Saturday, March 19, 2011

High Elf Versus Brettonians, Blood and Glory

Liam and I set up a game at 2900 points. Why 2900 you ask?

I looked at the models I had and started there. 10 Swordmasters. 17 White Lions. 5 Dragon Princes plus I could use 5 Silver helms as unit filler. 2 Repeater bolt Throwers.

Throw in some Wizards with various items to ensure a big magic phase. Figure out I needed 475 points in HERO level characters.

Decided to try the horde of Lothern Sea Guard. Had I remembered I had a chariot...that would have appeared as well.

Check out the spears poking through from the second rank. Good times.

Anyway, we rolled the scenario and three consecutive times came up with meeting engagement. That has been Liam's last two games and one of those was with me so we re-rolled until we got something different. Ended up being Blood and Glory.

I had a BSB, banners in the Swordmasters, White Lions and Sea Guard so I was in good shape with 6 points there. He had a whopping 11 banners. Unlikely to win via scenario rules...I would need points.

I knew he had double trebuchets. One of the reasons I seldom play High elfs is because they do not really suit my play style. I try to keep my casualties low, make sure the troops engaged have the capability of doing something and are therefore worth taking.

Against S5 templates I have no save and am wounded on twos. Horrible, horrible match up. On the bright side, I do have two units with either S5 or S6 so his 1 or 2+ armor saves can be hit by those, plus the RBTs will theoretically allow no armor save because I plan to penetrate ranks after I take out his Trebuchets.

Well, I set up the White Lions in a forest to my left. It was a mysterious Forest, but I thought I would play against type and not treat it as impassable terrain as I usually do.

 On the other side of the forest I planted my LSG unit (and later all my characters went in this unit) with another Mysterious Forest to the right and the Dragon princes angled to flank anyone who hit the LSG in the front.

Above this set-up were my small block of 12 Archers, then one RBT on the ground to the right of the second Mysterious Forest, another on a building with Swordmasters there to protect it.

This was a badly flawed set-up. I was thinking the RBT had S10 when they single-shot. Their assigned task was to take out his Trebuchets. The Swordmasters I set up hidden by the building, but I faced them wrong so they would take two turns to threaten any upcoming unit.

I would have been better off putting a RBT to either side of  the LSG and concentrating on the Knights. Not knowing my own stats is inexcusable.  

HE Turn 1
I march the White Lions on the left. Cannot remember the Mysterious result but it ended up having no effect.I make a lesser advance with the archers. Across the field I am looking at Knights flanked by Knights flanked by

Time for Magic. I get max dice. Throne succeeds. I then put Flesh to Stone and one Wyssans on the LSG. He dispels the second Wyssan. So here you see my battle plan. Now I have as many as 50 S4 attacks with re-roll to hit and T6.

Even charging Knights are only wounding on a 4. Now I have a tough, rugged army.

Of my 35 shots 5 wounded...a little low, I should have wounded with about 9. He then proceeded to save all of them but one. So about one wound light by math.

My RBTs targeted his Pegasus Knights because it was at this point I figured out the lower S thing. The first one missed, the second saw its hit discarded by the Enchanted shield.

The theme begins.

Brettonian Turn 1
His Pegasus Knights and hero fly towards my RBT on top of the building. I am not worried...I am on a building, so untouchable by fliers.

Well...actually not. Turns out I invented that rule in my own head. For some reason I was thinking Cavalry, fliers, and monsters could not attack garrisons. I was wrong. Not knowing the rules is not good.

Anyhow, he maxes out on Magic dice as well. He dispels Throne and Flesh to Stone.

Now, the clever reader instantly says Rules Error. Flesh to Stone is an Augment spell that lasts until the casters next magic phase. If it is successful it cannot be dispelled, stopped, removed, etc.

Now...I built this army specifically around having these Augments on my units. I know he will probably get all the charges based on his superior movement. No big deal...I took Okrams Mind Razor with one Wizard along with Wand of jet.

On the key turn I will be using the Power Stone, Wand of Jet, and power Scroll hiding out on my wizards to have him facing a S8/T 6 or 7 Always Strikes First mass attack unit.

And now, by not knowing my own rules, I changed my entire strategy.

Not once in the entire battle did I A) use the aforementioned magic items, B)remember to use the Lore of Life attribute or C) use the strategy I built the army around.

Anyhow, I block his Iceshard and Comet, in both cases only tying him because the High Elf Archmage adds +1 to Dispel.

The first Trebuchet scatters. So far, so good.

The second one kills 18 of 21 possible LSG when it hits.

T4 not as good as T6. Instead of wounding on 5s he was wounding on 3s.

His peasants then kill 5 of my small archer unit.

HE Turn 2
Again my White Lions march on the left. Next turn they can charge the trebuchet on that flank.

This time he dispels Throne, I get Wyssans off and I then Miscast with Flesh to Stone, putting a wound on each of my Wizards and losing the rest of my power dice.

He is moving a big block of Peasants up towards my second RBT so I weirdly break my own rule of concentrating fire and unleash everything...RBTs, LSG, at them. The RBTs kill 4 and the LSG kill 6.

The RBT never hit again in the entire battle.

On the bright side, the remaining 7 archers put a whopping 5 wounds on the Questing Knights and he only saves 4.

