armies. Plus, there is something vaguely disquieting about attacking a small unit of 4 models, wounding 16 times, and seeing half the unit stil standing there....

Of course, they also struggle to hit striking back due to their low weapon skill, they have such limited armor that they take wounds anytime they are wounded, and their missile range is pretty limited. (I mistakenly thought it was 12" except for the Hunter...turns out the Maneaters have 24" range).

So the potential is there for some epic close combat encounters.

I got a wild hair Friday night and decided to try gluing the Dragon Ogre Shaggoth without pinning, so a last-minute adjustment to my army was needed. Fortunately, Kev is an easy going guy, so the adjustment was simple; we each added 265 points to our armies which let me fit him in...well, okay, I gave him an extra hand weapon, so 275 points.

We rolled and I ended up with a 2000 point and he a 1500 point army. I think if it had been the reverse, I would have lived with it but A) the poor Ogres have yet to win a game and B) I did not want to Massacre him in a game where he had no chance which I probably would have done in that case...unless we altered the scenario to something like Ambush which actually just occurred to me when I typed that.

Oh well.

We really wanted to go a game under Lord-level characters, so we settled on 1750+265.

I went with the 1750 point list from this post and added the Shaggoth. Good times.

1) Get off a charge with the Knights
2) Win a challenge that allows me to roll on the Eye table
3) Do some damage with the Shaggoth

The terrain was interesting. On both sides we had hills, a small stream entered and left the field about the center on one flank, and there was another stream in one deployment zone. He won the roll for table edge and took the side he was standing on. I had to deploy first.

I had a simple plan: group my units of Warriors in the center, my Knights on the flanks, and my Battle Standard Bearer in the center, ideally within 6" of all of them so my entire army would be Stubborn leadership 8, giving them an 89% chance of passing any test.

So the first unit I placed was a unit of Warriors in the valley between the hills. He placed his Leadbelchers opposite them. I placed my other unit of Warriors a bit to their right...and realized I had already made a mistake.

I would have at least 2 units outside of range of my Battle Standard Bearer if I put the Knights on the flanks as planned. And I knew he had a Gut Magic spell that forces me to take Leadership tests and a magic item he could take that made those tests -3. So that could really hurt.

Anyway, I put a unit of Knights outside each unit of Warriors and the Shaggoth in the hole between them. The Battle Standard Bearer went behind the Shaggoth and my General joined the Knights on the right since he was loading up his left flank with Bull units. He had Maneaters in teh center, Gnoblars everywhere and a Scraplauncher. I did NOT see that coming. Fortunately, I had Wulfrik, 16 Marauders and they could enter from any table edge at some point.

I won the roll and chose to have him go first. I thought the max range he had was the Leadbelchers at 12" and as a result, I thought the entire battle would be fought from 12" or less (except the Scraplauncher).

Well, if he is within 12",I am within charge range with my Knights and Shaggoth, and not far removed from the Warriors charging as well. Therefore, having him move first meant I might have a first-turn charge.

He moved about everyone forward.

He cast the Gut Magic Spell that added Regeneration to a unit of Bulls on my right flank. Not good. My Dispel failed.

He then tried some other random spell but failed to cast it.

Then came my first shock: His Maneaters had 24" range and were able to shoot at my Warriors. No damage done.

His Scraplauncher had no Line of Sight.

Chaos Turn 1
I had deployed over an inch behind my center line which meant I was out of charge range.On the bright (?) side, Wulfric rolled on!

I was not ready for him yet. I wanted him to come on when Kev was engaged in hand to hand so I could flank or rear charge him. Now I had a choice: I could come on my right flank under cover of the stream to threaten his flank. That, however, would mean I was across the field from his General, which was Wulfrik's target.

Alternatively, I could come on behind his Scraplauncher to take it out. Again...I would be BEHIND the General and moving 4-8" a turn, probably never catch him moving 6-12".

His Yehtees on the hill meant I was in danger if I came on that flank, but I thought I could protect against the flank charge so entered a little less than half way on my left flank which allowed me to threaten his General unit. (Is it just me, or do I sound like I have studied too many chess games? 'He moves B2 to K4, threatening p3-p4, Q-R8 check, Kk5-Q1, KB1-K1 Mate)

My Knights on the right performed a slight retrograde allowing them to face the 2 or 3 units of Bulls coming over the hill. My left flank Knights moved to charge the Yehtees should they charge my Marauders.

Ogre Turn 2
His rear-most Gnoblars bickered. No big deal, they were blocked out of the action. He moved his Bulls on my right flank up to the top of the hill, a unit behind them, and his Butcher to their flank.

I THINK this is the turn his Gorger arrived.

He advanced up the middle with other troops but the Yehtees proved too far away to charge.

His Maneaters opened fire but again failed to wound any Warriors.

Then came Episode 493 in Warhammer things I find funny. His most effective units got into the action as the Scraplauncher killed a Marauder. First blood to...the Gnoblars?

