Saturday, May 14, 2011

4k Warriors of Chaos versus 4k Skaven

As always, click on the pictures to expand them (and also let you see the stuff cut off by being to the right of what shows)

Lately I have been doing a lot of experimenting. After dozens of games with the Warriors of Chaos, I pretty much know their ins and outs. I like the way they play. I like playing with that army. But I also like to switch it up so I have had a couple games using dwarfs, a couple using High Elfs and even my debut appearance with the Beastmen.

Kev and I wanted to play a big game, and the only army I could do that large without proxying was back to the one I love best, the WoC. I do not mind proxying within reason...frankly, with our groups financial resources and time commitments, it is pretty much a must to keep the game going. But if I can play with or without it, I will go the one route almost every time.

This is mostly for I can keep straight in my own mind which models are where as that determines my tactical options.I tend to forget stuff sometimes and it becomes problematic when I make key mistakes because I forgot which of my units I meant to do something with.

Well, the first time I put the list together, I centered it around Galrauch. I love dragons, but seldom used them in 7th edition as they tended to be pretty over powered. In 8th, I feel fine about using them as they are not nearly as strong (?).

Unfortunately, one of my old bugaboos came back to strike that plan down; modeling. I hate metal models with a passion. Almost impossible to glue together without pinning...which I have yet to successfully do. So I tried to magnetize the wing...and it fell off this morning. So I had to retool the list.

Changing it around to keep a dragon in cost me my beloved Dragon Ogres. On the other hand, I think it came up with a build much stronger than the one with Galrauch.

I knew kev would bring either the Ogres or Skaven. If the Ogres, then I would basically just keep everything within 6" of my BSB and try to keep him from getting impact hits on the charge. If he brought Skaven I would try to get my unit of Chaos Warriors into his H-pit Abomination along with the Shaggoth and hope, and try to stay away from the Doomwheel and Plague Furnace.

He brought the Skaven. then we rolled a classic; the Battle line. I have not played this set-up in 8th yet, so even though it is "old", it is kind of new, too...

I feinted with my set-up, planting some Marauder Horsemen on my extreme right flank. With their Vanguard move and their role as Fast Cavalry, they could get where I needed them when I needed them. Their entire job was to go after anything he had like the Warp Lightning Cannon (present), Jezzails (present), or miscellaneous weapon teams I did not want hitting my knight (present, present, present, present).

By the time we were done setting up he had the Doom Wheel on my extreme left, Jezzails on the right, and kind of spread across the field. I packed in the center. The plan was drive up the middle and, depending on how the battle was going, use a block of tzeentch-marked, hand weapon and shield Chaos Warriors to hold him up while my Knights did the heavy lifting.

Warriors of Chaos....ASSEMBLE
I won the role for first turn. This made me happy.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1
Perception matters when playing Warhammer. For example, in my various games I have;
1) thrown everything I had at the Abomination, had it kill my character designed specifically to kill the HPA, finally killed it by focusing over 1k points on it...only to have it come back and kill my Shaggoth and a few other things. I fear the HPA
2) Had weapon team after weapon team remove my armor saves. I fear them.
3) Had Queek single-handed wreck a 10-man unit of Knights. I fear him,
4) Had the plague furnace wipe out everything it touches. I fear it.
5) Had the Doomwheel  do mass carnage and only be stopped by a lucky charge with my Knights. I fear it.

So my perception of the Skaven is their specials are unkillable, they do not let me have armor saves, and they are good at putting down the WoC.

So my goals were to keep him from shooting as much as possible, take every shot I could at his tough stuff with magic, and keep as much as possible stubborn.

My Marauder Horsemen thundered forward, one unit planting itself in front of the Jezzails, the other in front of his Warpfire Cannon. I then rolled 12 for power dice.

Usually first turn magic is not so helpful. In this case I had flown my dragon riding General/Lord Wizard up close to him hoping to get lucky and Infernal Gateway his Plague Furnace away. But then I remember the damage Queek has done...Infernal on his Storm Vermin.

I roll 6 dice, do not get irresistible, and he chooses to feedback scroll it. I get 11 hits,  strength 7. Oh, I wish those were reversed...anyhow, I put down 9 Storm Vermin. This is already one of the 2 or 3 best magic phases I have ever had. 

