Thursday, September 9, 2010

Warrios of Chaos v. Beastmen

With Labor day looming, we decided to have another 3K game. I tried some new stuff.

Typically when I design an army, I start with the stuff that is guaranteed to go in...Shaggy the Shaggoth, some Knights, some more Knights, a chariot...then I put in a character or two and fill in around it.

So this would prove to be a shocking army. Nowhere in sight would there be Shaggy or a chariot.

There would be a 50 strong horde of Corn Scythes (Marauders with full command, great weapons and mark of khorne), 36 Corn Threshers (Chaos Warriors w/full command, hand weapon and shield, mark of khorne and some banner...probably against shooting?).

What is shocking is...this is what I built the army around.

I then included two Knight units, one fully 15 strong, the Amaizeing Knights (get the "subtle" corn reference?) and the other 7 strong. These would allow me to protect my flanks and, once my infantry pulled the enemy into combat, fulfill the shock cavalry role and blast the enemy in the flank.

Also, by putting in a Jugger riding dude and my typical BSB build, they would start the game with a rank...

I finished off with 2 wizards; one Vilitch the Curseling, who I wanted to try out, the other a humble level one with Shadow? Whatever lore has Miasma as the signature. He was also packing the Infernal Puppet and Channeling Staff.

Across the field would be the Beastmen. He had 2 units of Gors ranked up, 6 Minotaurs, and some nasty characters like Doombulls, a couple Bray Shamans, and 2 Gorgons. He also had a couple of Ambushing units.

Now, the reason I usually take Shaggy is he is really all I have to deal with multiple wound tough things like the Gorgons. In this game...I would need Magic and luck.

On top of this, the field was full of special terrain. In my deployment zone alone we had a Haunted Mansion, Scree hill, and Arcane Ruins. In the center of the field was a Temple of Skulls.

We had rolled up the Honor and Glory scenario and with a breaking point of three, this would take a while; his General and 6 standards gave him a fortitude of 8, as opposed to my mere 7.

My strategy was simple and appropriately chaotic. Find enemy. Smash face. Rinse, repeat.

To deal with the Gorgons I intended to devote large quantities of Magic as I did not have much faith in the abilities of my troops.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

I moved enough forward to perhaps tempt him into charging with a low chance of making it into contact. With no shooting, time for magic.

With 2 Wizards, one with the channeling staff and hanging out by the Arcane Ruins, I had 5 chances to channel on a 6 and one on a 5. It started well as I rolled a 10 for Winds and channeled 2.

This, by the way, would be the last time I successfully channeled in the entire battle, despite having 6 chances per turn. I figured it up and this means I was 6 short of expected power dice over the course of the battle.

On the bright 8th, that does not mean I get nothing back from my investment in magic. It actually still did stuff...

Such as on this turn, I cast Infernal Great Way on his Gorgon on my right flank with Irresistible Force, doing about 3 wounds and modifying the miscast to a harmless 7, which ended the phase.

Beastmen Turn 1
He was able to bring one unit on my left flank, threatening my Puppet/channeling Wizard. Grr. His other unit I got to choose and just had him come on on his own edge.

Otherwise he just generally made a general advance. I blocked his good magic.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
I now had a conundrum. His big nasty unit of several Minotaurs and a couple characters (just next to the hill) flanked by the Gorgon were well set up to charge my Knights. It was an unlikely charge...I would need an 8 to reach him. But at the same time, better to get the charge than to get counter charged and take all those impact hits.

I climbed the temple with my Corn Threshers and took a chance with my champion, who got very lucky and improved his strength to a whopping 7. Not bad for a core infantry champ. The Corn Scythes advanced on the left with the Knights advancing in support, carefully avoiding the Haunted Mansion.

My foot wizard then failed to pass his March Leadership test and I barely got out of line of sight of the Beastmen.

My charge hit home.

Now, the problem here is...that Gorgon looks likely to flank charge my Knights. I do not like that much. So I will try Infernal on him again. But first, I force the Gors to take a panic test. They roll something like a 4 and pass easily. Bummer.

I was hoping to force a panic check, have them fail and run off and thus keep my juicy channeling post and Infernal Puppet carrier out of harms way as he had no shooting. A failed panic test would most likely send them scuttling right off the field and thus keep my back lines safe. Good strategy, good execution, but you still do not always get the desired result...

Though the inevitable Infernal Gateway was cast successfully. And killed the Gorgon.

Unfortunately, I forgot Vilitch's ability or would have had 4 more power dice, the ones he unsuccessfully tried to dispel with, which would have instantly seen me cast Treason on said Gor ambushers...

The close combat was epic. His doombull accepted my unit champion's challenge. He wounded the champ 3 times. I saved two of them.

This, by the way, would be the only two armor saves I passed. Not just in the the entire game. More on this later.

I then put a hurting on him, slaying every Minotaur and a hero, while taking back a further 5 casualties myself. Something like 20 total wounds dealt out between us. It was awesome.

And unsurprising when he broke and ran a whopping 7". Of course, all I had were Knights, so you know I had no chance of catching such a massive roll as I rolled my typical 2/2/1 to follow all of 4".

Beastmen Turn 2
Sometimes an unlucky thing...such as rolling a disappointing pursue distance...can prove to be a good thing. Liam was forced into a difficult choice. He set up to receive my charge with his Doombull/hero and set up a nice counter-charge with his hilltop Gors.

However, I pointed out to him...since I had lost 6 Knights when his Doombull was limited to just one, I was far more likely to charge the Gors next to me since I would have their flank. This possibility was a result of my poor pursuit roll.

So he was forced to close with my Marauder Horde/Chaos Warrior blocks.

So he then pulled up his chariot and circled his remaining Gorgon to flank my Marauder horde.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3 or the Perils of being lazy
From my viewpoint, the gap between his heroes of doom and the forward sitting Gors was easily large enough for me to go after his Bray Shaman.

Now, tactically this was a huge win the scenario, I needed to off his General and one unit of Gors. But having seen the carnage he wrought and fearing I could not hurt his doombull, I declared the charge on the Shamans.

Unfortunately, the gap was an optical way of making it happen without clipping the Minotaur hero. He kindly offered to let me target the Doombull instead but I took it as a failed charge.

Speaking of failed...I would still need a "9" to make it into contact with my Marauders so I did not want to charge...and promptly failed the Leadership check, forgot I was allowed a re-roll and had to charge...which then succeeded and because they were going to have to charge, I charged my second knights into his Gorgon.

Not to feel left out, the Corn Threshers also elected to charge.

To my surprise, the Chaos Lord on Juggernaut did quite well, rocking the Gorgon for about 3 wounds and the Knights finished it off.

This time I remembered I had to go last due to Great Weapons with the Marauders. My Warrior champ handily dispatched the Gor champ, and the other three Warriors did a couple of casualties.

The Gors unleashed their fury solely on the Marauders, who with T3 and no armor were pretty soft and squishy, and the Gors did okay, felling about 6 of them.

Okay is a relative term...the Marauders unleashed 41 S5 attacks. 6 casualties checks in significantly less than the 14 or 15 that I inflicted. He had 4 shots at Insane courage...none passed, he broke, and the Doombull was not his general...which meant the game was over. He had one standard left.

Just for fun we played his combo charge on the Knights. Sure enough, the Doombull went all berserk, killing about 5 of them single-handed and the other character killed another. Out of I think 6 attempts, I saved zero.

On the other hand, I did kill the single hero and a few of the Gors.

Again the game fulfilled...indeed, exceeded expectations. We had a couple of clashes where there were multiple casualties on both sides. Magic was fearsome and actually part of the game instead of "Oh, you cast successfully? I dispel."

On the dark side...

I really, really like the Warriors of Chaos. They are very deadly, capable of inflicting great quantities of damage. It is one of their two strengths that set them apart.

Very few armies can put out as many attacks that have a probability of causing wounds on such a narrow frontage.

Their other strength lies in their great armor. Knights with a 1+ and Warriors with a 3+ mean I should be very, very durable.