Seriously? I have Chaos Warrios, Chaos Knights, a Dragon Ogre Shaggoth, an Exalted Hero, Wulfrik...Kev has Maneaters, a Tyrant, Leadbelchers, Yehtees...and the GNOBLARS draw first blood? Whatever.

It was pretty funny.

His magic phase gave +1 Strength to the back-up unit of Bulls on his left (my right) flank.

Chaos Turn 2
My plan worked to perfection. He was in range of mass charges. My Wulfrik-led Marauders charged his Leadbelchers in the flank. My Knights on the right flank charged his Bulls on the hill. My Shaggoth charged his Maneaters. My Warriors charged some Gnoblars maybe?

Well...ALMOST perfection. He did the one thing I did not anticipate...he fled his Leadbelchers.

I actually agree with the decision. He got no stand and shoot, I had Wulfrik and 2 extran ranks of Marauders hitting him in the flank, the failed charge meant he would flank charge with the Yehtees and frontal charge me with his Tyrant and Ironguts. He would PROBABLY rally with the Leadbelchers in the center of the field.

Well, anyway I moved my Battle Standard on top of the left hill so he would be within 6" of the Marauders and turned my left Chaos Warriors to face his Gorger. My Knights moved to get out of the gorgers line of sight.

On the right flank, my Frenzied Knights went to work. 16 attacks needing 3s to hit and then 3 to wound. Sweet, 10 wounds! Nothing to complain about there!!!!

Until he Regenerated 6 of them. Wow, already his less than 100 point Wizard has been more valuable than entire magic-based armies I have used before with over 1000 points invested in making magic powerful.

He then had just 9 attacks back wounded me twice. Needing 2s to save...I failed one. Awesome. I need worse saves so I can save 60% :-)

I still won the battle handily: 4 wounds + outnumber + Battle Standard to 1 wound + he needs insane courage. He did not get it, but his flee bounced through the second unit of Bulls whom I then hit...bypassing his Butcher and I think yet another unit of Bulls who would have had a charge if I was still atop the hill. All in all, that combat went better than could have been drawn up for me.

My Shaggoth went to work. With 2 hand weapons, he had a massive 6 attacks. 5 hit. 3 wounded. A Maneater died. Then the other Maneater wounded me back 3 times. At first we thought it meant a drawn combat but then realized the Shaggoth had unit strength 6, not 3, so I outnumbered him. His Stubborn Maneater then failed his test, broke and ran.

I caught him...and ended up right in front of the fleeing Leadbelchers. Hmm.

I think this was when my Warriors charged in, devastated his Gnoblars, but I don't remember. All in all, awesome turn for me.

Ogre Turn 3
His Yehtees did indeed flank charge my Marauders and then he made what, in retrospect, might have been a mistake. He charged his Tyrant-led Ironguts into the front.

Which meant Wulfrik could fight. And could challenge his Tyrant who, per Hunter of Men, could not refuse.

His Gorger charged my Warriors.

His Leadbelchers rallied. His fleeing Bulls...on my Shaggoth's right, but out of line of sight....also rallied. Uh-oh...

The Yehtees were awesome, slaying 3 or 4 Marauders. The Bull Charge killed a couple more. His regular Bulls killed one or two.

And Wulfrik, who consistently has underperformed, dying without wounding, went to work on the Tyrant. He saved both wounds, then went and wounded the Tyrant 4 times...who could save just one and, having taken a wound for some armor prior to the battle, he one-turn killed him! Yes!

I instantly said, "I forfeit, Kev wins via Massacre." I was really excited. About time something I looked forward to playing performed to expectations.

I finally got to roll on the table! I got a +1 to my armor, making Wulfrik better yet.

Still, I lost the combat by a handful. Fortunately, I was within 6" of the Battle Standard Bearer and passed my test, being Stubborn thanks to the Banner of Chaos (my own slight renaming).

Over on the other flank, it was more of the same. I had the charge, slew a couple Bulls, took no damage in return, he fled, I pursued...right to a couple inches short of his freshly rallied Bulls.

Meanwhile, his Gorger benefited from my "must declare a challenge" rule. Since he was alone, he could not deny it. Therefore, instead of having 3 Frenzied guys attacking, I had one...who, after taking 2 wounds, did not get to attack at all.

I still won the combat with rank bonus, outnumbering, and banner, but since the Gorger is Unbreakable, it did not matter. I would have to actually slay him to win. Good luck with that, let me know how it turns out.

Chaos Turn 4
Okay, my priority here is pretty simple. I need to make sure my Shaggoth doesn't get shot. Simple solution? Remember the Gnoblars that bickered? Perfect charge target. Here I go!

My left flank Knights charged his Yehtees. My Battle Standard Bearer could rear-charge his Leadbelchers or flank-charge his Ironguts. Since I would be outnumbered and not remove his bonuses, I went after the Ironguts.

So that was an intriguing combat; My Battle Standard Bearer was flanking his Ironguts who were frontally committed against the Marauders who were flanked by the Yehtees who were facing the Knights. Awesome.

