SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 74

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

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  • New

    Right after wrapping up the first day of the tournament, Kiri and friends had organized dinner and drinks in the center of Luxembourg: so the following morning we weren’t exactly fresh! It certainly didn’t help that our opponents were some of the best players in Europe: TG Play is the team of Frederick and friends, bringing together three of Germany’s best players along with two of team Switzerland’s best players!


    As you may imagine, our predictions for that round were quite pessimistic as all the usual suspects were present: full shooting/magic Vermin Swarm, an EoS gunline, full construct UD, Frederick’s 16-unit WDG MSU army and, finally, Kingdom of Equitaine led by the usual Might Duke. It was the latter that I’d have to face, in a round where the secondary objective was Breakthrough!

    @Xavier had brought the following list:

    Xavier wrote:


    Duke, Barded Warhorse, General, Questing Oath, Virtue of Might, Shield, Lance , Divine
    Judgement, Basalt Infusion, Potion of Swiftness, Fortress of Faith
    Paladin, Barded Warhorse, BSB, Questing Oath, Shield, Alchemist Alloy, Crown of the Wizard King
    Damsel, Barded Warhorse, Wizard Master, Divination, Storm Clarion

    12 Knights Aspirants, Musician, Standard, Banner of the Last Charge
    9 Knights of the Realm, FCG, Flaming Banner
    2x5 Yeomen Outriders

    Green Knight
    11 Questing Knights, FCG, Aether Icon
    2x3 Pegasus Knights, Vanguard, Loose Formation

    The deployment we got was Encircle, which is always tricky against KoE: luckily, I won the roll for sides and elected to give the big flanks to the knights, kind of forcing them to pick a side instead of plonking everything right in the middle of the board.

    Spell selection was the usual for me (Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls) while my opponent got Evocation for his Crown of the Wizard King (= Spectral Blades) and a mix of buffs and damage spells from Divination (Scrying/Know thy Enemy/Fate’s Judgment/Unerring Strike).

    I think that the most challenging part of this battle was deployment: my DE army is designed to rush the enemy and break through the lines with superior force concentration, before the adversary’s support elements can move into position to help out. But that’s exactly what KoE excel at doing, too! The main difference was that the knights had enough staying power to ensure that my Krakens wouldn’t be able to punch through before the support (Read: Might Duke and Green Knight) could come to the lances’ aid.
    As a plus, the Questing Knights and the Duke both projected a huge threat zone thanks to the Questing Oath. Simply put, if I allowed Xavier to kill my redirectors early on I’d be in trouble. If I committed my units in the fight and failed to break the knights, I’d be in serious trouble. Finally, I had 3 scoring units that could simply not fight 2+/6++ knights, could be frenzy-baited into said fights and had little to no armor. With all this facts in mind, I elected to not place my entire army when my opponent gave me the opportunity, but to play the deployment game instead:


    The knights had four units that could rapidly redeploy, and placed them one after the other near the middle, so as to avoid giving away too much information. I replied with my fast support, with the same plan in mind. At that point my opponent dropped all 3 of his lances to my right flank and elected to force me to play first. And that’s where things got complicated for me: normally, getting the first turn with an army as fast as mine is a boon since I’m able to close the distance and can assure that my chaff won’t be killed before they redirect. But here I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to directly confront the KoE, since it would give them a lot of time to reposition and get my softer units if they won the initial fight. On the flipside, giving the first turn to cavalry that can move 16” means risking getting charged on turn 2, which can be worse.
    So I did what I thought was best: I took my time-out (in team tournaments you’re entitled to a 3-minute discussion with a teammate/coach once per game) and let someone else decide for me! :D I ended up deploying in a cautious manner, one would say against my nature:






    So the scoring units as far away from the action as possible, the Manticore BSB nearby to keep the Pegasus knights honest, then my redirectors and heavy hitters in the center to try to prevent the knights from relocating towards the scorers.
    The knights prayed, meaning that the first turn would depend on a dice roll. I won the roll, and forced the KoE to play first!

    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine

    The knights didn’t take the fast cavalry baits that I had set up for them, opting instead to push up my right flank, and keeping the Yeomen close to the general and far from my units, to my disappointment: as long as the fast cavalry was in range to redirect my kraken, I would have a hard time committing.… [Read More]
  • New

    By the time round 3 started it was 5PM and we had already been awake for 12 hours. Who said that wargaming isn’t an endurance sport? Luckily, we got to face the friendliest guys ever: Team Hambo’s from the Netherlands. My opponent was to be Bas @bas_2312 with his wonderful Halfling Empire army. I’d admired his models online before, and some of you may have also seen his gaming club’s Minihammer exploits, too. Here’s a link to his Instagram, where you will find among other stuff his take on the Steam Tank: a giant morphin’ robot!

    The halfling list he had brought was the following:

    bas_2312 wrote:

    Marshall, General, Paired Weapons, Imperial Seal, Lucky Charm
    Marshall, BSB, Shield, Death Warrant, Blacksteel
    Prelate, Plate Armour, Shield, Hammer of Witches
    Wizard, Adept, Pyromancy, Magical Heirloom

    42x Heavy Infantry, Halberd, M, C, S
    20x Light Infantry, Handgun, S, Marksman's Pennant
    10x State Milita, Irregulars
    5x Electoral Cavalry, Lance, Shield, S

    24 x Imperial Guard, M, C, S
    Arcane Engine, Arcane Shield
    6x Imperial Rangers
    2x5 Reiters, Heavy Armour, Brace of Pistols, M, C, Repeater Pistol

    Artillery, Mortar
    24x Flaggelants, C
    Steam Tank

    So a good mix of magic/shooting and staying combat power, along with good scoring. A good recipe for a challenging fight! This round the scenario was Spoils of War, and the deployment type was once again Marching Columns. My adversary won the roll for sides and picked the side with the hill and the least amount of blocking terrain. This meant that I could grab first turn though, always welcome against a list with considerable shooting power.
    For spells I went with the usual Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Grave Calls/Breath of Corruption combo, while the pyro wizard got Fireball, Pyroclastic Flow and the Flaming Swords.

    Going into the game I decided that I’d keep my scoring units near the center, use the fast elements to control the flanks and ram the imperial battle line with my monsters. If all went according to plan, it would create enough of a diversion for the small scorers to grab the loot and run with it!



    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    First turns in such games are all about controlling battlefield space, and this one was no different: the medusae pushed forward to threaten the mortar and prevent the cavalry from outflanking me. To the right, the yema acolytes and a single kraken would try to keep the Steam Tank, Flagellants and Reiters honest. The Pegasus Prince saw an opening between the Flagellants and the Halberdiers and used his movement to land there, threatening the Arcane Engine and potentially the Handgunners. Finally, the two kraken pushed forward using the forest as cover. To avoid the Halberds/Imperial guard charging headlong into my monsters, I had to sacrifice my Dark Raiders: while infantry is not a bad target for stomping krakens, you want to be charging and not the other way around!
    In the magic phase the Breath of Corruption went off, killing four Reiters from the rightmost unit, but the last survivor didn’t panic.








    TURN 1 – Empire of Sonnstahl

    The halfling didn’t take the bait, and elected to maneuver instead of charging into the dark raiders. The steam tank moved up slowly, and the two reiter units pushed forward to open fire against my fast support. Magic started with a miscast Flaming Swords on the Handgunners: the result of the miscast being Amnesia, I elected to let it through so as to get rid of the spell. A small fireball killed three of the right Dark Raiders and put a wound with Blaze on the paired weapon Medusa.
    Shooting started with a volley from the left reiters that put another wound on the Medusa, while to the right the Steam Tank and the lone Reiter failed to wound the kraken. The Mortar hit my corsairs killing six of them and the Handgunners couldn’t hit the Kraken thanks to the forest’s cover.



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    The bulk of the army charged: the middle Kraken went into the Handgunners, its mate failing to charge into the Imperial Guard. The wounded medusa charged into the Imperial Rangers and the second one fell upon the Electoral Cavalry inside the water feature. The Pegasus Prince charged the Arcane Engine, and the left Blades of Nabh went for the Reiters but failed. Finally, the Kraken to the right charged into the Steam Tank, and the Acolytes of Yema right behind took advantage of that to charge into the lone surviving Reiter.
    The corsairs now picked up the middle Spoils of War token and started their way back into my deployment zone. The Manticore maneuvered in a position where it would grant the Beastmaster rerolls to the kraken fighting the Steam Tank. The depleted dark raider unit stepped in front of the Flagellants to direct them away from said manticore, but while fiddling around with positioning I actually repositioned the manticore right into the flagellants’ overrun path! Oops!
    Magic… [Read More]
  • New

    For the second game of the day we would be facing team Portugal. These guys are actually very active players in France (but half of them are of Portuguese origin, hence the name). Last year we had the pleasure of facing them at the first Benelux Cup, which they won, and at LBM where we took our revenge and beat them! This time they had lined up five very competitive lists, and I got to play @Paulo with his Daemonic Legions.

    Despite all the rage about the Omen/Lemure/Hoarder/Hope Harvester combo, I find daemons quite fun to play against. Paulo had all the afore-mentioned tools, but he had also put his personal touch by bringing the Courtesan of Cibaresh:


    Paulo wrote:


    Characters:
    Omen of Savar, General, Dominion of Pride, Master Thaumaturgy, Iron Husk, Kaleidoscopic Flesh guiding, Living Shield
    Courtesan of Cibaresh, Adept Witchcraft, Brimstone Secretions, Kaleidoscopic Flesh, Chitinous scales, Darkhide

    Core:
    17 Lemures, FCG
    25 Succubi, FCG, Smothering coils

    Special:
    1 Hope Harvester
    6 Clawed Fiends, FCG, Unhinged Jaw
    5 Hoarders, FCG, Kaleidoscopic Flesh, Tarskin

    Aves:
    5 Furies, Kaleidoscopic Flesh



    So overall a list centered around four big blocks, all reasonably fast thanks to the army-wide swiftstride of the DL, plus a scouting Courtesan and some flying redirectors. The deployment this time was Counterthrust and the secondary objective King of the Hill. My opponent won the roll for sides, and declared the Water feature as his piece of terrain for the secondary, while I picked the hill to the left.
    His Omen picked Hand of Heaven, Smite the Unbeliever, Cleansing Fire and the DL Hereditary, while the Courtesan picked Raven’s Wing and the DL Hereditary. I took the same spells I’d end up taking all weekend long: Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls and Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue.
    Knowing that I’d get a considerable bonus for the first turn, and also that we’d be fighting for control of the western part of the board, I used my Dark Raiders to push the daemons back in deployment, and then dropped for first turn. As expected, the daemons deployed right across from my army.



    TURN 1 – Dread Elves
    With a Hope Harvester and Thaumaturgy magic with +2 to cast, I didn’t want to waste any time: the two Dark Raider units moved up and blocked the entire DL battle line, allowing my krakens/Manticore and the Pegasus to move up aggressively and take the hill for some rerollable charges on the following turn.A medusa and the Dark Acolytes started an outflanking maneuver on the weak flank, while the Yema Acolytes approached the courtesan for some magic:
    In the magic phase the Breath of Corruption was cast and resulted in a single wound on the Courtesan. The Grave Calls was dispelled, and the Ice and Fire dealt a single wound to the hoarders.





    TURN 1 – Daemonic Legion

    My opponent surprised me by opting not to charge the dark raider screens! This was a good call, as it would be chaffing me up as much as it did him. The units shuffled a bit, the Succubi moved back but generally the rest held their ground and the Omen joined the Lemures. Magic started with a Hand of Heaven on the nearest kraken failing to wound, then a casting of the Hereditary spell on the manticore was dispelled. A second attempt at the Kraken on the hill resulted in two wounds. Finally, the Raven’s Wing was dispelled.
    In the shooting phase the Harvester took aim at the Blades of Nabh closest to the Lemures, and managed a massive 28 hits! Thankfully, the to-hit penalties from range and cover were enough to limit the damage: the salvo only resulted in two dead witches!



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    I feared that the Blades wouldn’t survive a second volley from the Harvester, I declared some charges: First, the rightmost Dark Raiders had to get out of the way. So they charged the Fiends’ flank, opening the way for my rightmost Kraken and the nearby Blades to charge the Lemures. The Pegasus Prince and the wounded kraken spotted the Furies right in front of them and charged them: the Kraken had a 9+ overrun into the succubi. Finally, the Blades right behind the kraken also declared a long charge into the furies: if they made it in, they would use that combat as a stepping stone to get into the Fiends right behind. All of the chargers made it in except for the long Blade Charge. The second unit of Dark Raiders continued to block the Courtesan, and the Medusa to the right moved up to redirect the Hoarders away from the Lemure combat.The two acolyte units were now staring at the Daemon flanks.

    In magic I managed to cast Crippling Fatigue on the Lemure block on a high roll, which my opponent had to let through. He then dispelled the Grave Calls against the Courtesan, and the Breath of Corruption was cast but I totally forgot to use it!

    We started combat with the Omen/Lemure/Kraken/Blade fight: The blades went berserk against the Omen and dealt 6 wounds, instantly… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader!

    The past weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest and most well-runtournaments in the greaterregion, the Luxembourg Bash Masters. This was a 5-player, 5-game team tournament, run over an entire weekend, with 20 teams attending, for a total of 100 wargamers! Last year was the first time I made the 2,5h trip to Luxembourg for this event, and it was a great experience that you can read all about in this blog. Our team performed very well and we secured the first place, becoming the LBM champions!

    So returning to defend our title was something that we were looking forward to. And when I say “we” I mean my usual partners in miniature-related crime: @PrinceCharming and his Ogre Khans, @IHDarklord and his Undying Dynasties, @gregor and his Daemonic Legions, @Artur with his Highborn Elves and yours truly with my latest Dread Elf list.

