Monday, September 27, 2010

09/11/10 Battle Report 2500 pts Dark Elves vs. Skaven

09/11/10 Battle Report 2500 pts - Skaven vs. Dark Elves

Fixeddice and I wanted to get together since we haven't played each other for a while and agreed on 2500 points before hand. We rolled Scenario 6 for the battle in which 1 player starts out controlling The Watchtower in the center of the table with one garrisoned infantry unit and the other gets the first turn. From turn 4, at the end of each game turn a D6 is rolled and the game turn is added to the dice. As soon as it's 10 or greater, the game ends and the person controlling the tower, or closest to it wins the scenario.


For terrain for a total of 7 pieces and thanks to the Encampment of Destruction and the Settlement of Disorder that we rolled we ended up with a Mysterious Forest, and Acropolis of Heroes, a Bane Stone, a Wall, A regular building, a fence, a wizards tower, a watchtower, and a sorcerous portal. That added to Fixeddice's Fozziks folding tower, and the one from the scenario and we had a lot of terrain.

The armies were as follows.


Queek Headtaker
Plague Priest – lv. 2 on Furnace with Ruby ring of Ruin. Rolling for Spells got Pestilent Breath and Plague.
Warlock Engineer – lv. 2 with Crack's Call & Warplightning. Warp Condenser.

Warlock Engineer with Howling Warpgale & Warplightning. Warp Condenser

Plaguemonks x30 - Magic Banner of Under Empire. Musician & Standard Bearer
Plaguemonks x30 - Musician & Standard Bearer

Clanrats x 20 with Doom Flayer Weapon Team
Clanrats x 24 with Poison Wind Mortar
Clanrats x25 with Warp Fire Thrower

Jezzails x5
Slaves x20 with Slings


Rat Ogres x3 with Packmaster

Dark Elves (going mostly from memory here, so I'm sure I'm leaving something out)
Level 4 Wizard
2-3 Level 2 wizards.
Crossbowmen x 12
Crossbowmen x 30
Witch Elves x6
Witch Elves x6
Harpies x4
Cauldron of Blood
Dark Riders (?) x5
Cold One Knights x6

Fixeddice won the roll for control of the tower, placing 12 X-bowmen in there. So I put my 2 units of Plaguemonks in the center with the HPA on their left flank. I placed my General in the unit of Monks that had the Banner and my Plague Priest in the other unit of Monks. The Rat Ogres went on my Extreme left flank across from his bolt thrower which didn't have that great of a LoS due to all the towers. My Doom wheel went to my extreme Right flank across from the Sorcerous Portal. I garrisoned the unit of Clan Rats with the WFT in the Tower that was in My deployment zone along with a WLE and put the other 2 between the Furnace. Sticking my other WLE in the one with more models. The Jezzails were in the middle, mainly to take potshots at his Tower across the board that had his large unit of X-bowmen and his Lv. 4 wizard in it.

Start of Game

Skaven turn 1:
Since I get to go first, I charge my Queek-led unit of Plaguemonks with the banner into the Scenario Watchtower. They make the charge needing only to roll a 7. The close combat kills 8 of his guys, but he kills 4 of mine back. He loses the combat, but doesn't flee the bldg. Everything else just moves pretty much straight forward except the Jezzails, the garrisoned ClanRats and their WFT. The sorcerous portal goes off , sending a Fireball straight to the Doom wheel which takes a wound. Magic doesn't really happen as one WLE is out of range, one doesn't have LoS for the Warplightning and the Plague Priest had all his spells dispelled. Shooting is ok as my Doom wheel Zzzaps 2/5 of his fast cav guys off the table at S10!