The Knights killed 2 Yehtees and hurt the third, a Marauder wounded a Bull, Wulfrik killed a Bull, the Battle Standard Bearer killed a Bull. He could only kill one Marauder in return, he broke all over the place, my Marauders ran down his Ironguts, my Knights ran down his Yehtees.

I also, being under Frenzy, had to charge his Bulls. I killed one or two, he fled, I over-ran not only him but the other fleeing unit of Bulls. I had now taken out that entire flank except one unit of Bulls and the Butcher with one unit of Knights bolstered by my Exalted Hero General.

The Shaggoth slew 5 Gnoblars, but their rank bonus and outnumbering meant it was a drawn combat. Whatever. Run, you little nits!

With a nice 9 attacks needing 3s, I flailed away at the Gorger. I did not wound him even once. He killed 2 Warriors. I won the combat with static combat resolution. He laughed and decided to stick around for another round.

Ogre Turn 4
His Scraplauncher charged my Warriors. His Bulls began crossing my deployment zone towards my Warriors hissy-fit fighting the Gorger, supported by his Butcher. His Leadbelchers advanced towards my rampaging Knights.

The scraplauncher slew a couple Warriors, but my BSB meant they were stubborn. I rolled a 9...but they were close enough to the BSB to re-roll and passed. Every roll going my way.

The Leadbelchers finally opened fire. Something like 18 or 20 shots. 4 wounds. 2 not saved. I lost 2 of my Knights, finally giving him over 50% for them.

I killed 5 more Gnoblars and this time they fled the Shaggoth who chose not to pursue.

Again, I swung 9 times and this time 6 hit. That is better. 6 hits needing 5s...should do a wound or two. But whiffed completely with not one roll over a 4. His Gorger killed another Warrior or so and was eating away at my advantage.

Chaos Turn 4
I turned my Knights to face his Leadbelchers, turned my Shaggoth to get behind them, moved my Marauders and BSB to pin them down.

My other Knights started heading towards his Gorger/Bulls.

Only one close combat right now: the famous Gorger. And something weird happened this turn; I got a wound on him!

It only took 27 rolls needing a 3 followed by 5. I should have done slightly less than 6 wounds by this point and had done one. Hmm.

He, of course, killed another Warrior.

Ogre Turn 5
His Leadbelchers charged my Exalted Hero/Knights on my right flank. His Bulls moved towards my engaged Warriors. His Butcher moved forward.
I won the combat. His Leadbelchers broke and died.

The Gorger slew another Warrior.

Chaos Turn 5
Not much to do but get the Knights on my left close enough to MAYBE save my Warriors and seize table quarters. Oh, and charge into his Scraplauncher with Wulfrik and company who promptly did enough wounds to cause his Scraplauncher to break and I over ran it.

No wounds by the Gorger this turn.

Ogre turn 6
His Bulls got the rear-charge. They were too close to Bull charge, but killed 2 warriors. And with the least attacks I had on him all game, my last 2 Warriors killed the Gorger at long last. Inspired by their great feat....they promptly failed their break test and fled off the table. He pursued right off the table which meant he had exactly one model left on the table.

Chaos Turn 6
I charged his Butcher with my Knights and BSB, a tremendously stupid move.

See, I MUST declare a challenge. If he rolls well and I roll poorly, he could kill by BSB and all the combat resolution in the world won't save me. Fortunately, my BSB won the duel and took bloody revenge for him hacking down my warriors. It was a decisive revenge.

Okay, the Knights ROCKED this battle. One unit punched up with an Exalted Hero single-handed wrecked an entire flank. I destroyed 2 units of Bulls and a Leadbelcher.

Furthermore, when I destroyed the units, it led to fortuitous movement that took me out of range of units he had well-set up to flank charge me if I were held up for even a single turn. So I was very fortunate in that regard.

Getting the charge on his Maneaters allowed the Shaggoth to win a combat he probaby would have lost otherwise since just one of them was able to wound him THREE times. Of course, the Maneaters had to have been disappointing to Kev as they took I believe 12 shots without ever doing a wound.

The Marauders were good at protecting Wulfrik ad letting him actually do what he does best. IN combination with a BSB keeping them in the fight regardless of casualties, they were able to survive 12 casualties to deliver my killing machine to the places he needed to be.

It was cool rolling on the table even though the result was one I ended up never taking advantage of...but that is okay I was super happy to roll on the table.

The Battle Standard Bearer w/Banner proved well worth his points, even if he did not "do" the points worth. He kept my Marauders and Wulfrik around long enough for my Knights to arrive and take care of the Yehtees. He kept my Warriors alive long enough for Wulfrik to arrive and slay the Scraplauncher. All in all, he contended with Wulfrk and my Knights for MVP.

The Shaggoth did everything I wanted him to. He got into combat, did some damage, and generally controlled the center of the field.

Only the Warriors did not meet or exceed expectations. Taking I believe it was 5 turns to kill the Gorger was really, really pathetic. Of course, I was playing them wrong.

I thought I took the version with Khorne and...I am not sure what. I played them with that Mark and no upgrades. They should have been striking last with no Frenzy but with Strength 6. Instead, I had them striking first with Frenzy and with S4...but no other upgrade. Oops.