I then get off Pandemonium, his attempt to Dispel fails. I then use my last dice for Flickering Fire at the Warp Lightning Cannon, he again rolls low and I wound it 3 times. Wow. I got everything off. That is the best magic phase I have ever had. And it will only get better.

Time for shooting. I often forget about my throwing axes. I prefer them to javelins because, though their range is shorter, their strength is higher. When I hit I want to wound. And hit I do. All 5 hit the Warp Lightning cannon. Only 1 wound sticks....but that, combined with the Flickering Fire, is enough to get rid of the Warp Lightning Cannon. I do a happy dance.

On the right my shooting is equally good as I hit the Jezzails 4 times, do 2 wounds and he flees. Lots of shooting I will NOT be facing in turn one. I do not even care when the H-cannon scatters wide of anyone.

We both agree this was a tremendously successful turn for me.

Skaven Turn 1
His doom wheel careens towards me a whopping 14". Feeling jealous, the HPA manages a 13" move which crashes into my Marauder Horsemen. Some Storm Vermin come along for fun.

Queek charges my Marauder Horsemen. I am about 4" from him. I can flee, be within range of my BSB, recover and shoot next turn. For one of the few times I can recall, instead of standing, I flee. And my plan falls apart when I flee 7", he charges 11". Oops.

Oh, well, they cost 71 points, they got rid of his deadly 90 point Warp Fire Cannon. I will take that trade. And now Queek is where I want him...not charging me.

His Weapon team with the giant propeller tries to charge the Shaggoth. I am not familiar with that weapon...I thought it was another shooter, but I guess it would have done massive damage. Failed charge is good for me. the jezzails rally. He makes a general advance, time for magic.

He tries wither. I dither about it for a while, counting and recounting his power dice and my dispel dice. With a Dispel Scroll in my back pocket, I stop it.

He attempts Cracks Call...doubles! Miscast! I use Infernal Puppet to modify it to a dimensional cascade, his level 4 disappears, and to add insult to injury...I dispel the spell.

His doomwheel then mis-fires and rolls 15". That takes it off the table. We cannot find rule and decide to make it same as pursuing off table. He is having horrific luck so far...though the 14", 13" and 15" moves on 3d6 kind of tell you he is rolling high...just at the wrong times.

So as you can tell, we were uncertain about one rule. I was dead wrong about another. I had in the back of my head you could not shoot on the turn you garrison a building. You can. His Globadiers unleashed on my Dragon-riding Wizard. Fortunately, of his 13 globes, only 1 wound got through, and that to my Dragon. But it was an unexpected, terrifying wound.

My T6 meant nothing, the ward on my rider was pointless. His globes could put me down with ease.

In close combat, his HPA impact kills 1 Marauder Horsemen, his Assassin another, then he rolls Avalanche of fists, gets 12 hits, 9 actually hit (needing 4s), 6 wound, bye-bye all my fast cavalry in one turn. He is actually winning at this point, 142 points to 90.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
I have lots of choices. I am the Warriors of Chaos...there is really only one answer. Charge! This turn I remember to test leadership for my cannon. He fails. And rampages....3". Triple ones. I roll an unbelievable number of those.

I also manage just 3 power dice.I channel another.

As I charge, he chooses to flee with his weapon teams. My Knights fly through and redirect onto his storm vermin. I combo-charge his Queek unit and am uncertain what to do with the dragon. I had declared a charge on that unit, but by choosing a different order kept him out of the combat, I should have flown him away from the globes. I erred.

I get Infernal off with irresistible on the Globadiers. I again roll 11 hits, this time at S8.; 9 Globadiers are no longer with us. I feel better.

My knights in his clan rats on the left do what Knights do, he dies in droves, though he does kill one Knight. He flees, I chase. He runs 6", I chase....5". Grr.

My other Knights and Chaos Warriors also do well. I challenge with my unit champ; Queek fails to kill him when I parry save, everyone else dies, Queek flees, I pursue, and a feared model is no longer with us.

At this point I am feeling pretty good. He is down his general, his BSB, rats are fleeing, and I control the center of the field.

Then again, he still has the Plague Furnace, Doom Wheel, and HPA...all of which I struggle to wound.

Skaven turn 2
I knew I had given my flank with the Chaos Warriors. I hoped to run further. Then again...with a 3+ armors, 5+ ward, I should last a while. I just want to keep his Furnace busy while I wipe out everything else.

