Sunday, June 13, 2010

1500 pt O&G v. High Elfs

I ponder how to set up my mighty forces, feeling mighty spiffy in my rocking pink collar.

As with much of the Warhammer universe, our group takes a dim view of the abilities of the Orc and Goblin army. There is a reason for this.

On any given turn, on average close to 1/3rd of your army will be operating outside your complete control due to animosity/Waaaagggh non-sense. This is compounded by low leadership and sub-par strength of attacks.

The result is a hard to control army subject to fleeing at inopportune times and struggling to wound tough enemies.

On the flip side of the coin, they have some very fun stuff. I played a game (no report written) a couple weaks ago at 1000 points versus the Beastmen. I had a jolly good time with the Doom Diver, the Iron-Back Boar impact hits, the Squig Hoppers, and the Fanatics. In fact, the Squig Hoppers saw off one unit on turn two and, when defeated in turn three, led their pursuers too close to the Night Goblins, thus seeing the Fanatics whirl in and finish him off (they took out his best unit which included his general and another key character so we packed it in after I think 2 turns since the game was, for all intents and purposes, over) (thus the lack of report...short game.)

My buddy Space Monkey and I decided on the spur of the moment to play a game to get him some experience with the High Elfs. He has his dragon painted and a couple other units that, combined with some stuff I had painted would make for a small but intriguing game.

He wanted to use his Dragon Mage, so off we went.

Contrary to my usual practice, I elected to build a thematic army. Generally, I just build an army by first putting in the units I want to play, then using my remaining points to cover the weaknesses.

This time I chose to emphasize the "no control" theme; all Savage Orcs or Night Goblins.*

In the set-up, I then further went with the theme. The Night Goblins...who universally fear the elfs would be on the right flank. I put 20 bows spread in a thin line anchored on the forest on the hill on my extreme right, with the Spear Chukkah in the forest. The other Spear Chukkah was on my left, and the Night Goblin Spearmen went behind the bowmen. Then the Squig Hoppers went on the extreme right in the forest, their ability to skirmish meaning it would not matter.

On the left I went front were 13 Savage Orc Bowmen, with 15 Savage Orc Big Uns with extra Choppa in hand, and the Shaman, Big Boss on Ironback Boar and Chariot behind them. The Giant was more or less just between the spear chukkah and the Night Goblins.

He placed a line of Lothern Sea Guard spread in a line facing my Night Goblin bowmen, and behind them his White Lions and Phoenix Guard?

In his hill-top forest went his Repeater Bolt Thrower and Shadow Warriors with his Knights just next to the forest and in front of his Dragon mage.

O&G Turn 1I fail my animosity with the Night Goblin Spearmen (actually, I Waaaghed...but I needed them to NOT move for my battle plan/army theme so I consider it a fail), and make a general advance to get in range. I should have had him go first...*sigh* oh well. I then get the Foot of Gork off with Irresistible force and kill 3 Knights. 1 Spear Chukkah manages to wound the dragon...a great start for the greenskins!

High Elf Turn 1
On my left flank, he moves his Swordmasters forward and runs the Knights forward in front of them. He elects not to move anything on my right flank, though the Dragon Mage does fly off to my extreme right.

He then costs Conflagration of Doom on my Giant with a whopping 16 or so, and I am forced to use my only Dispel Scroll on it.

His Repeater Bolt thrower then fires a spread at my Savage Orc Arrer Boyz, wounding 2, one of which my mighty Warpaint saves.

This is one of those moments that is great about the game.

I, personally, prefer to use RBT to take out tough targets. I would have gone after the Giant. Yet I have seen some pretty solid statistical analysis that indicates the most damage is done by firing it the way he did.

My theory, however, goes thusly. A giant is tough to kill...high T, many W. He only has one or two things likely to have good chances to wound me. a RBT is one of those.

It is interesting to note that I am in the distinct minority even in the Starving Crazed Weasels...most prefer not to shoot when they have but one chance to hit.