Still, Math Hammer suggest 27 swings should be good for 17.82 hits. 17 hits needing 5s to hit is good for 5.88 wounds. In other words, 3 - 4 turns at the outside should have been plenty. The extra turns were tough and ended up costing them their lives.

I would say this battle confirms a couple things. Needing 4s to hit, it was just too hard for the Ogres to get damage through.

As for my goals:

1) Epic success. The right flank Knights charged almost every turn except the first and 5th I think. The Knights on the left only got off two charges, but both led to Ogre disaster.
2) Wulfrik did the deed and got the roll. I am happy now.
3) Oh, yeah, the Shaggoth rolled. He destroyed a unit of Maneaters and a unit of Gnoblars. He did 11 actual casualties...1 Maneater and 10 Gnoblars. This is the type of result I was hoping for.

He is a fun model and I look forward to painting him.
The traditional "We won and survived" Photo op.

Overall, it was a pretty fun game. I think some tactical choices by Kev slanted the battle in my favor; he knew my Knights would have Khorne, so with a bit of patience, he could have forced me to charge Gnoblars with my Knights and, knowing I was likely to overrun them, set up one unit of Bulls to accept the charge and another one (or two) to counter-charge my flanks. That would have given him a starting static combat resolution of +2 (+1 for flank, +1 for outnumber) while removing my Battle Standard bonus and given him at least a chance. He had enough units to do that on one flank.

Then again, that is a trap that takes a lot of patience to put together and with the hill placement, it might have taken 2 more turns to set up. With my Shaggoth and Warriors advancing up the middle and my left flank having spare Knights, he might not have had time.

The Scraplauncher only fired 1 time, the Leadbelchers did not fire until the game was over, and that worked out in my favor.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Once More with Feeling

D'oh! I forgot to include how I anticipate I would do against CrisAsUsual and his Vampire Counts which is sad because that is perhaps the most intriguing match-up.

Just to refresh where we are at, I was thinking out loud as I put together my army list for the game with Kev's Ogres Saturday. I inadvertently stumbled on what seems like it might be the perfect list to accomplish all my goals. 

Ideally, it would be an army that, if the breaks go my way, COULD win any game but could also lose most any game. So I deliberately built in certain holes. 

A quick review of my most common opponents reveals that against the Dark Elf army I will lose every game, against the High Elf and Wood Elf armies I will lose 50-60% of the games, against the Lizardmen I probably win 60-75%, against the Dwarfs I win about 80%, and the Ogres and Brettonians I probably go about 50-50. 

But I forgot the Vampire Counts.

That is key. The VC rely on Magic quite heavily and that is an area I deliberately left a hole. I can see a scenario where I get the charge on some random unit of Skeletons, kill 8 or 10, see another half dozen crumble to combat resolution, and two turns later be facing more Skeletons than when I charged as the Vampires Raise Dead and Invocation of Nehek (sic) their way into outnumbering me, flanking me, and so forth. Can I kill them faster than he can resurrect them?

Yet my list is also somewhat set up to face this eventuality. With close combat monsters like Wulfrik and my exalted heroes, I can go after his Vampires and feel decent about my chances of slaying them and stopping their spell-casting. 

Additionally, my Knights make a mockery of his Wraiths so they cause me no fear.

So each encounter might come down to how well he protects his spell-casters verse and whether I can keep my kill rate over his resurrect rate. So there should be some epic encounters there.

I actually think I would win 60 - 70%...but it is purely in the realm of the hypothetical. At the moment, I am really looking forward to the Ogre battle as it provides some intriguing match-ups to me...but now I really want to take this list against the V-C.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Further thoughts on the last post

The more I think about the list(s) I made yesterday, the more I love the concept. It might even be almost perfect for our gaming group.

It is a small, tight list with plenty of holes to be exploited. With no Magic defense and no way to deal with monsters or mobile, shooty armies, it should auto-lose to no more than 3 armies and auto-win against only 1. Against everyone else, it should about hold its own and chance will play a huge part.

It pretty much auto-loses to every Elf army we have. Of course, Space Monkey is still a ways away from deploying the High Elf army and Chad seldom shows up with the Wood Elf army, so that means basically only the Dark Elf army is an auto loss. I have yet to see (and do not want to see) a Dark Elf army that isn't mobile or with powerful magic or with deadly monsters or some combination thereof. I expect the same with the High Elf army. Elf mobility, shooting prowess and magic prowess (except the Wood Elf is pedestrian) make them a really bad match-up for me and I am fine with that.

Meanwhile, the Goblins are an auto win for me. Well, okay, they are an auto win for EVERYBODY so they do not count.

Games against the Skink shooting army or Slann magic army will mostly come down to terrain and a couple of die rolls, so I should win some and lose some. Perfect. If he shows up with a magic-heavy list, I can have Wulfrik go Wizard hunting. If they are a mobile shooting army, I can use my 2 units of Knights to try and pin down a unit at a time, though if the terrain favors him, it could take too long and I could get shot into a loss, though it is likely to be a minor one. Should be some fun games in the meantime.