His fleeing rats leave the table, the Furnace charges into the Warriors, slaves combo charge me, the Doomwheel moves a more modest amount.

He gets a big number for Withering on the Warriors. I do not dare chance it, I burn my scroll. He then mis-casts with the seer thanks to Pandemonium, I modify it to reduce levels, he is now a level 0. Magic is ruling for me.

The Doomwheel fires and I lose a Chaos Warrior. Well, that is not a terrible outcome. It could have been much worse. For two turns I have lost just one Chaos Warrior total to his Doomwheel.

Well, he gets 6 Impact hits, 5 wound, and my vaunted armor save/ward save combo Zip. Nada.

*Sigh*. I finally get saves...good saves...and whiff on them all. Then his shroud attack wounds 6 more, this time I save....1. 10 Warriors down before I have lifted a weapon.

But the Warriors step up to the plate. I kill 8 of his slaves. None of his plague monks. His slaves get 1 wound through, but this time I save it. then his wrecker ball of doom gets 10 S5 hits off, 7 of them wound, and I save just 3.

Well now. I had 21 Warriors about 30 seconds ago. Now I have 3. That 3+/5+ combo is not so good, is it then?

My BSB being right there lets me stay, being stubborn and all. So, uh...some good news, I guess.

Meanwhile, he had also charged my knights with his rats. I allocate one attack to his unit champ, kill it. Then I do 8 more wounds. The horses kill 4 more. His 20 attacks hit 13 times, wound 7, and I save 5. So yeah...3 knights dead already. Out of 5. He flees, I overrun.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
I had about as good of turn one as could be believed, beginning to end. Then his plague furnace and clan rats turned it around. I have a badly damaged unit of knights, an all but dead unit of warriors...who I had counted on holding him up for three or four turns...I was reeling.

It gets even worse when the H-cannon fails his test again and pounds forward about 6". I just have not had good success with that thing.

My Knights, being frenzied, and my Warriors, being dead, combined to now give me a path to attack his Plague Furnace. I had really mixed emotions about this. The furnace is unbreakable, does massive casualties throughout combat, and I have no faith in my ability to take it down no matter how much I throw at it.

Ah, smurf...charge. In go the knights. Shaggoth flanks the slaves. Chaos Warriors flank the slaves. They are going down. The dragon rider charges his last globadier. Might as well.

I remember to roll Wulfrik and his 47 marauders on, they come behind his recovered jezzails.

I roll 3 for power dice again. I whiff on Infernal. I cast Purple Sun towards his Doomwheel but it falls short by 24". was a long shot, but I had little else to do.

My Sorcerer lord takes care of business and the Globadier heads for the bone pile.

His shroud attack does what it does...kills 2 knights, a chaos warrior and a slave. My BSB kills the Seer on the bell. I am happy.

The knights do 7 wounds. The Chaos Warriors, with little left to attack, swing at the Furnace and manage a wound. Those facing the slaves then kill 4. His Plague monks manage 7 wounds and this time my armor works great, saving 6 of them and my ward the 7th.

The furnace then whacks the warriors thrice, I save none, many more dead.

His slaves explode, killing one of the fresh block of warriors and 2 plague monks.

Skaven turn 3
He charges the Shaggoth with some warlord guy. His clan rats charge the H-cannon. His HPA slams into my general on a dragon.  And then his feared shooting phase opens up.

His doomwheel is out of range, but the jezzails kill a Chaos Warrior. then his weapons teams with the templates each kill 9 Marauders. 18 guys killed in a heartbeat. *GULP*

I am really not liking this right now. His bell could kill my knights, warriors, and other warriors on its own. A 2 or 300 point model is tying up well over 1000. His 230ish point A-bomb is something I expect to kill my 700 point Dragon/Wizard in a couple of turns. I am unsure how the rats/cannon combat will go. And I have nothing left to deal with his doomwheel. I cannot withstand another turn of that lethal shooting with my Marauders.

On the other hand, I have a clear lead at this point. I have the situations I try to set up; I have vastly more force involved in 2 of the 3 combats from a points standpoint. I have an unbreakable unit hopefully holding up another unit for a while. And I have a clear magic advantage.

Close combat is a little better. His assassin and clan rats cannot wound the h-cannon. The cannon kills a couple rats.