I can certainly understand that point of view and do not necessarily disagree with it...however, he had Knights, Swordmasters, White Lions and Phoenix Guard who could all reasonably be expected to wound the Arrer Boyz relatively frequently, but is only a FAVORITE to wound the Giant with the Dragon and RBT. Their higher S (and the RBT ability to multi-wound) mean they are a threat the Giant must respect.

Meanwhile, the Giant was the only VISIBLE thing I had with a reasonable chance to wound his Dragon. If I lose the Giant, his Dragon could conceivably rampage at will throughout my lines. I had nothing else to stop it. Thus, to me, the clear target is taking out the only threat to your dominant advantage.

It all comes down to play style and choices.

I USUALLY go after the most dangerous thing first and then clean up the rest at my leisure. I also realize it is personal preference, and there is no really "wrong" answer here. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

His Shadow Warrios also fire at the Arrer Boyz and kill another. His Lothern Seaguard rain 3 hits on the Squig Hoppers, but their S3 proves unable to wound.

O & G Turn 2The Arrer Boyz really have no interest in charging, but my General, being frenzied, is GOING to charge whether I want him to or they might as well to provide him some support. And there are just two knights... so in go the Arrer Boyz.

On the right flank, I demonstrate a complete incompetence in regard to the rules. I think his reckless rule functions like frenzy and that if a flyer flies into trees, it is destroyed like impassable terrain.

So I move my Squig Hoppers towards his dragon mage to force that exact scenario.
I was wrong on every count. He is NOT forced to charge and would stop just short of the trees. Oops.

I manage to get all my magic dispelled, the one that hurt being rolling double 3s, he having just one die left and rolling a six. Grrr.

Shooting not much better as one Spear Chukkah hits, but a "1" means no wounds.

The General does 3 impact hits (Iron Back Boar, but he saves 2 of them, then in the challenge I whiff. Fortunately, I outnumber, and win...they break, I over-run. The Arrer Boyz barely move, but the General over-runs into the RBT. Woo-hoo!

High Elf Turn 2His Phoenix Guard charge the Arrer Boyz, his Dragon mage charges the Squig Hoppers, and his Shadow Warriors reform to flank my General after he over-runs the RBT (assuming he will).

I use all my dice to Dispel his Conflagration of Doom, he gets of Flaming Sword off.

The Lothern Sea Guard kill 3 Night Goblin bowmen in six hits.

Prior to forming up to face the dragon (and showing my one proxy unit...only 2 actual riders)

The dragon tears the Squig Hoppers to shreds, and then pursues leading to one of my favorite moments in recent memory.

Check out the joy on that Squig-hoppers face. He survived the onslaught...will he survive the pursuit?

It also releases all my Fanatics who open up a can of whoop-smurf on his candy smurf. ** They do a whopping 17 hits. 10 on the dragon, doing....ONE wound. ONE. Hence, I will probably need my Giant to do any damage to him... But they do seven wounds to the Mage. He saves 4 but dies, and the Dragon gets the "whimper" result...which means the Fanatic that JUST reached him dies, and in its death throws, he takes another 2 wounds.

Meanwhile, my General kills both Bolt Thrower crew with impact hits, and gets nearly a max over-run, thus escaping the Shadow Warriors.

I kept trying to anticipate his wins and over-runs so I could counter-charge with my Chariot. It never worked...because I kept beating his Elite units with the Savage Orcs.

High Elf Turn 3
His Swordmasters (I think I called them Phoenix Guard earlier) charge my Save Orc Big Uns. I am not too worried...I have a couple ranks, they are my best combat troops, with good S and T and an extra attack from the Choppas and another from Frenzy.

His champ and mine go into a challenge. His General kills one Big Un. In the challenge, I ward save his hit (Go 6+ Ward!) and wound him back 3 times. He saves 2 with his own Ward save but fails the third and dies. The other 3 swordmasters kill 2 Big Uns, my last guy kills 2 of his. I win by 2 but he passes his test.

Orc & Goblin Turn 4
The Giant charges into the combat and gets in a challenge with Cadryan (?). Foot of Gork stomps the Lothern Seaguard, killing 4, I release my bound spell 'headbuttt to kill another, and then the Gaze of Gork finishes them off. Magic FTW!