Dark Elves turn 1:

His frenzied Witch Elvesx5 have to charge my Furnace as there is a slight chance they will make it as I'm *only* 15” away.. He didn't want to do that so tries to restrain, but fails. Luckily(?) he makes the charge. They die later in CC after killing 3 of my Plaguemonks pushing the Furnace. His magic is pretty successful getting of Final Transmutation on my Queek-led Plaguemonks, killing 4 of them. Flamestorm kills 12 of my Clan Rats, but due to his miscast he loses 2 magic levels on his level 2 wizard which brought up an issue that we couldn't find anything against it in the rules, in which he uses his level 0 wizard to channel power dice. Strange, but it didn't make much of a difference in the end. He had a lot of shooting going on – 50 shots at my HPA to wound it only twice (thanks to getting 4 Regeneration saves) and his Bolt thrower kills one Rat Ogre and puts a wound on the other, causing them to panic and flee. He moves his Dark Riders away from my DoomWheel, moving closer to the middle. (can't remember if it was from panic or not)

Skaven turn 2:
My Queek-led Monks charge The Watchtower again, easily getting across the 1” gap from the previous turn. Close combat kills the rest of his guys controlling The Watchtower and I gain control. I move my HPA into his other unit of Witch Elves and kill 2 with impact hits. The Doomwheel keeps heading toward his CoK, but doesn't reach them. I do kill a few from the zzzap! The HPA dies in combat, but 3 Rat Swarms emerge. My furnace unit charges his hydra and he ends up killing about 8 Monks and my Plague Priest thanks to his Breath Weapon. He easily wins the combat, but I'm unbreakable so I'm not going anywhere. I move my garrisoned unit of Clanrats with a Warlock Engineer out of the tower on my side and move toward the tower with all his X-bowmen in it. The Sorcerous portal buffs my Doomwheel with something that never was used, so I forget. I charge his Dark Riders with my ClanRats who took the Flamestorm earlier, I lose a few, but end up defeating them and they flee. My magic was pretty uneventful. I think I may have killed 2-3 of his garrisoned X-bowmen with Warp Lightning, but that's about it.

Dark Elves turn 2:
His cold Ones charge the Doomwheel. His Witchelves charge the swarms (killing them in CC and Combat Resolution and only losing 1 in the process.) and his harpies charge my Fleeing Rat Ogres. The Rat Ogres somehow dodge his charge as he rolls a massive 4. However Dangerous Terrain tests put two more wounds on the unit, killing off another Rat Ogre. He rallies his Dark Riders and the maneuver toward my Jezzails. His Magic (Transmutation again?) kills 8 of my Monks garrisoned in The Tower. Another 50 shots from his garrisoned X-bowmen into The Watchtower kills 1 more plaguemonk. The massive Hydra/Furnace battle continues as he kills a few more Monks.

Skaven Turn 3:
I move my clanrats closer toward his garrisoned X-bowmen. Due to my Doomwheel being closer to my other unit of Clanrats than any of his units, I end up killing off 3 more them. My magic does nothing in this phase. Same with shooting from my Poison Wind Globadier. Close combat sees my Furnace kill off more Plaguemonks than his Hydra thanks to a misfire. My Doom Flayer charges his Cold Ones in the flank, but dies before he gets to do anything, however, the Doom Wheel grinds them down and finishes them off, mostly due to the Sorcerous Portal as it buffs my Doomwheel again with Wyssans Wildform. Unfortunately, the Hydra kills off my Furnace after an epic battle.

Dark Elves Turn 3:
His Harpies charge my Jezzails who only end up losing 1, but that's enough for a panic test and they do. ...Panic that is. They flee through to the far side of the bldg. His magic was pretty good rolling a 20 on 5-6 dice for Transmutation, but luckily I was able to roll all my Dispel dice and pull a 22. The Sorcerous Portal on His turn buffs my Doom Wheel with Speed of Light. His Witch Elves who killed my HPA earlier, charge my Warpfire Thrower who Stands and Shoots arcing right over them and pulling up just short of hitting one of is mages. They were something like 9” away and I rolled a 10 for the distance the flame arcs.

Skaven Turn 4:
I rally my Ogres a mere 3-4 inches from the table edge. My Clanrats finally can charge his garrison He hits 17/19 shots and wounds 10. I however scoff at that and save 8 (picture only shows 7) of them needing 5+! Woo hoo! I doubt will never get as good a save roll ever again. He takes 2 wounds in Close Combat and doesn't wound back, tying the combat and holding on to that watchtower. Nothing else was in any position to do anything so I simply moved my surviving units closer to The Watchtower.