Games against the Dwarf army will also be fun: I will get softened up by his War machines and gun line, but Wulfrik can help with the war machines with a little fortuitous rolling to show up and a softened Chaos battle line against the rugged Dwarf army could be a lot of fun with lots of games coming down to the last turn. They have such marginal mobility that I know I will be able to force some close combats which is all I really want out of this army. Some wins and losses there.

Battles with Brettonia will continue to be epic and will probably come down to whether I can get the charge on his Grail Knights or if he charges my Knights. The Chargers probably win most of those. Again, both of us rely on getting into close combat, so I know I will have some. Our last game of Maneuver was fun but an anomaly.  So should have some wins, some losses.

And the long as I don't take Nurgle, should be some epic confrontations there, too. These might be the most fun games of all as both armies rely heavily on close combat. His Lead Belchers can shoot maybe 2 times at best before combat is joined and his Gnoblars are within charge range when they are in range to throw Sharp Stuff. Plus, their limited offensive magic means that hole is covered. 

The reason I say no Nurgle makes sense to me, but I do not think as others do so I should clarify. The bulk of his troops will already only be hitting me 1 in 3 times. If I go with Nurgle, he would then only hit me 1 in 6 times. With only a 50% chance of wounding and that having probably 33% chance of being saved (or more for my Knights), he would have to make about 18 attacks to expect to wound as opposed to a non-nurgle set-up where he "only" needs about 9 at most, possibly less. So it makes for a better game that gives the Ogres a more fair chance.

Of course, this list is set-up specifically for the Ogres. If I were to make a "take on all comers" list based on this, I would not take the great Weapons but take shields instead, meaning I am less likely to wound him but more likely to save the hits he does get through. I think my win percentage would climb precipitously...though hopefully I am wrong.

Also, I actually started wasting my time...err, trying to assemble my Shaggoth tonight. In a shock to nobody, it is not going any better than my third attempt to pin the stupid minotaur. But if and when I get the stupid thing assembled, I will probably find a way to work his 265 points into most if not all the lists, though that could fundamentally change it.

The way it is set up now, it plans to have 2 blocks of infantry in the center with fast Knights on each wing to pin down the opponent and make sure I get into close combat. I should be able to get there by keeping my Battle Standard Bearer more or less centered. That way, between the Will of Chaos rule and units within 6" being Stubborn with a re-roll for BSB proximity, I should have an 89% chance of wading through any quantity of casualties to get into close combat. If I can do that, do a few casualties, then I don't really care if I win or lose.

My most recent game, it had one of those epic moments I love where my Knights charged in and did some massive amount of damage, something like 11 or 12 casualties. It was great fun (for me, probably not so much for my victim).  I would love to get in like 1 of those per game but still get a draw or minor loss. That would be awesome. It will be tough to do though since most armies that take a pounding like that cannot recover.

Some can. And that is what I hope to see. Of course, adding the Shaggoth would fundamentally change the structure as to save enough points to include him would probably require removing a block of Chaos Warriors in favor of Marauders. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

 Against Dwarf armies with no hill I can either use them with Wulfrik or as a screen. 
Against Skink armies, screen and help with frontage to pin down the squirmy little buggers.

Against Ogres, they can take out those pesky Gnoblars.

Against Dark Elfs...well, my entire army is casualties anyway :-)

Against the Brets, they can compete with Men at Arms or flank charge Grail Knights if my own Knights can survive for a couple turns to give them time to arrive. Or join Wulfrik to hit that pesky Trebuchet...

So it is not necessarily a bad thing to have more Marauders and less Warriors, simply means ALL my damage will have to come from Knights instead of just the bulk of it.

Any way you look at it, I love this army list and think it might be what I base my "all comers" list on. I have been fiddling around with a lot of lists, and this is the first one I have been excited to play, win or lose. 

I think the magic ones will pop up just often enough to make people defend against them, but I like the "Armor Plated Close Combat Army of Doom".

As an aside, it could then be modeled after the Spartans.

The Marauders could be the Hoplites and/or Massenians. The Warriors could be the Spartans themselves. And of course, my theme of naming my leaders after famous losers could start with Leonidas and work down the list...good times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Putting together army lists

Kev and I have a plan to play Saturday using sliding army lists. We will each roll d6. 1-2 = 1500 points, 3-4 he 1750 points, and 5-6 = 2000 points. So we could have as far different as a 2000 verse 1500 point game all the way to both having the same size army. Should be fun.

Well, I decided to make 6 armies; for each point value, I will make one magic heavy army and one non-magic army. So here goes.

1500 points version 1

I will start by putting in the units I WANT to include.