His HPA only gets 2 impact hits, 1 wounds, and I ward save that. The Talisman of Preservation/mark of tzeentch combination to give me a 3+ ward is going to be HUGE. I get a wound through with my wizard, even though I get just 1 hit. Wow.

He then gets the flailing fist result, and rolls a whopping 13 attacks. 5 wound....and I ward save all of them. The Dragon hits all 6 times, 4 of them wound, he regenerates two. In just one turn I put 3 wounds on him. I start to feel hope.

The plague furnace kills another knight and warrior with its shroud attack. His Warlord wounds the Shaggoth 3 times, but I somehow save 2. Saves aplenty.

My BSB then wounds the Furnace 2 more times, the knights kill 11 plague monks, my Chaos Warriors kill the last 4 0plague monks, the Shaggoth wounds the Bell, and then I thunderstomp his warlord, but he saves one of the two wounds. The Furnace then hits the big block of warriors 8 times, I take 6 wounds and save just 3.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4

I move my Sorcerer on disc towards the HPA. I have a vague idea of using the flaming attack on the HPA to stop the regeneration.

My Marauders charge the jezzails who flee but are over-run and I hit his rat ogre thing which dies easily.

I then get Infernal off with irresistible. I do 10 S10 hits. I wound him 9 times. This will be it for the HPA...until he regens 7 of them! He still has 1 wound left. I just...can...not...kill...that...stupid...thing.

The great part is I modify the mis-cast to a 7. He is hit by the template. He is wounded by the template. Do I even need to mention he regenerates it? Stupid unbreakable, unkillable beast.

Meanwhile, the H-cannon decides to get rid of his annoying assassin but can only wound it once, losing a crewman in return.

The Sorcerer then wounds the HPA twice and...wonder of wonders...IT DIES! YES! Victory is mine! There is n stopping me now. It is gone and...what? He rolled a 6? It comes back...with 2 inch away and ready to get more impact hits since he gets next turn...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

There is no stopping that stupid thing.

The bell wounds my Shaggoth. He has no plague monks left. My BSB wounds the Bell twice and the Knights finish it off. Shaggy kills his warlord.

Take that, Skaven rats!

Skaven turn 4
Skaven turn 4
The HPA charges back at my wizard on the dragon. His Doomwheel kills the last Chaos Warrior of my big block with its shooting.

I save his only impact hit. I which at him. He gets the "Avalanche of flesh" attack. Does the HPA ever do a reasonable number of attacks? I fail the I roll but ward it. He hits 7 more times, 6 of which wound, 5 of which I save. The Dragon then puts him down again, doing the 2 necessary wounds.

And he...comes back. As Rat Swarms, this time. Much better.

His Assassin kills another crewman. The Cannon kills the assassin.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 5

Okay,  at this point I am feeling pretty good. His doom wheel is not as tough as the Furnace, which I took down. Sure, I had to use 10 knights, an exalted hero, a shaggoth, some magic, and 31 Chaos Warriors...but I took it down.

I mean, sure, I was throwing as many as 23 S5, 49 S4, and 5 S8 attacks at it for multiple turns...but I took it down. Sure, I lost over 20 chaos warriors and a handful of knights...but I took it down. Sure, I....ah, smurf, who am I kidding. I am not confident in my ability to take down the Doomwheel in the next 2 turns.

At the same time...he cannot do near enough damage. I have wiped out almost his entire army.

The Dragon decided to leave the swarms for the knights, flew over them at his weapon team...which fled. I redirected onto his clan rats. The Knights charge the swarm.

And here comes the whiff factor. The BSB puts 4 wounds on the swarms...but the knights under perform. Completely. Four wounds. Wow, really? Fortunately, the horses do just as much, 4 more wounds, the swarm melts.

The cannon kills another storm vermin after he saves half the wounds.

Now we will see what a Chaos Sorcerer on a Chaos Dragon can do against ranked up Clan Rats. This is the type of situation I typically avoid...I like to combo charge and bring overwhelming force. I do not like things that might be close combats or risking 695 point models without being pretty sure I have the advantage.

However, the game kind of got out of hand a bit. He has done a lot of damage, but it has been spread out. So he has very few points at this juncture. So even if I get hammered, it makes it arguably a better game...and if not, it does not really matter a lot.

Well, all three of the Wizards attacks kill. He strikes before the dragon, but only wounds 1 time, which I duly save. Then the Dragon kills 5 with his breath, 3 with base attacks and 4 with his thunderstomp.

Totally epic. I did a whopping 14 casualties in one round...he cannot stand, I pursue off table, his non-fleeing weapon team breaks. I am duly impressed by the power of the dragon.

Skaven Turn 5
He fails to rally anything, his weapon teams flee off the field.

Shooting will be bad; Shaggy is the closest to his doomwheel, and is immune to the effects,. He tries to restrain. Fails. He fires...or rather, mis-fires. He takes 6 S6 hits. His doomwheel blows itself up.

His last weapon team mis-fires...blows up.

He does manage to put a wound on the H-cannon, though, so at least that went right.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 6
My Knights, being frenzied, must charge. The Scree slope forces dangerous terrain tests. My BSB duly rolls a 1, I do not ward save it. The others all pass.

He kills a Storm Vermin, in a challenge my champ kills his, my other knights kill 2 more, he kill the last Chaos Dwarf, then the cannon kills 4 more. He breaks, runs, flees table.

Skaven Turn 6

Well then. On the one hand, I am really not fond of tabling my opponent. On the other hand, I think Kev takes it better than anyone. And he thought it was an enjoyable game, so I am not going to dwell on that aspect too much.

What went right?

 Well, first off, my plan worked beautifully. His force ended up being split into distinct elements whereas mine was almost all centered and working in concert. As a result, I had 2-1/2 - 1 points advantages at almost every point of contact. This spread my casualties out very well to where I lost just three units despite taking dozens of casualties. Meanwhile, I got rid of some dangerous guys without taking much damage. Queek, I am looking at you here.

Second, I played very well. I can count on one hand the number of mistakes I made: forgot to use the warshrine on turn 1 (minor, not really relevant), forgot to roll LD test for the Cannon on turn one and to roll for Wulfrik on turn 3. I was able to minimize his shooting which let me get into hand to hand before he could whittle me down to manageable sizes.

Third, I had a fair amount of good fortune with lots of irresistible without being harmed by mis-casts, whereas his mis-casts cost him his level 4 and level 2 wizards. I also made a pretty fair number of saves. Of course, that meant he had a lot of attempts to wound me...but that is kind of the point of playing an army based around good saves. To make them. I am often disappointed when I either do not get to attempt saves or fail abnormally large amounts. This game I made a lot of saves and I enjoy that.

Fourth, he had some timely very bad his low impact hits, his weapons teams mis-firing on command and his being struck repeatedly by miscasts that were devastating.

Regardless, this was an extremely entertaining game. In retrospect, it was a demolition beginning to end...but for about 4 turns it felt like I was fighting uphill. We had epic, grinding combats that lasted multiple turns. We had crushing charges and stellar defenses.

One great moment was when I smurf-slapped his HPA with 10 S10 hits and laughingly said, "You only need to regen 7 to survive" only to see him do just that. What a great, memorable moment.

Or seeing said A-bomb come back with wounds once and then again as a swarm. It began to feel like I would never be rid of that thing. I just did not know how weak swarms are.

Which leads me to another point. I often point out that person x or y is a better player than I am. Part of that has to do with research.

I don't.

I cannot tell you how many times in the game I had to ask wounds, strength, abilities, etc. of the various Skaven rats. I had no idea they even had a close combat weapon team. As he pointed out, the team had a giant propeller blade...I just thought it was another gun of some sort.

I also had no comprehension of the sheer destructive power of the template guys who nearly wrecked my Marauder horde.

Yet some guys in the group know the 'enemy army" nearly as well as they know their own. This is a valuable skill as it allows you to dictate who you want to fight against who, and when you want them to do so.

Looking back, I should have had everyone attacking the Bell, not the Monks (or Furnace...I actually think it was a screaming bell, not a plague furnace...) from turn one. But thinking I could not touch it, I let it live much too long. Once I got around to attacking it, I killed it in relatively short order. Not knowing the Skaven book very well altered in-game decisions.

So studying the opponent is a valuable tool for improving play. Not knowing them is a handicap. Though not necessarily a game-breaking one. It just makes it a bit tougher.

Overall, this was a very, very entertaining game. I was on pins and needles for 4+ turns....which in a 4k game means for about 5 hours. Great game, great time, thanks for the match, Kev.

Only one thing left to do; Survivor group photo

1 comment:

kennyB said...

How many wounds did he do with his feedback scroll?