Dark Elves turn 4:
His fast cavalry runs down my fleeing Jezzails. He tries to cast a spell on my Doom Wheel but fails to meet the casting cost. His shooting puts a wound on my remaining Rat Ogre. His Magic kills 1 more monk holding The Watchtower leaving me with something like Queek and 4-5 Plaguemonks defending it. The turn ends and just as we prepare for turn 5, I roll the dice per the Scenario. I get a 6 and that added to turn 4 Totals 10 and ends the game with me controlling the tower. News of our victory squeaks and chitters it's way through the tunnels of the Skaven who celebrate joyously!

Neither of us expected that result. I was expecting to lose on the next turn as he was maneuvering a few units to mop up my monks defending The Tower. and I couldn't throw all that much at actually controlling it. We decide to play another turn and see how the game would have turned around and probably given him the win instead, and boy were we wrong. Between miscasting, losing a few dice rolls and all around bad luck, Fixeddice ended up being much worse off than before. Complete shock to both of us.

More Pics
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tavern Topic: 8th Edition

First off, thanks to Kuffeh for his efforts at building a series of viewpoints.

So let's address his questions one by one. First up, what has 8th done to my army?

It is no secret that my favorite units, without regard to edition, are Knights, powerful Wizards, and Dragons.

In 7th edition, I typically loaded up on Knights, took a scroll caddy and called it good. No matter how many points I spent on magic, my opponent could easily counteract it with a scroll caddy or, in some cases, a 50 point magic item.

I seldom took a dragon because it was too strong. Even the most basic tactical ability allowed a dragon to break huge units simply by attacking from the right direction, killing everything it touched, and thus wiping out huge units with little or no risk to itself.

So two of my three favorite things to use were seldom seen (though I occasionally broke them out, and always was disappointed.)

By contrast, core quickly became "take a unit of Marauder Horsemen for each core spot requirement and call it good." The fact that everyone had access to faster moving troops that could easily wipe out my front ranks, thus allowing no attack back, could ignore or eliminate armor saves and never need come in contact with them meant that Chaos Marauders and Chaos Warriors were arguably the worst troops available to any army in the game. It was all but impossible to build a 'competitive but fun to play against" list with them.

8th has changed everything.

First off, I now plan to take a wizard every game and know I will be able to actually get some spells cast successully. That is very exciting to me and has altered the fundamental make-up of my armies.

Second, the Warhammer community in general thinks cavalry is worthless now. I happen to disagree. Where as in 7th simply wiping out the front rank usually overcame any static combat resolution, in 8th sheer killing power is valuable. So having a unit that deals out 18+ WS5 S5 attacks at I5 is pretty sweet.

And packing them 2+ ranks in means they can take some punishment and still deal out a whipping.

In 7th, the points for a second rank were wasted. In 8th, they are nearly as valuable as the front rank.

Cavalry is no longer a "rampage over everything you come across without fear of reprisal" but instead a shock troop to finish off combats.

Furthermore, infantry has a place now. A horde of marauders is now a phenomenal investment, able to withstand a couple of big hits from template weapons/spells/hard combat units and deal back some damage of their own.

Now I find myself fielding multiple units of infantry, large blocks of Knights, and a heavy dose of Wiazards...a build I enjoy playing but would never consider in 7th because blew might chunks of hairy underarm monkey sweat.
Okay, so that answer bled into the second and third questions...but that is the beauty of 8th. In 7th, you could and often did lose games on the strategic level...simply building a list you thought might be fun was an auto-loss to anyone who put together a list that worked together.
In 8th, there is certainly a strategic level to building...but great additions to the rules such as Steadfast, Swift Reform, and removing casualties from the back rank mean the superior tactician generally is able to obtain favorable positions and when you do that, you frequently end up with victories.
I guess one other issue should be addressed. Not attacking first on the charge automatically and not being allowed to choose your weapon if you had two did make a major change to how I equip my troops.