5 Chaos Knights w/ Full Comand, Mark of Khorne, and Banner of Wrath 325 points
5 Chaos Knights w/Full Command, Mark of Khorne, and War Banner, 305 points

Now for core
12 Chaos Warriors w/Full Command, Mark of Khorne, and Great Weapons 234
13 "                                                                                                                "              251

Exalted Hero on Chaos Steed w/shield, Filth Mace, Favour of the gods, and Khorne, 186 points

Wulfrik the Wanderer, 185
Total: 1486 points
I can put Wulfrik in with one unit of Warriors for a little punch and to give me two shots at winning a combat worthy of rolling on the table. With 2 fast moving units and two solid blocks of infantry, I should be in good shape against the Ogres. I know his play style, and this would mean lots of fun, quick close combat battles. 

Alternatively, for 276 points I could mount an Exalted hero, give him the Banner of the gods to make units w/in 6" stubborn. I would need to take out some things, though. 

Minus Wulfrik and one Chaos Warrior saves me 202 points and I am already 14 under. 60 more points; gone is the Banner of Wrath since that would be my only magic, hence easily dispelled. I need 15 more points; it is a choice between the War Banner and another Chaos Warrior; Since I would not mind seeing Kev win though I am not going to simply give him the game, I think it would make my army a hair more balanced to remove the War Banner since he has issues with combat resolution scores so it should be a more fun game for both of us. 

So lets add up again:

5 Knights w/Khorne, full command = 280 x2 = 560
12 Chaos Warriors w/ Great Weapons, Khorne, Full Command = 234 x2 =468
Exalted Hero on Chaos Steed w/Khorne, Filth Mace, Favor = 186
Exalted Hero w/Banner of the gods, Chaos Steed, Nurgle = 271 (went with Nurgle to make him a bit more durable)
1485. Perfect. 

Looks to me like a fun army that I actually really, really want to play against his Ogres. I think it would be great fun. In fact, I am not doing a 1500 point magic army because this looks perfect to me. 

It is a small, fast moving, hard hitting army that, in the right circumstances, could see him off the field shortly. Given the wrong circumstances, it is pretty fragile and just one or two poor rolls could see me exit in short order. Of course, if terrain allows, my entire army will have two shots needing an 8 to not leave; an 89% chance I will be there after re-roll due to Will of Chaos or my Army Standard Bearer. I love it. I really, really hope this is the army I roll, though that could change after I see what I do at the next level.

1750 point
See above, but add Wulfrik (185) and some Marauders:20 would give me exactly 1750 points with no upgrades, but against Ogres I want Great weapons. So 16 of them. But wait:I want them tougher to support Wulfrik so lets go with Nurgle and a standard Bearer for a little extra Combat Resolution. So now there is a 30 point add to the unit cost...never mind. I only had 80 to spend. I will keep the Great Weapons, so 5 points apiece: 16 of them. 
Wulfrik and 16 Marauders w/Great Weapons = 265
265 + 1485=1750. Only the presence of the Marauders keeps this from being my preferred army. So I might use the 80 points instead to purchase an additional 4 Chaos Warriors. But one of those two alignments will be a "3" on the die roll.

Magic Heavy 1750
I will start this a little different: With Characters, then fill in around them.

Sorcerer, level 2, with Tzeentch, Conjoined Homonculus, Blood of Tzeentch, Spell Familiar, 215 points
Sorcerer, Level 2 with Tzeentch, Infernal Puppet, 155 points
Sorcerer, Level 1 w/Tzeentch, Power Familiar, Power Stone 150 points
Sorcerer, Level 1 w/Tzeentch, Skull of Katam, 155 points
675 so far.

5 Chaos Knights w/ Full Comand, Mark of Khorne, and Banner of Wrath 325 points
5 Chaos Knights w/Full Command, Mark of Khorne, and War Banner, 305 points

Just 445 points for core:two ways to go.

10 Marauders = 40
10 Marauders = 40
There is a rumor afloat I might be acquiring more Marauders; if so, I will fill out many more points with them and use them to protect my Wizards. If not, then

17  Chaos Warriors w/Nurgle, Great Weapons, full command 349 points
675+630+80+349=1734.  Good enough. 

Oddly, though it has lots of Magic and Knights...this list looks at best mildly entertaining to play. Something wrong with me. Wait!
If I drop the Warriors to just 10 I will save enough points to put in a Chaos Warshrine! Consider it done.

2000 Point Combat Heavy
Now to the big game. 
Sigvald the Magnificent, 425 points. Continuing my new trend; taking troops that do not fit my play style. He suffers stupidity. Not someone I normally like, but this time...I love him.
Wulfrik, 185
Exalted Hero w/Banner of the gods, Chaos Steed, Nurgle = 271
Exalted Hero on Chaos Steed w/shield, Filth Mace, Favour of the gods, and Khorne, 186 points
Hero Hammer time, 1067 points of heroes

5 Chaos Knights w/ Full Comand, Mark of Khorne, and Banner of Wrath 325 points
5 Chaos Knights w/Full Command, Mark of Khorne, and War Banner, 305 points

303 points for 3 core choices:

11 Chaos Warriors w/ Great Weapons, Khorne, Full Command = 217 
2 units each of 10 Marauders = 80
1997 points

I think I would rather have more Warriors, though, so drop the Marauders and Warriors as above, plus the one Filth Mace wielding Hero.
Replace them with:
12 Chaos Warriors w/ Great Weapons, Khorne, Full Command = 234 x2 =468
20 Marauders w/Great Weapons, Nurgle, Full Command, War Banner: That means no banners for the Knights.175 points

So now we have:
Sigvald the Magnificent, 425 points. 
Wulfrik, 185
Exalted Hero w/Banner of the gods, Chaos Steed, Nurgle = 271
881 Hero Points.

