Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1500 Lizardmen Versus Bretonnians

I had long wanted to play the Lizardmen and Liam wanted another game so we agreed on 1500. I went with a Saurus Scar-Veteran as my general, planted him in a block of 25 Saurus Warriors, added a Skink Priest atop an Engine, put in 2 10 man skirmishing Skinks and a dozen Suarus Cold Ones.

My part of the battlefield had a stream crossing my left flank deployment zone, a hill on the right with a row of fence in front of the hill. He had a castle in his deployment zone on my left flank with rough ground in between the castle and stream and forest on my right flank so he would have to deploy in the middle.

I put some skinks in the stream on my left flank, the others on the hill on my right. the Engine came just inside of the hill, the Saurus with Scar-vet in the middle, and I put the Cold Ones with their flank on the river, angled to counter-charge anyone who charged the Saurus.

He put 25 or 30 bowmen in and around the castle, Knights of the Realm (KoR) facing the cold ones, a grail Reliquae opposite the Saurus, and his Grail Knights (GK) on my right, angled so anybody who charged the Reliquae would get stuck on it and therefore flank-charged by the Grail Knights.

I knew from the set-up I was in trouble. My CoK would not be able to hit his Grail Knights and I have little (read "no") faith in the talents of the Saurus. I find them over costed and under powered. With the current rules, I am always shocked when they do a casualty to any but the weakest of enemies.

Well, he prays to get the blessing, but I need him to move first since my Skinks range is...well...short. 12" and in is where I can shoot which means if I can shoot, he can charge.

Bretonnian Turn 1
He moves his Reliquae straight forward with the KoR and GK pacing it. His archers advance and unleash a mighty hail of arrows at the CoK. Of the 20 shots he takes, just 4 hit. Cool, no problem...what, 3 wounds? No problem, I need 2s to save. Too bad I rolled two "1s" in there and am already down to 10 CoK. Aaaagggghhh! For someone who regularly needs to roll just a 2 or better to save, I lose an awful lot of troops to some soft shooting.

Lizardman Turn 1
I move my Engine over behind the fence, hoping to avoid geting charged by the GK so I can use Burning Radiance or whatever that awesome ability is called. Everyone else makes a slight advance, hoping to avoid getting charged.
Magic: Forked Lightning at the Grail Knights, wound a couple, they fail the Save...justice...but then pass the Ward save. No damage. Grr. Out of range of Burning. I do manage to get Portent of Far off on my skinks so they might hurt the GK.
Shooting; Only 2 skinks have range, neither hits. Round 1 clearly advantage Brets.

Bretonnian Turn 2
The Reliquae advances another 8". The KoR lag about 2" behind so they cannot be charged. Then...Liam makes what I think is perhaps the second biggest mistake he has ever made.

After checking to see what the fence does....he then moves the GK behind the Reliquae, somehow missing that there is no way the Engine could (or perhaps more importantly, would even consider) charging his GK. If I did charge, I would not make it and even if I made it, he starts out outnumbering, with Banner, overall Banner, War Banner and some virtue so he starts out +5 at worst and is going to win the combat.

But part of it might be not knowing that the Skink atop the Engine cannot afford to die, so must be kept out of combat as much as possible. So it was a good learning experience and really would only mean one extra turn before he could flank charge me when I got in contact with the Reliquae.

This turn his Bowmen unleash at the skinks and slay 5 of them. Half my unit wiped out instantaneously...ouch.

Lizardman Turn 2
The Saurus charge the Reliquae. And here Liam makes what I believe is the biggest mistake he has made. That is actually meant as a compliment. For someone new to the game, he usually plays very well, maximizing the use of his best troops. He will start winning a lot when he figures out how to build an army that matches his style. It is unusual for him to make obvious, glaring errors.

But this was one. The whole strategy for the Reliquae is to tie up my units against a Stubborn unit. With LD8 and a BSB-granted re-roll, there is a 93% chance I have to slay every pilgrim to get past the unit and frankly, that ain't happening before he crashes into me with his hammer Knight units.

So to flee with it, as he did, was quite shocking and bizarre and game-breaking.
The CoK therefore are in range of the KoR and charge in. Let me re-phrase that; they are out of range, but based on a conversation we had held (my brothers and I) about the value of a 1-use standard, I had given him the Huanch standard, added d6 to my roll, and only needed 1" for the charge to hit home. So the standard allowed me to get the charge...uh...yeah?