Example: Chaos Warriors were something I routinely gave both a shield and a great weapon. Against low S, low T opponents I would use the shield. Against high T opponents...say dragons, ogres, etc., the Great Weapons made them formidable. It was very nice having a flexible troop.
In 8th, however...hand weapon and shield. Which becomes a little non-sensical since I started doing it specifically for the parry bonus since it gets very irritating having an army whose 'advantage" is its tremendous armor save only to not even get to attempt an armor save...and then giving them frenzy so they do not benefit from it anyway.
One member of our group often responds to that complaint about not getting armor saves by pointing to my respectable win-loss record...which completely misses the point. Having a toy but never being allowed to use it (and rarely being successful when you do get to use it) removes a lot of the fun.
It reminds me a bit of a wrestling-based card game I used to play. My goal in the games was to get off my "Trademark Finisher". I would rather get off my TMF and lose than not get it off and win. In fact, my all-time favorite game was one where I got off both TMFs first turn...only to lose the game to my opponent's second TMF.

It was not the win or loss that was seeing everyone get off "their move".
In Warhammer, it is often not winning or losing but what happens along the way. I have had more success with magic in 3 games of 8 than in all of 7th combined. Ironically, it has barely impacted the fact, I have taken more damage from one Skaven Plague that wiped out almost half my horde than I have dealt...but I do not care because I am getting some spells cast successfully.
By the same token, probably the most memorable 8th moment for me so far was when I threw everything I had at his H-pit Exalted on Juggernaut with 5 S7 attacks, a couple spells, my own H-cannon shot, my H-cannon blowing up, and finally my Shaggoth, killing it...and having it come back to life with 4 wounds, kill my Shaggoth and a nearby wizard.
Since Shaggy dies every time I put him on the table, that is expected...but it became memorable because of the secondary result.
And that, to me, is the thing...I have a relative idea of what my win-loss record was in 7th edition. In 8th, I have a better idea of the moments that were stupendously irresistable Purple Sun wounding nobody but my Wizard, the Abomination coming back, the one extra casualty that won a combat for me which in turn cost me my unit of Knights when his spell killed my BSB...taking a flank charge by hero-buffed Grail Knights and sending them off in full flight 4", but rolling a 3 for pursuit...
Those were the highlights by far.
So in conclusion to this rambling, oft off-topic bit, I have changed my army into, except for the mages, something that could be mistaken for an actual historical force of light troops, solid infantry, and shock cavalry.
It has definitely improved any troop that can deal out large numbers of quality attacks, de-emphasized "glass cannon" heroes, and brought magic back as a reliable, fun part of the game. Great job by Games Workshop.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Lately I have been working on my backlog...mostly High Elfs I never bothered to paint in 7th edition because I was A) painting/basing/movement tray making for the Warriors of Chaos and B)not playing the High Elfs.

But on top of that...the unpainted models were either Silver Helms or spearmen/bowmen.

One thing they had in common in 7th was their value. Or, more properly, their complete lack of value...

The Silver Helms are comparable points wise to Dragon Helms...but in effectiveness, they are maybe half as good. Maybe. Probably not. So they were always a poor choice.

Spearmen would seldom if ever get to attack since so many 7th edition tactics relied on wiping out the front rank on the charge, thus rendering them impotent and a horrible choice....though the ASF rule helped.

But there were always better things to take like...well...NOT spearmen or Silver Helms.

In 8th, rule changes such as "remove casualties from the back rank", "Combat reform", "Volley Fire" and striking in Initiative Order all combine to make, in my opinion, Lothern Sea Guard a viable and potentially outstanding choice.

Take a horde block, for example...10 wide, 4 deep. They will be firing 30 shots a turn and striking with every possible attack in the first round of combat. No wasted manpower.

This provides them a flexibility unmatched in the Warhammer world. To be sure, they still struggle with traditional High Elf attack per model, low S, effectively no armor so super easy to kill. But that has always been an issue, so it is all good.

It made the task of painting them up quite reasonable. I actually painted up 50 in roughly a week. It was no big deal because I knew if I ever overcome my list building mental block, they will see the field so it was valuable effort.

I also wanted to complete my backlog before starting in on the dragon and on the models from the Island of Blood.

The problem complete the backlog, I also need to finish painting 9 or 10 Silver Helms.

And therein lies the rub. Painting Silver Helms stinks.

