Monday, July 19, 2010

Warriors of Chaos Versus High Elfs, 1K

A bit of background. Lately I have been trying to build alternate armies...armies with more of the troops I find ineffective ion the context of the overall army.

An example would be Marauders. Yes, with light armor and Great Weapons they are way cheaper than a similar troop choice in Empire army would be.

Unfortunately, without the artillery, archery, fliers, and other support, they are far less effective than troops that are almost unarguably inferior.

What I mean is...I would take the Marauder's stat line and abilities up against any Empire troop and feel good, yet my Marauders are cheaper. However, the Empire can whittle down my forces before we contact, a feature I am sadly lacking.

Also, my own army has better troops even for the cost...a single Chaos Warrior with Shield costs 1 point more than 3 marauders, but wins that combat almost every time.

Of course...when I am serious, I never take Chaos Warriors, either, because they are worthless in 7th edition.

They are too slow to catch the troops they can deal with and not rugged enough to take on the troops willing to let the Warriors catch them.

Sure, I will take Chaos Warriors 6 days a weak and thrice on Sundays over Saurus, Zombies, Ungors, or even Ogre Bulls....but the only time the Warriors get to fight in 7th is when Grail Knights smash them on the charge or Cold One riders run them down....

But I want to build an army with the worthless Chaos Warhounds, a block of Marauders, a block of Warriors...and play an army built to face them. So I made a series of 1K armies with a few ground rules.

- No more than 1 Elite Unit (except High Elves who are SUPPOSED to be elite).
- no more than 20% of the points in heroes...and max one hero.
- At least 2 blocks of foot sloggers

The idea was to have two armies look to engage their infantry and use cavalry as *gasp* support instead of as really the only effective tool some armies have.

Enter Space Monkey. He had a couple models he really wanted to get on the table since he had recently painted them.

So he put together his own 1K High Elf army, came on over, and the battle was on. I was going to play an Orc & Goblin army I had built but he wanted to face my WoC and...well...I have put more time, effort, and time and effort into the WoC than all my other armies combined, so is on like Donkey Kong.

The Setup

He specifically wanted to try out Cavalry and March-blockers. So I deliberately set up to be march blocked. From his perspective, looking at what was coming, here is what he saw from left to right:

Chaos Warhounds. Fast-moving, low LD

12 Chaos Warriors: slow-moving, tough, hard-hitting.

5 Chaos Knights. Fast moving, tough, hard-hitting.

20+ Chaos Marauders; slow-moving, relatively soft, not overly hard hitting.

5 Chaos Marauder Horsemen; fast-moving, squishy, not very hard-hitting.

He protected his bolt thrower behind a stream, though it also limited the field of fire.

He placed his 5 Dragon Princes on that wing, then his Dragon Mage and Eagle-riding Noble, and finally his Lothern Sea Guard.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

I did not build this army for flexibility or tactics. I really had no way to deal with agile opponents...say, an Eagle or Dragon who could fly around. In fact, the army Space Monkey had taken is almost exactly what I face every time I decide to build an army like I want...

I had no way of catching the Dragon or Eagle, and even if I caught the Dragon I was likely to lose the, between the Repeater bolt Thrower and the Dragon, there was a lot of "no armor saves allowed" stuff...

Then again, he already told me his goals. Experiment with march blocking and play with cavalry. Full speed ahead!

High Elf Turn 1
He advanced his Knights slightly, bounced his swordmasters up to get my Knights to charge them, and then burned down a couple Chaos Warriors with some magic.
Oh, and shot down 2 of the Horsemen with his Sea Guard.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
His eagle march-blocked my Chaos Warriors, Marauders, and Horsemen....but he did not realizing march-blocking did not prevent charges.

From one standpoint, it is irrelevant whether I charge his Dragon Princes or they charge me...he gets to go first. However...if I charge them, I have a 1+ armor save. If he charges me it drops to I would rather charge them.

My General headed off in the general direction of the dragon, hoping he would charge me, i would survive and maybe get a lucky wound through, then have him fail a T test and die. The Marauder horsemen moved to take a few throwing axe pot shots at the Eagle.

They whiffed completely, as expected.

Ah, the glorious cavalry-on-cavalry charge. Strength against strength. Robbed of his Lance strength bonus, he saw my Chaos Knights actually make their saves, while I did in two Dragon Princes in return...probably one more than I should have. But not out of line.

High Elf Turn 2
He debated for a while, then decided to charge the Warhounds with his swordmasters. I think we all know how this turned out...Chinese food for all! (I would apologize to those offended by that joke except...well...I think it is pretty funny and if you are offended by obviously have not heard my "Mom's cremation" series.)
Knowing the wall of fire spell meant my Chaos Warriors probably would not move, he used his Dragon and Eagle both to march block the Marauders and I reminded him to use the dragon's breath.