Now time for the best magic phase of the game. I am able to get the Engine on the flank of the GK, safe from being charged and well within range for Burning alignment, which kills two GK. No armor saves is great when using it, and really blows chunks when facing it with guys whose main advantage is having a good armor save.

Well, Forked Lightning passes and he uses all his Dispel Dice trying to block it. It wounds 5 GK, he saves 4 outright, then Ward Saves the other. Ah, the power of a great armor Save! But then I use my one-use item which unleashes Uranons Thunderbolt which slays 3 (this time he can only save and ward save 2). I killed 5 GK in the magic phase!

Then my blowpipes open up, wounding him 4 times (poison RULES!).He promptly (and unsurprisingly) saves 3 and Ward Saves the 4th.

Close Combat; I have been hearing great things from the normal Lizardman player and from the Dark Elf player about how great the Cold One cavalry is. I am looking forward to it. I have 2 ranks, a standard bearer with Huanch, and the charge. Time to do some work!

If by work you mean of my 10 attacks, only 2 hit, one wounded, he saved it, and the Cold Ones all miss...
Coming back at me, he hits once, wounds once, I need a 2+ to save...and fail it. On the bright side, after ALL his horses hit, only 1 wounded and that I saved.

So, uh, yeah. I lost the combat. Took a key wound which meant I no longer had a rank bonus (stupid 2 wounds to his archers!). I was not impressed.

At least I passed my break test and hey...I did a number on the GK this turn.

Bretonnian Turn 3
Since my Saurus were hanging out looking for the long-gone Reliquae, his remaining GK charged them. I was not too bothered, since I had reduced them to not very scary, had 3 rank bonus, a Standard, outnumber, and my General Scar-Veteran in the group.

His cruel archers decided to shoot down the last 5 skinks. What was he thinking? I like my skinks and their poison! *sigh*

Well, his charge seemed a little superior to mine. The GK kill 7 Saurus, their horses kill another, in a challenge he killed my unit champ, and I am in trouble. My Scar Veteran did wound him 3 times, but he saved 2 of them and one more GK died. I failed the break test, he failed to catch me, and I was less than 1" from the edge of the table.

Meanwhile, his KoR hit 3 times, no wounds, his horses wound once but I save it. Ihit him 4 times, wound twice, he saves both. The cold ones then do what mounts do...outperform their riders despite having lower numbers on WS, S, and A. They kill 2...he breaks...I run him down and am ready to hit the Reliqua fleers.

Lizardman Turn 4
I charge his bowmen, too close for stand and shoot. My Saurus rally. My Engine gets right behind the GK.
This time I am ineffective with magic. And shooting.

The bowmen die in droves, flee, I pursue. For some reason, I stopped taking notes, but I more or less know it was going my way at this point.

Bretonnian Turn 5
His GK charge my Saurus again, though by this time they have but one GK, the General, and the BSB. His Reliquae fails to rally, flee the field.

He does a number on the Saurus, kills my General, I break and flee, he does not pursue.

Lizardman Turn 5
The Engine charges his GK unit from behind. The Burning Alignement kills the GK, the impact hits kill his BSB, the General breaks and runs.

When he first set up, I was worried. I knew his GK could do lots of damage to my Saurus. My one hope was to somehow get a flank charge on his GK, hoping magic and poison would have whittled them down enough to give me a chance in the battle.

Instead, he took himself out of a vastly superior tactical position and allowed me to bring more force to bear on each of his units than he could handle. Make a person roll enough dice and they will fail a save here and there (or, if you are me and need a 2+, you might even fail something like 3 out of 5 tries...) and thus become manageable.

I was highly impressed with the Engine. That Burning Radiance was simply awesome. It is fun because it requires some skill to play as you have to maneuver it to be close enough to the target...or preferably multiple targets...to do damage while still being safe from being charged as losing the Skink Priest is devastating.

The saurus would be much better if either A) they could be made stubborn or B) they actually ever got a chance to attack back. I absolutely think the current rules set has made a huge shift to over-valuing the charge by ruling that you cannot attack back even though you can be killed. If I have a block of 25 infantry and do not get to attack back even one time...what is the point to taking infantry at all? Why not just cheese it up with a couple units of skink skirmishers to fulfill the core requirement and go all CoK, Engines, Stegadons, Slann, and so forth? Infantry becomes French for "free points for your opponent".

I think this game would have ended in a solid victory for him had he not made the two huge maneuvering errors, first by taking his GK away from threatening to flank my entire battle line and second by fleeing with the Reliquae.

At the same time, we talked about it later, and he definitely learned from both things so that is a very good thing.