Not because it is hard...they are noticeably less detailed than the Chaos Knights, of which I have painted 20. They have mostly smooth, clean lines, but enough ribbons and so forth to give them some color and panache.

It stinks because I cannot conceive of a scenario in which I field them. They are not a core choice, they are inferior to every other choice in the High Elf list, and I cannot think of any other reason to take them.

So they sit there on the painting table. Staring at me. Mocking me. Insisting I paint them...but knowing I will not invest all that much effort because they are just going to be sitting on the shelf, never in play. They have a better chance of being fielded as Bretonnian Knights of the Realm than as Silver Helms.

Once I complete them, I have 4 or 5 miscellaneous heroes, then I can begin work on the box set. The models I really want to get to as they look pretty cool and like relative fun to paint.

But between me and that reality sits...well...useless models.

Worst part is, I could half-effort the stupid things and finish them in an evening and they would still be passable...block color the horse, splash a bit of blue and purple on them, maybe highlight a bit with copper and gold and they still have the standard color scheme.

It probably took as long to write this as it would have taken to finish painting them...but really, is there any doubt this was more valuable?

Monday, September 13, 2010

On List Building

The Warhammer hobby is rather intriguing for me.

First, off, the elements which many people love the most are the most painful for me. I intensely dislike assembling models and it get worse if they are metal. I do not like trying to come up with conversions. I do not enjoy the painting...though I do like the outcome.

But of the elements I dislike, perhaps none matters more than putting together a list. Yet it is perhaps the most integral to the game.

This is most true because in our group we habitually play not just with proxy models, but often enough without models...just bases. So having a model assembled and painted is not a requirement to play...but having a list built IS.

I have never figured out why I hate the process so much. From certain standpoints, it is extremely easy to build a list...

Come up with something you want your army to be capable of, select a troop with that capability, pick a number of figures, total it up. Rinse, repeat.

But from another, it is very difficult. Example:

I want to build a 2500 point Warriors of Chaos list. So I start with the models I most want to include...Knights. These days, 5 Knights do not A) survive or B)accomplish anything meaningful.

My propensity to fail 80% of my saves means I need more of them than someone who saves a statistically accurate percentage (and yes, I have been charting it...sad to admit, but true) so they take up a large percentage of my list compared to what they should.

So now I have dedicated 650ish points to one unit.

I like to have a level 4 wizard, typically a D-Prince because I like the model. They are vastly overcosted for what they do, checking in at 535 points. I could do it for 200 points less or so with better capabilities by going with a basic one, but I like the model.

Next I put in my favorite bsb knight with the stubborn banner and I am already at like 1450 points, give or take a few.

Problem is, I have yet to put in any core, am extremely susceptible to failed magic phases (for or against), monsters, shooting, war machines, anything that eliminates armor saves...that is a lot of holes and I still need to have backup for the D-Prince.

Drop in a Infernal Puppet caddy, my beloved but overpriced and almost useless Shaggoth (I think in one game he actually has been able to take out his assigned about 15 attempts.) and I then throw in either some Marauders or some Chaos Warriors and I am at my points list total.

The problem becomes a boring list because it is the same EVERY TIME.

So I try different things, but every time I do it leaves huge, gaping if I try to build a heavy infantry list (which I have tried a couple times) I get squished by shooting/flying monster heavy lists. If I go Knight/Shaggoth/Dragon Ogre-less, I get demolished by war machine heavy lists.

So my choices are either army that is so killy it overcomes having small numbers and are easily outmaneuvered or a larger army that is easily outmaneuvered and cannot deal with anything but soft core troops.

So I end up happy with neither list.

So I started looking at other armies in search of one that I will find fun to use, will be balanced enough to give a good game to the heavy shooting with numerous monster lists, the multiple war machine lists, and still be soft enough to not crush the uncompensated for pointless core armies without them having any hope.

High Elfs are a natural first look. First off, I have enough of the models, most of which are painted, and they have access to most of the elements I like; they can field dragons, knights, wizards.

The problem comes when I start trying to put a list together.

As always, start with the stuff I truly love...throw a Dragon, a high-level mage, and enough Knights to be useful....and suddenly I do not have enough points purchase units to deal with stuff like multi-monster or multi war machine armies.

The High Elfs I have painted look (in my opinion) very cool and fresh. They look together, like a "real" army with enough differentiating factors that they do not look like all the same.

But they are still S3 guys and S3, essentially no armor troops have very little chance against Skink poison javelins, Dark Elf Repeater Crossbows, Bretonnian Trebuchets, Skaven Plague Furnaces, WoC Knights....and that is just one thing from each opposing army!

So I then have the choice between building a list that has stuff I like but will lose and lose badly without much of a chance or I can build a more optimal list that I don not really care if it wins or loses because it bores me.

So I set aside the High Elfs and look at the Dwarfs. the paint job and look. But Slayers die far too easily, I have taken over 20 Cannon shots in various games and have yet to have them do more than a single wound for me, and their elites have 1 attack apiece and are too expensive to field enough to withstand the opponents' blows when it comes to stuff like the Doomwheel, dragons, Chaos Warriors, Minotaurs, Grail Knights, Cold One Riders, etc.

So I either take a list other people hate to play against because it is blocks of shooting and little else...or I take a list that in my hands has no chance.

I do not have enough models to field Vampire Counts of any particular size, so I am back to Warriors of Chaos.

On the one hand, they have the advantages of being my best painted, best based, favorite army.

On the other, they are repetitive...and that is largely because of list building.

So it becomes and endless loop...grr.

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?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

8th Edition Inaugral Battle:5k WoC v. 2500k Skaven/Bretonnians

I had been greatly looking forward to the 8th edition, and the single biggest reason is what many people (myself included) incorrectly call the "step-up rule". That change alone makes Marauders and Chaos Warriors worth taking.

But the old problem remained. I still despised...and continue to despise to the point I have not yet started on tomorrow's list...building army lists. It bores and annoys me.

So I decided I wanted to use Galrauch AND my flying D-Prince, so I chose 5K, got Liam and Kev to throw together 2500 points apiece, and off we went.

Now, although the points levels are even, I have a couple advantages in this format and a couple disadvantages.

Advantage one: I have 1250 points to spend on lord-level characters, they have but 625.
Advantage 2: I have a unified force theoretically designed to work with itself. They have two distinct forces not designed to have synergies with each other.

Disadvantage: against just one army, I know how to handle the elite sections of the army. With two separate armies, I will most likely be facing tough, hard-hitting units more spread out than normal.

As the scenario required them to set up first, it allowed me to hastily build my battle plan. I would use Magic, Marauders, Knights and the Shaggoth to fend off the skaven while the bulk of my army dealt with the Bretonnians. I would then swing over those forces, roll up the skaven flank and walk away talking about my greatness....

Alternatively, the larger numbers of skaven forces, combined with their mighty monsters and war machines could roll up my left flank, I could get clogged up in the middle and end up being flanked/assaulted from behind my lines and bemoan my stupidity (as opposed to granting credit to the greatness of Kev and Liam's battle plan...)

By the way, click on the picture above. Check out his VERY creative h-pit abomination scratch built from bits. Looks like the Loch Ness monster I think.

The brets asked for the blessing, so I got turn 1.

Warriors of Chaos turn 1
On the left I was playing a stalling game, so made at best a modest advance. In the center, I had a trap set up with a small unit of Knights ready to flank any Brets who moved into the middle while my block of 40 (!) Chaos Warriors locked down the middle. My non-fast cavalry Marauder Horsemen would go after the War machines, allowing my big block of Chaos Knights to sweep around and protect the flank of the Warriors.

Seeing his 5 Peasant Men at Arms on horses, I figured the 10 Marauder horsemen with light armor and shield would have an easy time with them and declared the charge. I needed to roll a "6" by rolling 3d6 and choosing the highest two...and promptly rolled a 4. Which meant they moved a whopping 2".

This meant to protect my flanks I had to slow everyone else's advance in the center and my Chaos Knights would be locked into dangerous area, unable to maneuver.

Battle plans are made to alter. One bad roll will not wreck it.

I flew the D-prince up to his right flank with a perfect shot at several units.