In the challenge, Cadryan wounds the Giant. The Giant swings his club, wounding Cadryan thrice, but saved twice, so tied. His Sword masters kill 2 Big Uns, I do 2 wounds back and he armor saves one and ward saves the other. I still win the combat...

High Elf Turn 4
He makes a couple charges on my right flank with his tardily moving White Lions and Phoenix Guard.

Note: he had not played for a while, so this was understandable. In our post-battle discussion, these were the primary topic. He admitted his initial plan was thwarted...and as a result he only began moving them late in the game.
This was a big advantage for me as it allowed my weak flank to hold its own and actually (eventually) take out his dragon mage while my strong flank was allowed to have more strength at each point of contact.

There is a lesson here for every general . Units you place or leave where they are no threat are wasted points and give your opponent an unnecessary advantage. He effectively removed nearly a third of his points from the battle until too late whereas I had just about 10% of my points over there.

This had the same effect as giving me over a 300 point advantage...and in a 1500 point game, that is far too much unless one player is VASTLY superior to the other.

Always make sure you have not just a primary role for each troop, but also a secondary role...never let them just stand around. At the very least THREATEN your opponent with them...maybe a flank charge or even a frontal charge if necessary. A threat is often better than an actual attack because your opponent then has to react.

This is not a shot at Space Monkey. I think it would be unfair to expect someone who had not played in close to a year to play a flawless game (and I have already shown that I hardly played a flawless game...) and this is exactly the type of thing that is more about inexperience and rust than anything.

Anyway, I stand and shoot....3 Phoenix Guard slain, the other 2 break and run. The White Lions make it in.

His Shadow Guard also charge my General.

The White Lions only kill 2 bowmen and take a casualty in return. I am ranked (I had reformed a while before when I had no target and I was thinking about moving my spearmen)...he breaks and flees.

My general kills 2 Shadow Warriors, the other breaks, I overrun him.

Cadryan cannot wound the Giant, the Giant again swings club. Three wounds...two saved, one not. It is enough. Cadryan dies...and does 5 wounds to the Giant with the curse, killing him as well!
This was the highlight of the night, as it was the express purpose Space Monkey included Cadryan, and it worked. He wanted Cadryan to die and take someone with him via curse. Since the Giant was my single most expensive model (by about double!) it was the right one.

No damage from the fall.
His Swordmasters die and we call it.

The traditional "We survived the carnage" photo op.
My Chariot did lots of maneuvering, but never managed to get into combat. Fail. Well, sort was always a threat he had to be aware of. Would have been nice to get some impact hits...and I kept it from getting charged. But

My General, by contrast, rampaged around the field killing indiscriminately. He basically Casablanca'd the entire High Elf army.

The Spear chukkas, for just 70 points total, put a wound on a dragon. The fanatics killed the dragon (and about 6 or 7 Night Goblins) and Mage. Epic success.

The Squig Hoppers lured him to where I wanted him...65 points well spent.

The Savage Orc big Uns were fun (and look cool) but struggled to wound t3 troops. Scary. I can only imagine how ugly it would be against Chaos Warriors or Ogres. Oh, well.

The Savage Orc Shaman and Night Goblin Shaman combined to kill 3 Knights, 10 Lothern Sea Guard, and keep him from getting off Conflagration of Doom.

This was a very enjoyable evening with my favorite Warhammer outcome. Do not know who not care. We both did some casualties, both took some, and had a great time with my good friend playing an entertaining game.

Oh, and...the O&G are quite fun.

* Yes, I realize the chariot and Spear Chukkas do not have options for those things...but they were the only models I had to hand to fill the points.
** Yes, you are welcome for the random, pointless callback to the Great One, the Rock. Do you smell what I am cooking?


John said...

Another great write up - always enjoy reading your thoughts on various aspects of the game and how units work.

Orcs & Goblins are a good army when used right. Squid Hoppers are just nasty esp. vs. opponents (like me) who keep forgetting that they explode when they die. And Fanatics are brutal.

2nd ranked WHFB player in New Zealand runs with Orcs & Goblins and regularly cleans up in tournaments with them.

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