What gets annoying is having 1/2 of my strengths mean absolutely nothing. Between spells, war machines, and whatnot, it feels like about half the time someone inflicts harm on my model, no armor save is allowed.

Then, when it is allowed, I very, very seldom make it whether modified or not. In this game I think I had 12 attempted saves and passed none of them.

That is pretty discouraging. What is the point to having good armor if it never matters? I seldom get a chance to save in the first place, the ones I do get are usually heavily modified, and regardless of whether it is 2+ or 6+, I make them at a rate far less than should happen.

At some point, it becomes nonsensical to play an armor where half the bonuses are invalidated. It would be nice to have some shooting, to have a way to deal with fliers/monsters/war machines that was reliable, or to have the army work the way it should.

To be sure, I have been able to manipulate the combats so that I usually still enter with and leave with an advantage...but I am successful because I plan to lose as a casualty every model the opponent wounds since I know I will never save anywhere near statistically accurate numbers of models.

The funny part of Warhammer is people typically notice the strengths of other armies while discounting their own. It is no less true of the WoC.

For me, their strengths have narrowed to one; I can put out very high quantities of S4 or S5 attacks in a relatively narrow frontage. The saves are irrelevant since they have no impact.

It is mentally wearing having to defend against shooting, magic, monsters, fliers, and really only be equipped to deal with the that I am well equipped.

Yes, I recognize the irony of having a sparkling win-loss record and being disappointed with the performance of the army. But it is winning more because I know how to use the offensive capability than because of the theoretical advantages.

When your second biggest rendered impotent, it really means nothing. And that is just n0t cool.

So beware the forthcoming cunning plans and deadly alterations. If armor means nothing...why waste time with it?


kennyB said...

Aren't the Infernal Puppet and Channeling Staff both Arcane items? If so, unless otherwise noted, you can't have two magic items from the same category on any character.....a pain as otherwise I have designed some wicked combos!

Also, in the Warhammer Rulebook it suggests trying switching sides and replaying a battle to see whether it really is the army or not. Leave the terrain and sides the same, just trade General's and try again. I think it sounds like fun as that way you can really see if it's the army or really is just a far and away better commander, and you get to play a different army with an already built list! Then if it turns out no matter who plays an army it wins by a large margin, perhaps sometimes it might be fun to try a handicap match to make it more competitive. I know I would like to try it!

Darth Weasel said...

they might be, I will have to check that. Will def be dropping channeling staff in future as it was pretty worthless.

Yeah, I have seen that suggestion and dislike it. As little as I like building lists, I almost equally dislike using lists other people put together or, more to the point, dislike seeing other people use lists I built.

The reasoning is...I usually have at least the vague outline of a plan for how the list should fit together and if a person does not see my plan, the list will make no sense and thus get mis-used and not show its full potential.

At the same time, I do not see the plan others put together so do not use them...stuff like dropping their ld with spell a and dropping the h-cannon on them to force the panic check at negative ld...

So when I see someone using a list I built and mis-using it, I feel guilty. Doesn't make sense, but is reality nonetheless.

That said, everyone is welcome to try it out any time.

kennyB said...

It would seem that after having played and having had explained throughout what plans are, and having the opponent explain as well while playing, has helped to alleviate the consequences of such deep list introspection and co-necessitations.

That being said, I have not seen (or built) a single list that would take more than the vaguest idea of the game to get more than a general gest of, and when war begins plans tend to get thrown out the window anyway. "These tough fast moving guys go up the side, this tough hard hitting guy supports where he's needed, and this block of cannon-fodder-but-won't-run-because-they're-stubborn....'steadfast'...-on-the-nearby-general's-Ld goes up the middle to sandpit, and always pick spell 6!". That being said, maybe I'm missing something deeper that would really give me an edge!

But, if switching up doesn't sound fun then so be it! I will play away with same ar...armay? (army?)

Darth Weasel said...

Oh, not so much that they are secret...just that when I see the obvious opening the list can exploit and see someone do the opposite, I feel guilty because the list then underperforms.

kennyB said...

Synergy is close to the word I was looking for but doesn't carry enough of a connotation of ..... co-necessitation. >,<