5 Knights w/Khorne, full command = 280 x2 = 560
12 Chaos Warriors w/ Great Weapons, Khorne, Full Command = 234 x2 =468
20 Marauders w/Great Weapons, Nurgle, Full Command, War Banner, 175 points
881+560+468+175=2084:- the War Banner and Command, 2039. Minus Nurgle, 2009. Minus 2 Marauders =1999. Bingo.
Sigvald can cross bad terrain, Wulfrik can enter from various table edges...I like it.

Magic Heavy 2000
We will start with a Prince, Level 4, with Tzeentch and Tendrils of Tzeentch 535 points
Sorcerer, level 2, with Tzeentch, Conjoined Homonculus, Blood of Tzeentch, Spell Familiar, 215 points
Sorcerer, Level 2 with Tzeentch, Infernal Puppet, 155 points
Sorcerer, Level 1 w/Tzeentch, Power Familiar, Power Stone 150 points
1055 points

10 x Marauder = 40 x2=80
5 Chaos Knights w/ Full Comand, Mark of Khorne, and Banner of Wrath 325 points
5 Chaos Knights w/Full Command, Mark of Khorne, and War Banner, 305 points
12 Chaos Warriors w/ Great Weapons, Khorne, Full Command = 234
1999 points

And there we have it. Since I will not have my Shaggoth put together by Saturday, here is a list for every option that will have no more than 3 proxies (and that is only if I proxy 3 Marauders). Go me!

And there is your scouting report, Kev. Looking forward to the game! And to my continued domination of the poker... :-)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Further thoughts on Marauders and Repeater Crossbows

This is not a fully formed thought but is something that needs exploring and I am putting up here to perhaps stimulate conversation. It has to do with expectations. What expectations can we have for a Core Unit?

In some armies such as the Dwarf and Wood Elf army, that expectation is they can do damage to any enemy they encounter. For other armies such as the Vampire Counts, Goblins (and probably Tomb Kings?), the expectation is the core units will not do any damage but the Special and Rare units will get the job done.

So lets get started.

Vampire Counts have line troops which are their basic infantry. As a non-VC player, it seems to me those are two-fold: Zombies and Skeletons.

No unit facing Zombies is going to be overly fearful. With an all-but-pointless WS of 1 and S of 2, they will hit just 33% of the time and wound even less than that; only against T3 troops will they even wound that often. Against troops with an "average" stat line of WS3, T3, they will need 9 attacks just to get one wound on average. 

Of course, with their irrelevant initiative of 1, they will seldom have all their line troops attacking back since they are likely to be hit 66% of the time and, with a T of just 2, probably be wounded close to that often. 

So they have an excellent chance of receiving damage every turn of close combat while only doing damage back in return once every four or five turns. 

The Skeletons are slightly better with S and T of 3. So against other troops with an "average" stat line* (where "average" is defined as M4, WS 4, everything else but wounds, attacks and LD as a 3) they will still hit 33% of the time and be hit 66% of the time.

These are their core units, their basic block infantry. These units cannot be counted upon to actually inflict casualties do to their poor stat line. Their saving graces are their cheap costs, ability to re-spawn, and unbreakable nature. 

Compare that to the famed Marauders. They have an  average WS of 4, Average S/T of 3, and decent I of 4. 

Against Zombies and Skeletons they are going to do some damage. Against others, such as Dwarf Warriors and/or Ogre Bulls, they are going to struggle. And against some it will depend on who has the hot dice...say, Repeater Crossbowmen.

Example: say I take 25 Marauders with Full command and give them Lt Armor, shield, and the Mark of Tzeentch to make them as rugged as possible. They start with a Static Combat Resolution score of +4 or +5 due to ranks, banner, and possibly outnumbering.

If I run into Zombies or Skeletons, I expect to win the combat more often than not even though they are likely to cancel most of my SCR. I figure to run my unit 5 wide so will more than likely hit 3 - 4 times per average turn and wound 1-2 zombies or Skeletons who are seldom going to save. Meanwhile, they will then have just 2 - 3 attacking back and hit perhaps once per turn which means I should only lose a Marauder once every 3 turns...less if my saves are working.

Conversely, if I run into Ogre Bulls, the numbers change. With my superior initiative I still look to strike first with 6 attacks (assuming a champion) and hit with 4. Now, however, I wound just  1.33 of them and I believe he saves one in 3. Furthermore, it takes 3 wounds to kill one and reduce his power to strike back. So it takes me 3 - 4 turns to reduce his combat power while he, conversely, is striking back 4 times, hitting 1.33 times, wounding 66% of those and reducing my save to 6+/6+.  I figure to lose that combat if my SCR score does not force him to break.