Brettonian Turn 2
His Pegasus Knights charge my RBT on the building. His Pegasus Hero charges the other one. Everyone else...knights, the peasant horde...advance on the LSG.

Magic all gets shafted. he again dispels Wyssans. Both Trebuchets hit, though one partially scattered. I lose another 15 LSG this turn. I have now lost 33 of them to two turns of shooting.

His peasant bowmen shoot down 6 more of the small archer unit, leaving just one who stands.

I wound the Pegasus hero once in a minor upset, he kills a crewman. I pass my test.

On the building I wound him TWICE, but he saves the first with armor and ward saves the second. But he whiffs. Drawn combat. Go-go gadget garrison!

He dispels most things, I get regrow off, put back three LSG.

The White Lions charge....the peasants. Why? Why? Why?

The Trebuchet is RIGHT THERE. It is the correct target.

Another play error. I really erred time and again in this game.

Well, the White Lions did what high WS, S models with re-rolls do and slew 9 peasant bowmen. They do none in return and break. His Treb fails LD test so will not shoot for a turn. I fail LD test to combat reform and chase the Peasants but do not catch them.

Brettonian Turn 3
He announces charges on my LSG with Grail Knights and...knights Errant? Knights of the Realm? I stand and shoot his Grail unit, wounding twice but he saves them both. He then fails both charges. His other knight unit charges my lone archer and I elect to flee. I do not want him overrunning into my LSG.

His magic is good, getting the Comet off irresistibly.

High Elf Turn 4
The unit that charged the lone archer presents its rear to my White Lions who charge it. The lone archer...rolls insane courage. Worst possible result for me.

He is now blocking my Dragon princes who, instead of charging, are now trapped behind ONE model.

Tired of playing poorly, I elect to play unbelievably badly. The idea is with the BSB and Crown of Command, I am Stubborn on a re-rollable 9. I am effectively unbreakable.

Yet for some inexplicable reason I break off my wizards and run them into the nearby Mysterious Forest. Oh, by the way...the Crown of Command was on my Archmage, not my BSB. So now my unit is not stubborn.

My shooting and magic all fail. Now my non-stubborn unit is facing 20+ S6 attacks with T3 and no Stubborn. I am probably going to need Insane Courage to stick around.

On the bright side, the White Lions kill 4 knights plus their champ, forcing him to flee and I pursue.

Brettonian Turn 4
This time his Grail Knights make the charge. He rallies everyone else.

And then the Comet hits. And r9olls 9". All my Wizards are now individual units and three consecutive times he rolls 13 hits. 3 dead wizards.

He then kills his Pegasus Hero (which had wiped out my RBT)kills 6 Grail Knights and 6 LSG. I will take the LSG/Grail Trade...

Which frees up his Trebuchets to kill 7 Swordmasters.

In the challenge his one guy kills my champ, I wound his character 5 times, he saves them all. Nobody runs.

High Elf 5
The solo archer has to get out of the way of my Dragon Princes, so he suicide charges the freshly rallied Knights as the White Lions, thinking I need to get that banner, rear-charge the unit next to them. The Dragon Princes then flank his Grail Knight/Champ.

My Dragon princes lay waste to his Grail Knight. My LSG do wound his hero 5 times, but he saves them all. Still, he breaks, I run him down.

The archer, to the surprise of nobody, dies, but the White Lions wound his Knights Errant 10 times, killing 6 of them. He kills 3 back, breaks, I run him down as well.

Bretonnian Turn 5
He begins a strategic retreat. We debated calling it, but a hasty points calculation discovered I was ahead. He would need to do lots of damage with his Trebuchets so we played it out.

12 White Lions die to Trebuchet.

High Elf 6
I do flank charge him with my Swordmasters on his peasants. He can treb me to death anyway with just 3 left. I actually win the combat, he has to test on a 6...and that is what he rolls.

Brettonian Turn 6
His Pegasus Knights charge my Swordmasters, I do a wound or so, he kills them all.

His trebuchets cannot finish off my LSG, leaving like 2...but I fail my re-rollable 9 LD test. I roll a 5, am about 5-1/8" from table edge but declare them off anyway and he gets the win via scenario rules.

Honestly, at this point I was pretty disgusted with the High Elf army. I built the army around Augment spells but at this point was thinking...they would never be in effect when they mattered. People would just dispel them on their turn.

Furthermore, all the shooting was very ineffective. Yes, I had 35 shots at first but just did one wound. S3 is still S3 and against armored troops with a back-up ward, that does nothing.

But after thinking about it...oh, how wrong I was. I had all the tools to not just win that game but win it handily.

With better set-up I would have gotten the Dragon Princes and Swordmasters into multiple combats. My LSG would have had 25 or 30 guys around between taking fewer wounds and using the Life attribute. My Wizards would have been alive. I would likely have had S9 on the key turn by using the tools I built into the army.

Furthermore, the shooting was much more effective than I gave it credit for. I just failed to focus my shots and it was my tactical errors that reduced the effectiveness of the shooting.

He outplayed me in set-up, in knowledge of key rules, and garnered a well-deserved victory.

And it was the best kind of game; enjoyable throughout and led to me rethinking a couple of things. Playing different armies is good... 

No comments: