Saturday, November 24, 2012

Warriors of Chaos versus...does it really matter?

As always, click on the pics for full-size glory

Kev and I had planned to play a really big game. Unfortunately, little things like...modeling, painting and, most importantly, building the @#$%^& army list got in the way so we settled in at 3600.

I built an atypical army for me; no Marauder Horsemen, only one unit of Knights, no Dragon Ogres, and 3, count em 3 units of Chaos Warriors are all quite unusual. Furthermore, I included a D-prince as my general...which means instead of my normal unbreakable army (LD 10 with re-roll staying within the bubble) I would be counting on LD 8.

I built it with a 45 strong Marauder horde with mark of khorne and great weapons. They would come on the most important side whenever the dice were with me, probably the back line via Wulfrik the Wanderer's ability.

Then I planned a really strong battle line; 2 12 strong units of chaos warriors with shield and mark of tzeentch intended to flank a 12-strong Chaos Warrior unit with great weapons and mark of khorne.

On one flank would be 10 Chaos Knights with khorne and on the other 3 Juggernaut Knights. The D-prince would fly around wherever needed to muck things up. Throw in a Dragon Ogre Shaggoth to hit tough targets and the H-cannon for a little distance shooting and I feel equipped to battle anything.

So lets start counting set-up mistakes.

We rolled up battleline. He would be playing the Ogres.

Ogres setup. 

And I would be playing the Warriors of Chaos.

The Warriors of Chaos set-up

All directions are from my point of view because, lets face it, I am the only one that matters :-)

He planted the new Iron-blaster cannon on a hill on the left flank. I responded by planting the H-cannon on the left corner. I had good line of sight to the entire field, I am happy.

He plants his giant just to the right f the hill the iron-blaster is on. I put my Dragon Ogre Shaggoth behind the house so he cannot shoot me with the iron blaster, planning to intercept the giant with my great-weapon wielding monster hunting Shaggy.

Your idiot alarm probably just went off. Giants are so-so against line troops but get them in a battle where they attack, for instance, against a great-weapon wielding Shaggoth who is Always Strikes Last, for instance...and the giant's ability to pretty much keep the opponent from ever getting a chance to attack makes him a very poor target. But surely one mistake is all I would make, right?

He puts his Stonehorn next door. I know I am going to put either my Knights or Juggernauts opposite them so carefully measure off to leave space for them and put down...wait for it...THE MARAUDER HORDE.

Yep, the centerpiece of my offensive strategy to sneak in his back line and run rampage is now clogging my set-up under my "unit he must account for that will control space" theory. It would be a good setup...if it did not wreck my PLANNED setup. Huge, huge, huge error.

He launches some Ironguts.

I counter with my Knights, 10 strong. moving, hard hitting shock troops...setting up opposite something they will take multiple turns to put down if they are not wrecked first. Set-up is not going well.

I then start deploying in depth and anchor my Ranger Banner carrying Skullcrushers of khorne on the right behind the forest.

It has been a while since I played so I more or less went with my "I designed the army to control space, make you come to me, force lots of combats" set-up instead of the one I designed the army around.

Fortunately, the WoC are flexible enough to withstand such an error. And lets face standard set-up is pretty strong. I have fast, dangerous units on either flank so there will be no rolling up my lines. I can advance in a line and, with more available units across the front force advantageous combats. The set-up is poor because it is not the plan I built the army around...but it is a very strong set-up anyway.

Ogre Turn 1
He starts his Leadbelchers wheeling around the mysterious forest on the right threatening KR8-KR...wait, not chess notation, sorry about that...threatening  a flank shot at my Juggers. Everything else makes a measured advance up the middle except the Cannon on the hill.

Winds blow a 3 and I dispel his Comet. His Iron Blaster misfires and does nothing to itself.

Strong first turn. He set me up to have long charges that I needed to try anyway or risk getting charged with impact hits. Ogre impact hits can hurt. His Leadbelchers needed to move to get a shot and if I pursue them I risk doing nothing else with my Juggers. Meanwhile his center is extremely strong.

WoC Turn 1
I declare the charge with my knights against his Stonehorn. I then roll a 3/3/1 for the fail. I advance everything in a row. I move my Juggers to make it so if he advances the Leadbelchers I should get a turn 2 charge but he will not be able to shoot his entire unit.

I 6-dice the Purple Sun and total about a 15 including my level 2. He then dispels Pandaemonium. As usual for me, magic is pretty dominant...

The H-Cannon scatters well away from anything. It will not fire again all game...
Setting the trap; charge my horde, do some damage, take a Warriors of Chaos unit in the side

I figured to miss the one charge. I needed a 10 to make it. But with his cannon up on the hill I could not sit back and let him blast away. Plus I have been torn to shreds by the Leadbelchers a few times in the past so would not be surprised to see them wipe out my Juggers in one turn. I had to be somewhat aggressive.