Clearly, the Marauders then are a unit whose effectiveness is defined by what unit they encounter.

 Contrast that with a unit such as the Chaos Warriors. They are still a Core unit but have WS5, S4, T4. That means against most CORE units, they will hit 66% of the time and wound 66% of the time. Meanwhile, they will only be hit 33% of the time and most core units will wound them either 50% of the time (for the very best enemies) and perhaps even just 33% of the time for the more common ones. 

The Chaos Warriors, then, expect to win the majority of their close combats. It is an upset when they lose one (though I have lost every one I have been in but two....). 

So what does all this have to do with anything?

Altered expectations. 

My Marauders have faced:

Dwarf Warriors.
Ogre Bulls.
Dark Elf Cold One Knights.
Grail Knights. 
A Hydra.
Dark Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower Crews.
Brettonian Pegasus Knights.

That is a much tougher than expected line-up. I have not yet gotten to go up against the softer enemies like the Goblins or Vampire Counts.

As a result, they have done two things consistently; died in droves and failed to do any damage.

I have yet to face the Goblin horde. I have yet to face the Vampire Counts.

Overall, they SHOULD encounter units they have at least a chance against. However, to this point they have only faced such a unit once (the Dark Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower Crew) and failed to wound in that instance...not a terrifyingly huge statistically upset since I had only about 4 guys attacking.

The Dark Elf Repeater Crossbowmen, meanwhile, have encountered the Skinks a couple times, the Vampire Counts at least once, Gnoblars, Marauders, and so forth; they have had targets that fall within the realm of what they can expect to damage.

Since I have not encountered units I can expect to damage but he has played a unit with a similar stat line that he has seen do damage, it is natural he would see the Marauders as a viable combat force whereas I, who due to a variety of factors, have only seen them battle units they have no reasonable expectation of damaging, see them as a worse than useless force...particularly in light of the following.

If I take a unit of Marauders that are intended to win a combat, they start adding up in points. 
First off, I know I have to at least partially rely on static combat resolution. That means 5 wide by 4 deep, a minimum of 20 models. However, since they are so fragile and slow, I know they will take casualties so I want at least 5 additional models. So now I am up to 100 points, not a bad number. Next, I am going to take a Mark. One can make an argument for the Mark of Tzeentch to give them some defense against Magic, but I am more inclined to take the Mark of Nurgle which is better than an armor save.**

I am also going to take Light Armor and Shield if I don't know who I am facing since against Skinks, the Vampire Count army, and even Ogres I will have at least some save. I am now up about 160 points or so for a unit that desperately needs the charge to have a solid chance of doing damage against average opponents.

Compare that to a similar points value of Chaos Warriors. 10 Warriors with Full command, Nurgle, and Shield are about 200 points, or about 40 points more, give or take a nickel. However, they figure to do damage to any enemy they encounter and with T4 and a save of 3+/2+ will stand a lot of punishment. 

So for a similar point total, the expectation is completely different. With the Marauders, their damage dealing potential depends on encountering a favorable match-up in opponents whereas with the Warriors they should always do some casualties.

So when I see two units with similar points values but one having the probability of hurting my opponent while the other is likely to just give my opponents some easy points, it is clear why I have such distaste for the Marauders.

The roll of screen is done better by the Warhounds. They both block line of sight, both are cheap, but the Warhounds have a M7 and are Fast Cavalry. The Warriors, meanwhile, can provide the same role as Marauders as a slow, immobile screening unit while still being worth getting into combat at a similar price. Their only disadvantage is starting 2 behind the Marauders in SCR. 

So from the standpoint of looking at my own army list, other than a cheese use for Marauders (10 man units to grab table quarters), I just see other units that do the same job better for similar points. Kind of like taking Forsaken instead of Chaos Warriors :-)

On the bright side, that is further reason to take them. Units like them, the Chaos Spawn, maybe even the Forsaken will be appearing with more regularity. On the other hand, so will the Warshrine and/or Chariot :-)

So what are your expectations for Core Units? Are they capable of dealing damage or are they only good as screens, march blockers, Frenzy charge drawers, and so forth?

* A quick scan shows that in Core Units, about 3.7 is the average. Some armies such as Goblin Armies have 2s, most versions of Elf armies have 4s, Ogres have 3s, Bretonnian Man at Arms have 2s, and so forth. More armies have 4s than otherwise.

** An armor save forces the opponent to make no additional rolls. However, the Mark of Nurgle reduces their odds of striking by 17%, thus meaning they need to make more to-hit rolls to do the same number of wounds and thus have a smaller party of hits that still need to roll to wound. That is worded awkwardly so a quick number crunching.
10 rolls to hit needing 4s expect to hit 50% of the time, or 5 hits. If they wound 50% of the time, 10 shots will wound 2.5 times. Assuming the save is 6+ (Mark of Tzeentch), <1>
However, if it is 1 harder to hit, that same 17% alteration, the 10 shots now hit 3.33 times. Those 3.33 hits now need to hit 50% so approximately 1.8 wounds.