Overall, it was a fun game and I liked playing the Lizardmen. Definitely a change in thinking from either the Warriors of Chaos or the Wood Elf army and I would not be averse to rolling them out a few more times when Fullur isn't looking.


kennyB said...

I still maintain that the CoK are great choices for Phillip and I, though they are vastly inferior to many other Heavy Cavalry in multiple ways, Stupidity being the one that kills me the most. You and your Chaos Knights have a base 33% more attacks (2 for rider and 1 for mount vs CoK 1 for rider and 1 for mount) at a higher WS with a Higher Movement(?), Strength and Armour Save, and are all able to be given Frenzy to bring it to 150% more attacks than CoK (3 for rider and 2 for mount vs 1 for rider and 1 for mount) and immunity to Psychology, and are not stupid. Not much of a competition there. But looking at our other options, not much there for close-combat hard-hitting quick-moving elite tough troops. So for us, CoK are still great!

Darth Weasel said...

Oh, I agree in their armies the cold Ones are good...I was more referencing their entry into the pantheon of stupendously good units I want to use...that promptly open the can of suctitude for me like the Wardancers and Shaggoth did in their initial runs.

Whiffing completely on the charge and losing the combat was...well...not impressive.

As for the comparison, you can get nearly 2 CoK for the price of one Chaos Knight and, if I give mine the upgrades, then you can get slightly more that 2 for 1. And movement is equal, I have net 7".

You get higher S on charge which you will almost always get because I am forced to come to you by your shooting...though that is not true of Fullur as the short range of his shooting gives me an excellent chance of getting the charge on him.

So overall, I actually put the CoK on par with my Chaos Knights.

Especially for you since you can remove stupidity :-)

By the time your 2-1 points advantage to buy them lets you get rank bonus and you get the charge due to your shooting, I will be hard put to withstand a charge unless I have my BSB with War Banner in the unit to counteract your rank bonuses, outnumbering, double banner with C.R. resolution units...and even then I desperately need to make a few saves just to get to the second round where I can hopefully start breaking even.

Should be some truly titanic games of that nature.

kennyB said...

Except the points value is closer to 3-2 (91- 80) not 2-1 (54-40) and a front line that does 2 1/2 times the attacks makes up for a whole lot, as well as Dark Elves only having a Special Character that can remove Stupidity, and only for the unit he is in. And finally, the odds of doing enough casualties to make a difference to a decent sized unit of Chaos Knights, even if the CoK get the charge, is not good, and then they are at a severe disadvantage due to the your superior stat lines and equipment. But they can prove themselves on the battle field. =)

Darth Weasel said...

ah, my bad...I was thinking the Cold Ones were 22 or 23 points apiece base cost. How many can you get for 250, if you include full command?

As for the casualties...I have seen the Cold Ones do enough casualties to my Chaos Warriors (who admittedly have 2 worse save) that, despite having TWO heroes in the ranks, they did not get to attack back. So yeah, I definitely fear the Cold Ones.

How many points is the death-star unit of them you run with Malekith or whoever it is that removes stupidity and gives them the ward or regen or whatever it is? Also, are they then stubborn? I have seen a couple permutations of the unit, so not sure what all you do with it

kennyB said...

For 250 points with full command I could get 7 Knights (7x27=189+40=229). But unfortunately, like that, they are Stupid and can't handle ANY enemies that require magic weapons, and have failed more Panic tests than I feel inclined to count. :(

27 Points apiece. My math
was off on the 91, should have been 81, but the 54 was correct ^^.

I usually have Malus (275) with 12 knights which simply removes the Stupidity (and adds what I consider the best Hero, Character or otherwise, that the DE have).
Add in my Army Standard Bearer for 274, and Full Command w/War Banner for 65, and the champion has the Cloak of Hag Graef for 25, brings the total to 2 Hero Level Characters and 963 points.

Darth Weasel said...

not sure what the banner does, but at roughly 1K points I usually have
BSB w/banner of chaos (makes them stubborn, he causes fear), 5 knights w/full command and usually banner of rage and mark of khorne in one unit or mark of khorne in other so they have 3 attacks apiece. That is about 600 so I also like to put my General in there, usually with some nice weapon and some armor, close to 1K.

So you would start with SCR of rank, outnumber, banner, overall banner and war banner for +5 I think.

I would start with SCR of banner and war banner so I start in hole by 3. Not overly bad.

If I get the charge, I might be able to wear you down just by being stubborn. But if you get the charge I am in deep trouble.

Which is good, means the points are approximately balanced.