He forced me into that position, so good on him. I erred here with my D-prince. I did not want to peak him out in the open to get shot my the Iron Blaster so did nothing with him.  That was a mistake. Taking models is fine unless I plan to do nothing with them.

Ogre Turn 2
He declares two charges; Mournfangs against my Marauders, Stonehorn against my Knights.

His Stonehorn then rolls triple 1s for distance. Fail. His Mournfang fail their charge by 1" and pass both dangerous terrain tests. He moves everything else slightly forward.

Winds; he rolls two dice at Harmonic Convergence; both are "6"s. I then Infernal Puppet his roll to the worst one on the chart, he loses 3 levels and is never a factor after that.

His Ironblaster goes perfect; the carry lands it on Wulfrik, the bounce hits the rest of the unit. I make my "Look Out Sir!" roll and he kills 5 marauders. It will not successfully fire again.

Meanwhile, 4 of his Leadbelchers have sight to my Juggers; 11 shots result in 1 wound which I save. Remember that save; 1 for 1 at this point.

He advanced pretty quickly giving me some tempting charges. I think he mis-guessed how many Leadbelchers could fire. He made a couple of good, aggressive charge declarations that could have put some hurt on me and hit some poor luck. We are about to have massive contact, and the benefit to getting the charge is well worth the penalty of minor positional disadvantage for failing.

WoC Turn 2
I declare several charges; the H-cannon Rampages forward about 11", doing nothing constructive.

The Juggers crash into the Leadbelchers. The Knights charge his Ironguts. The Shaggoth charges the Giant to keep it from hitting the Knights should they not be gone by his turn. The Marauders fail by an inch to charge his other unit up front.

In a shocking development my magic fails to achieve the casting score on the Purple Sun and he stuffs whatever else I tried. But wait, Magic will have some success in this game. Just not in the first two turns...

The Juggers prove awesome; the hit 7 times and put 5 wounds on him. The mounts do 2 more. 7 wounds dished out; nice. I save all 5 wounds he gets on me (yeah, he was hitting well). 6 for 6 on saves. I run him down.

A clever observer might see a rarity; I am using 2 proxies in this unit. See if you can find them...

Meanwhile, the Giant Yells & Bawls. Needing a 10 or less, I promptly roll...11. Standard Bearer and choosing proper combat order to the rescue. Re-roll passes.
I see your size and raise you this giant axe. Which I will never use...

Last but not least, here comes the thunder; my Chaos Knight unit champ takes on his Bruiser; I hit thrice, wound once; he hits back 4 times, 3 wounds, I ward save 1; 7 for 10 on saves.
Hack, slash, slay. No rinse, lots of repeat

The BSB does 2 wounds, the knights another 13. Things look good. He breaks and flees a whopping 10" which is pretty good. Not as good as the 12" I pursue and hit another unit...

Hey, where did our army go? Slow-pokes.

Well, for a successful turn, that was brutal. The Leadbelchers being gone is great. I am at least two turns from the Juggernauts being relevant, though, and his Ironblaster can take all 3 out with one well-placed shot.

My knights can be hit in both flanks, his Mournfangs are about to do some nasty stuff, his Giant can keep my Shaggoth from ever using his axe...the reward does not out-way the risk. I might be in trouble even though the table looks good at the moment.

Ogre Turn 3
The Mournfangs and Ogre Bulls smash into my Marauders. Not worried. I will absorb lots of casualties, be steadfast, and hold him in place for the counter charge.

The Stonehorn makes the long charge and hits a unit of Chaos warriors. I am not worried, they are designed to laugh on nonsense like this; he might be running if not stubborn after I put a couple wounds on him and use banner and ranks to win the combat.

For a second time he gets a spell off; the irreistible force costs him a wound and gives him +1 T. The Ironblaster mis-fires and splits in two.

The Giant does thump with club. I fail the test, he does 7 wounds, Shaggy died without ever taking his axe off his shoulder. Ouch.

The Stonehorn does 5 impact hits, 3 wound, I fail all three saves and the ward as well. 7 for 16. The warriors then swing...and wound him once. Which he saves. His rider does another wound, I duly fail both saves. His thunderstomp does 6 (six) hits, 4 wounds, I save 1. 8 for 26 on saves.

Still steadfast, but now there are just 6 guys left. He did over half the unit in during that one turn.

Meanwhile, my chaos knights pt a barrel of attacks on his BSB, can only wound him once. My regular knights do 1 more wound. The exalted puts a second wound on the BSB. The horses finish off the BSB and do one to his regular guys.

He kills one knight in return, I run him down. His wizard breaks, his gnoblars break; I have wrecked his center.

Apparently he wants vengeance. Looking around, he spots my Marauders.
No problem. Counter charges to the left and right to wreck you with my steadfast army. 

6 impact kills start us off. Wulfrik gets in a challenge with his...Maneater? Whatever the wizard is. Does 1 wound Takes 1 wound...Wulfrik seldom performs for me. My level 2 Chaos sorcerer does wound a Mournfang, so I feel a little better.

then his Ogres hit 12 of 15 tries needing 4s. Uh oh. His Mournfangs start scratching biting, clawing and hacking; 23 Marauders lay dead before they get to swing. But they DO get to swing.

They do 8 wounds to the ogres, 5 to the Mournfangs..and the Mournfangs save 2. Fie upon thee, Great Weapons. Do some damage! (actually, I am pleased with doing 11 wounds in one turn but I cannot admit it, right?)
He stomps for 3 and thunderstomps for another 6.

He did 32 wounds in one turn; I fell one wound short of decreasing his ogres to no full rank. If I were steadfast I would still be there. I am not, am not...I flee, he overruns into my Great Weapon khorn threshers.
Someone explain my plan to Kev. His failure to co-operate has me worried about outcomes

I thought flanking the knights and almost assuredly wiping them out would have been a strong move. My Warriors would have needed a 12 or more to charge successfully. Not doing that let me wreck his unit, get into Groesus and chase off a couple units he would need.

Who is getting ready to turn Groesus into Grease? Us.
Other than that I like his turn. Very destructive.

The stomp/thunderstomp/impact hits were lethal, lethal, lethal. I thought 20 wounds taken was way on the high side and was not worried about my Marauders hanging around. I figured to lose the combat, but figured it would not be by a lot and I would wear him down. Wulfrik 's failure followed by being one figure too few attacking his Bulls was costly but that was good positioning by him.

I was now worried; his Mournfangs impact hits and attacking first could put a hurt on my great weapons. If I had at least one rank left I still figured to put his Mournfangs down, but if I would have enough survivors was an open question.

WoC Turn 3
The Knights have Groesus' flank. Auto-charge; I must declare challenge, figure to limit the damage he does, use flank charge, standard, battle standard and ranks to make him run.

I bring my D-prince into action, flank-charging the Ogres. I will hope he must accept my challenge, he has 1 wound left, I should slay him outright, win the combat and with luck he will run. At worst he has one guy attacking me. I should win this combat.

I hesitate about what to do with the H-cannon. Ultimately, I do not want the giant joining in against my Warriors because at the moment it looks like his stonehorn, mournfangs and ogre bulls are going to be roughing me up pretty good. In a desperation maneuver, I charge into the giant.

Meanwhile, I flip my unengaged Warriors in the forlorn hope the khorne threshers can hold up his Mournfangs for a turn so I can get into action.

Inexplicably, I forget he slew my champ earlier. I use my unit champ against Groesus; I do get a wound through, dies in return. Groesus stays...barely.

His Giant does the Thump with Club and, with I2, inexplicably I pass. I then wound him once, but he sticks around for more.

I want the Stonehorn unengaged if I can break his ogres; maybe a failed break test will do what my army cannot. I wound it once, he saves; he does 3 wounds back, I save 1; his rider then does another one, the Thunderstomp kills another, I flee and he overruns.

His fortune against the Threshers is worse; he only does 2 wounds and I save 1. The Rhinorxes whiff; I then retaliate with 12 wounds. No more Mournfangs. Being frenzied, there will be no turning to face the Stonehorn. I move away

He accepts my challenge, I do indeed kill his wizard, he flees, I run him down. Perfection.

Unintentional cheating aside, a near perfect turn.

I would have like Groesus to go away. His magic weapon is FIERCE. His ability can be lethal. I had a shot at his Giant...did not do much, but it is something, right? The Mournfangs are gone, the bulls are one turn I went from feeling like I was in deep trouble to liking where I was at.

Except I really felt like his Stonehorn alone could take out the rest of my Chaos Warriors. I was down to the D-prince for magic and he had nothing useful. As usual, we combine to do one wound (no casualties) despite both having a level 4 and 2 level 2s. Magic is its typical irrelevant thing.

Ogre Turn 4
His wiz continues to flee. His Gnoblars wuto-rally due to Groesus. His Ironblaster rear-charges the knights. His Stonehorn goes to face my assembled avengers.

Hisgiant headbutts my cannon, doing a wound. I do not get to attack.

My Exalted, forced to challenge, knows he will die but makes a valiant effort, hitting 4 times and getting off 3 wounds. Groesus hits just once, multiplies to 2 wounds...down goes my BSB.

Meanwhile, only 2 knights are facing his Blaster; they do wound him twice. The rhinox is the only thing to hit and puts down 1 knight.

By the time we get done adding ranks, banner, wounds, his rear charge...I win. His cannon breaks, Groesus breaks, I run down Groesus, the Gnoblars break again...
I was expecting a fight, not a group hug

When his Ironblaster charged my knights in the rear I was nervous. I knew my BSB was going to die; with his multiplying wound thing, he could have gotten plenty of overkill. I was expecint lots of Impact damage, the +2 for hitting me in the back, me only having 2 knights involved...recipe for disaster.

I benefited from some good fortune at the right time and suddenly I liked my chances overall.

WoC Turn 4
I turn the Juggers to see off the Gnoblars. I turn the knights to see off the wizard and/or Iron Blaster. I turn the khorne threshers and tzeentch-marked Warriors to face his Stone Horn and move the D-Prince to not be in the way.

I do get off 3 spells; Flickering Fire does the minimum 2 hits, zero wounds. Baleful sees him pass his LD test. Pandemonium gets off, probably should have done Call to Glory but...

His Giant does thump with club and unbelievably I again pass initiative. I think I even wounded him this turn

Most of this turn played itself; Nothing else I can do with Knights and Juggers at this point, it is either form to receive charge or try to run from the Stonehorn. Again, maybe getting the Exalted...but going to a S4 without shield and 2 wounds instead of S4 with shield and parry save does not seem very effective strategy to me.
Wherever you go I will be right here waiting for you

Ogre Turn 5
Stonehorn chooses to charge the tzeentch marked block of warriors. His Wiz rallies an inch from the table edge, his stoneblaster continues to flee (and does so the rest of the game, leaving the table in turn 6).

Ironically, after spending the game rolling 2s, 3s and a 5 for the winds, he now rolls something like 9 or 10...with no usable spells to cast.

The Stonehorn does what it does; 4 impact hits, 2 wounds, I save zero. I hit him 8 times, do 4 wounds, he saves 2. He thunderstomps for just 1. We tie, I have musician and win. No more frenzy for him.
Look Who is Coming to (have you for) Dinner

The Giant yells and bawls, my H-cannon is unbreakable.

Touch choice between charging the tzeentch marked guys who probably cannot hurt him but should withstand the charge and charging the great-weapon wielding guys who you could conceivably break...but who might one-turn slay your Stonehorn is a dilemma I was glad it was him facing. No right answer, just a couple forlorn hopes.

Ultimately at this point I think, retroactively, it was ever so slightly a better choice to go after the threshers; if he could break them, there was a slim chance the other unit would break and he could run them down in turn 6. Conversely, breaking the tzeentch guys could not force a test on the frenzied threshers.

Honestly though I do not think there was a "right" answer here.

As it turns out, he was in a bad spot and in deep trouble.

WoC Turn 5
The Juggernauts finish the formality, charging the fleeing Gnoblars and finishing them off.

The Knight charge the wizard, kill him on the way in. The D-Prince rear-charges the Stonehorn, the threshers flank him; the prince hits 4 times but can only wound the Stonehorn 1 time. the knights hit 10 times, can only do 2 wounds. He kills three of the threshers, but they hit 21 times and get through a whopping 7 wounds. Turns out not charging them was probably the right move because they are th only thing I had that could touch him...

The only model he has left is the giant and in the bottom of the 6th the H-cannon absorbs two wounds, then finishes off the giant to table him.

Overall Analysis

This game was fantastically fun. My first charge seemed devastating but put me in a precarious position. Then when he massacred my Marauder horde in one turn, his stonehorn single-handedly wrecked a unit of warriors and my knights and Juggernauts were basically out of the game, it did not look good.

It seemed I had nothing that could touch his stonehorn, Mournfang Cavalry, or Ironblaster; my defensive units were not surviving, my offensive units were not creating mayhem and magic....phshaw, that stuff is worthless for me.

I think had he flanked and destroyed my knights he might have won. When he went for broke, however, it gave me time to get my units of Chaos Warriors into position to start tag-teaming his tough units. When the Great Weapon wielding Chaos Warriors went to work they were a buzz-saw, chewing through everything they touched. Definitely a game-winning unit.

There were a couple bad moments where he could have won convincingly and a couple where I thought I was going to rampage through him in about three turns. In the end, it was in doubt until the 5th turn when it turned irrevocably in my favor and from there the only question was who would die, H-cannon or Giant.

We both enjoyed the game a great deal, got to see some fierce units in action and I think that 32 casualty blitz he threw at me put to shame the best efforts my theoretically super-deadly knights have ever put forth.

Hope for more games like this one. Love 8th edition.
Seems like there were a lot more of us a couple hours ago...

The traditional survivor picture.

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