A few Marauders fell to that, a few more to bow fire, and then his Repeater Bolt Thrower shot at the General and hit. I thought the S was 6, he thought 4, we flipped a coin, went with 4...I saved it.*
Meanwhile, his Swordmasters were pretty pathetic, only knocking off 3 Warhounds...still more than enough to break them. He rolled to re-strain...failed and charged into the front of the Chaos Warriors.

Meanwhile, his Knights saw their best efforts saved...but an Elven Steed slew a Chaos Knight. The angered Knights put down two Dragon princes, the last one broke, and I pursued.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
I wanted out of bowfire from that RBT, so my General and Knights all charged his Sea Guard. They shot at the General but could not hit, and I hit his flank with the Knights. The Warriors charged into the Swordmasters and the Horsemen again pelted the Eagle with an array of spitwads, germs, and incompetent shooting.

Chaos Knights and Exalted heroes against Lothern Sea Guard is a pretty good match-up for the WoC...and I pursued, over-ran, and was well away from that RBT.

The Swordmasters put down a couple of Chaos Warriors, but in return had four of their own die, the last one broke and fled. Since I had, instead of my typical khorne, gone slaanesh, I was able to restrain pursuit.

High Elf Turn 3
He was down to a Dragon Mage, Eagle, and Repeater Bolt Thrower. He made a wise choice and charged his Dragon Mage into my Marauder Horsemen. Due to slaanesh, they were able to stand...not that it would matter much.

With the Flaming Sword of Ruin, he easily dispatched the horsemen and over-ran. Fortunately, slaanesh meant no panic for the Marauders.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4
At this point, for me the game was really over. I had no reason to subject myself to more Repeater Bolt thrower fire, I had no way of catching either the Eagle or Dragon, so time to hide behind hills and forests.

Not very brave or Chaos-y...but then again, I had intentionally prepared an army that could not fight stuff like this, then elected to face one because it was the type of army my opponent preferred over the lists I had built.
And honestly...if I had recently painted a dragon, I would want the same thing.

High Elf Capitulation...sort of...
With targets for only one turn, we decided to end it there. He had the results he was looking for.
For Space Monkey, the game was a rousing success. He saw the power of march blocking, cheap troops like Eagles, and got to use his Dragon in close combat.
For me, the game was a modified success. I loved the Knight v. Knight and Swordmaster v. Swordmaster combats (though the Knight one would have been slightly better had he charged up front)...but really wanted to go head to head Marauders versus Lothern Sea Guard.
Furthermore, the outcome was a bit lopsided. He got full points for the Horsemen, half points for the Warhounds and Exalted hero, while losing the Dragon princes, Swordsmen, and Sea Guard entirely.
nevertheless, it was a very entertaining game, and thus we posed for the classic "We survived the battle" photo op.

* Regarding the shot on the General. I actually did not think he had a line of sight because of the combats and positioning...but if he DID have line of sight, it SHOULD have been S6, no armor save, and D3 wounds...a potentially devastating hit.


kennyB said...

Not bad! Using a list of troops you consider inferior and wasteful(no Frenzy even!), against a list with flying monsters and shooting that you consider your bane, and to lose less than 155 points of troops (1/2 of one hero that must be less than 20% of 1000, 1/2 of one unit of warhounds [I'm assuming 5 for 30 points?], and 1 unit of Marauder Horsemen [If armed with Throwing Axes 80 points]) in that situation definitely shows something!

Darth Weasel said...

It was helped a lot by what I consider to be a couple of pretty major tactical blunders but was pretty soft about in my write-up, partially because one was intentional and partially because I did not even recognize the biggest one at the moment it happened.

A) he did less than 100 points of damage with over half his points; the Dragon took out 3 Marauder Horsemen.

B) When he had chances to use his Dragon to POTENTIALLY alter the course of the game, he instead used it to march block.

- Example prime: On his second turn, his Dragon Princes had absorbed my charge and lost the combat by one...had he flank charged my Chaos Knights with his dragon he could possibly have flipped the combat, wiped out my Knights, and still had his Knights.

When he did not do that, it allowed me to not just kill his Knights but ultimately kill his only other "block" troops...

which leads us to the second major tactical error (in my opinion)_ which was deliberate.

- by putting all his points in the dragon, eagle, and bolt thrower, he had no blocks to support his Swordmasters and Sea Guard.

That meant my blocks of trrops engaged a total of one small unit of Swordmasters.

Outside of 65 points, all the damage I did was done by my Knights; his Dragon Knights and Seaguard.

All the damage he did to my wasteful troops consisted of one magic spell and a couple breath attacks.

So it is more than anything a reinforcement of my assertion that unless the opponent intentionally mis-plays by going after them with troops with little to no chance, blocks of Marauders and Warriors are horribly mis-spent points.

Except against armies designed in the same fashion, they will seldom if ever get into meaningful situations.

It also reinforces your point that putting 1/2 your army points into a dragon rider you are afraid to put into combat is a poor use of points from a game-winning standpoint...

but NOT from the standpoint of wanting to use it because you painted it up/love the concept. From that standpoint, it is always the right move