For magic, I rolled a "5" and a "1"...meaning I had one more power die than they had...then they channelled 2 additional dispel dice and I scored zero, so they had more Dispel dice than I had power dice.

I put all my eggs in one basket and threw all 6 at the Purple Sun big template. If I got irresistible force, sending that big template through his Knights of the Realm, Grail Knights, peasant bowmen and, if lucky, two trebuchets and several Skaven war machines would be devastating.

Of course, I could also simply fail to achieve the casting value...

On the left, the cannon dropped the template on top of his 5 Jezzails, a weapon I truly fear.

I was fortunate to roll a "hit" so one was under the template and died. The other 4, I just needed a "2" to wound. So I rolled 4d6...and for the second consecutive game, rolled 4 "1"s, slaying zero jezzails.

So the first round was...well..disastrous. I was out of position, did no damage of note, and he was in great shape.

Skaven/Bretonnian Turn 1
His men at arms charged my Marauder horsemen. This was probably a good move in 7th edition...not so much in 8th.

Conversely, seeing my Knights ready to flank him, he did NOT charge my Chaos Warriors with his Knights of the realm. In 7th...probably good idea again as I would have removed his rank bonuses and crushed him on my turn. In 8th...he really needed to get the strength bonus for his lances.

On the other flank there was a general advance.

They channeled a few dice, had about 5 more power dice. I had to use my one scroll to stop his plague spell that would have cost me about 34 marauders had it gone through. That let Liam put regeneration on his peasants.

They also shot down a few Marauders...I fail my first 4 save attempts, all needing 5+.

He manages a wound on my Marauder Horsemen. No problem, But I then unleash the pain and put down all 5 of his men at arms and over-run into the peasants behind.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
I have a tough choice. I have a pretty unlikely charge on his Knights of the Realm, a more likely charge on his Grail Knights. If I charge the peasants, I am virtually certain to make it and unleash a huge amount of carnage which should allow me to overrun into their artillery park....but if something goes wrong, I have presented my flank to Grail Knights. This is seldom a good idea...

Shaggy charges his abomination, my Marauder Horde charges...I dunno, skaven clanrats?

Magic goes about the same. I roll a 5 and 1 again. They channel 2, I channel zero. For the second consecutive time, I have fewer power dice than they have dispel. So I go the big Purple Sun rout.
This time it works. Irresistible force. And misfires, lands on my wizard and wounds him, scattering away from their battle lines. Then I roll snake eyes for the miscast and a 2 for Infernal Puppet...fortunately, I am not thrown into the warp, but that was...well...not good.
Time for shooting. After my colossal whiff on turn one, I am expecting good things. I do not get them as the cannon blows up, and I roll a whopping 16" for distance other units are wounded on.
By the time we are done taking wounds from the blow-up I have lost marauders, wounds on Shaggy and a wizard, he has taken a couple on the abomination and a couple clanrats.

A quick points count: I have done 40% wounds to my best wizard, half wounds to another wizard, 33% to my Shaggoth, and killed my own cannon. They have slain I think 4 Marauders at this point...I vote for me as their MVP.
On the bright side, it also killed 3 Jezzail members, and the other would spend the next 4 (!) turns fleeing off the board....

Well, close combat is the key for the Warriors of Chaos. Forgetting great weapons no longer go first on the charge, I inflict mayhem on his clanrats, slaying 13 of his guys. He attacks back, kills 2...and then rolls Insane Courage.

My Warriors cause 13 wounds to his peasants, he saves 3 with the blessing/regenerate. The Marauders and their horse kill 8 more. I am happy. I have had two epic combats that offset my horrific shooting and magic. I rout him.

I then roll horribly and fail to catch him...but it does move my Marauder horsemen to where it seems like an illegal charge in 8th as his Grail Knights, to hit my juicy Chaos Warriors would have to wheel to get around them, but that wheel would lessen the number of troops he got in I was perhaps fortunate to have awful pursuit rolls...

Skaven/Bretonnian Turn 2
He charges his plague furnace into my Marauder horde.
He gets off the Skaven plague spell, killing 17 Marauders.

The combat is brutal as I do a number on his clanrats, his Furnace does a number on my Horde, but I win the combat. He is down to ONE clanrat by now...

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
the block of 10 Knights has his Doom Wheel in front of it and charges. I again have a spell dice deficit, but get Infernal Gateway off irresistibly, doing a few wounds to a war machine.

(fair warning; about this point I stopped taking notes so...well...who knows what REALLY happened after this..)
The Knights just barely kill the Doom wheel and overrun into some clan rats or plague monks or whatever. My Warriors go after his Knights of the Realm.
His Grail Knights charge my Knight block in the flank...the key moment in the game.
This is his best Knights, bolstered by their general, getting a flank charge (reducing my armor save by one) with S6 hits on my best unit. My Marauder Horde is dying, the Shaggoth is odds on to die to the Abomination, and magic,...well, for the first 4 turns he had more Dispel Dice than I had Power Dice.
But then something happened...he did indeed put down a couple Chaos Knights. But in return I kill all 7 Plague Monks and kill his Battle Standard Bearer. I win the combat and he epically fails his Leadership roll...not a huge shock as his 2 ranks were easily countered by my BSB/War banner/more kills. He flees a whopping 5"...and I pursue a whopping 4".

My Chaos Warriors run his Knights of the Realm.
Shaggy kills the Abomination while having just 1 wound remaining himself. And Kev promptly rolls a 6 to bring it back and gets fully 4 wounds. Uh-oh...

So now we have an interesting situation. On the left flank I have a foot wizard, 5 Knights, and 1 wound remaining on my Shaggoth. He has the Abomination, some skaven clanrats, the plague furnace, and a couple other miscellaneous units.

meanwhile, on the right I have 35ish Chaos Warriors, 8 or 9 Chaos Knights, another unit of 5 knights, a dragon, and we have done the classic Greek maneuver of each shattering the right flank of the other.

From here on it got bloody (as if, you know, the hundreds of casualties already dealt were not...) as there were charges, counter charges, counter/counter charges...

This just in. His Skaven general with something like a bajillion I9 or 10 attacks allowing no armor save is bad, bad jujupe. He tore up a unit of Knights and everything else he touched.

But I overran their artillery park and by the end it was obvious the game was going to be some sort of Chaos victory.

Ironically, I had one epic charge left where I failed a LD test with re-roll to restrain, thus forcing my corny knights (mark of khorne) to make an unfavorable charge on my 6th turn. I dealt out something like 17 Fixed Dice pointed out, had I done just 16, he would have passed his test instead of getting overrun.
He paid me back, killing my BSB with magic when I failed my Initiative test which meant my Knights broke instead of being stubborn with a reroll....

He also wiped out everything I had on the left, including his Abomination taking out my Shaggoth and wizard.

So the epic blood bath ended.
Bretonnia was all but wiped out, with only the peasant bowmen hanging out on my left flank alive.
Conversely, almost all the Skaven were alive.
I started the game with 20 Knights and 2 Knight heroes and an exalted hero on juggernaut. At the end of the game I had 2 Knights left of all that...his Abomination withstood my 5 S7 attacks without taking a wound and slew the jugger rider on turn 1 or 2, killed the Shaggoth, and his clanrats did for 10 more Knights. the others fell to Brets and Magic.

Wee totaled the points. They scored something like 2300 points, I scored about 3500 or so.
It was great fun. Much of my conjecture was backed up. The "remove casualties from the back rank" rule makes, to me, this game 1000000% better. It meant peasants, clanrats, plague monks, storm vermin were all a real even to my mighty Knights...who did well but took a TON of damage.
Magic was...well, what it often is for me. I spent far more points on it than they did. And I did have some success...which is nice because in 7th, I would have gotten nothing done. I did think it was funny that on 5 of 6 turns they actually had more Dispel Dice than I had power dice...
and awesome that I still managed to get some stuff off.
I think the Horde rule is awesome, though I doubt I would use it in a tournament or competitive situation.
Not so fond of everything being dangerous terrain as it really restricted my movement, and the placing of templates makes them super powerful. Wish they scattered a bit more.
Overall, the game is much more tactical and much more fun now, with a heavy dose of random swings thrown in. Love, love, love it.