    This year the opposition was of a very high level, as you can yourselves notice by the lists of the event (link). Between the teams we’d find two teams from the Netherlands, two German teams, two Italian teams, as well as some of the most well-known tournament players from France, arranged in three powerful teams. Belgium is always well represented due to the geographical proximity of Luxembourg, and this time we had no less than four teams! Add to that other French players, Team Norway,Team Switzerland and last but certainly not least Team Luxembourg and you have an amazing mix of players, gaming culture and ethnic diversity that guarantees a very enjoyable yet challenging weekend.

    First and foremost, I need to applaud the efforts of @kiri and his team of dedicated wargamers who organized this event. Every year it keeps getting better and better, with very good pre-tournament communication, a perfectly run event in itself with well-read and always available judges, top-notch bar/catering service and even a Saturday night social program that allowed us to chat a bit more with the other teams and also have a great time with our team mates. They always deliver great events, and they are the best guys to hang out with. One of the reasons why I am saying all that is because they are also one of the candidates for organizing the ETC 2020, and I think they would do an amazing job in running the event. So there, if you are one of the decision-makers about this, don’t hesitate a single minute to give them their vote!

    Back to the tournament itself now! As is customary, here is the list that I took to the event:

    Dread Elves


    So a list combining high mobility, and featuring some of my favorite models/units in the entire Dread Elf line: the Medusae, the Blades of Nabh and the flying characters. Before the tournament, and in order to accelerate the play speed of the list, I had decided to drop all shooting from the list. This is an army that requires very good movement and is quite unforgiving when it comes to positioning errors, but is also very rewarding when it works as designed! You can find more discussion about lists in my army-building thread (link).

    Our first opponents were some of the top contenders for this year’s team France for ETC, team Obelix (AKA “les enfants du Sud”), bringing together some of the best players in France. I had previously had a great and very tactical game against @benj at last year’s ETC, so I was very happy that we’d be playing them in the first round. The pairing process pitted me against Vincent @vince3310 , and his Infernal Dwarves.

    His list looked like this:

    Vince3310 wrote:

    Characters:
    -Prophet,Wizard Master (Pyromancy), Tablet of Ashuruk, Magical Heirloom
    -Vizier BSB, Icon of the Inferno, Talisman of the Void
    -3 x Hobgoblin Chieftain on Wolf, LA, Shield, Light Lance

    Core:
    -11 Citadel Guard, Musician, Flintlock Axes
    -2 x 10 Citadel Guard, Musician, Flintlock Axes
    -2 x 20 Orc Slaves

    Special:
    -3 x 5 Taurukh, Musician, Shields, Infernal Weapons

    Bound andBinders:
    - KadimTitan
    -4 Kadim Incarnates
    - Infernal Engine w/ Shrapnel Guns

    So in essence a pyro gunline with very good anti-push elements, good redirectors and resilient mobile scoring. The first round secondary objective was going to be Hold the Ground (predetermined and round-dependent) and we got randomly assigned a map-pack table designed for Counterthrust. My opponent picked the side of the table with a sizeable hill,… [Read More]
  • For the final round of the tournament, we would have to fight the Hot n’ Bash team! They are all tournament veterans, and frequent contenders for the ETC team qualification. They had lined up gunline EoS led by our dear friend and former teammate @Luthor Huss , fighty Orcs, minotaur-heavy Beast Herds and, finally, pyromancy-totting Infernal Dwarves!

    Team strategy required that I take on the chaotic stunties, allowing other, better matches for my teammates. Pierre @Kerathop , my opponent, had brought the following:



    So the dreaded Pyro/Infernal Icon combo, plus an Alchemy adept, decent shooting, and three good counter-push elements in the form of the Kadims, Tauruk and theEngine. Our deployment type was Dawn Attack and the objective was Secure Target.

    Going into the game, I knew that just avoiding and playing safe would probably see me take a medium loss, as the ranged output of the Pyromancy Prophet is simply too great, and my opponent had numerous scoring units with which to contest or claim the objectives during the last few turns.
    So I’d have to be aggressive in my approach, for two reasons: first to limit the number of turns that my heavy hitters would be exposed to pyromancy magic, and second to try and keep the ID away from the objective markers, while my scorers advanced towards them.

    To help in this regard I’d need as many magic tricks as possible, so I took Forest Embrace, Awaken the Beast, Chilling Howl, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit as my spells. The Alchemy Prophet chose the Quicksilver Lash and Word of Iron, and the Pyromancy Prophet got Haze of Magnesia, Fireball, Cascading Fire,Pyroclastic Flow and Scorching Salvo, for a grand total of 5 damage-dealing spells!

    My opponent won the roll for picking sides and he placed his objective marker 12” from his deployment zone, near the “gap” of my deployment. Then I spotted an opening: My right-hand corner (the one where I couldn’t deploy troops) had a point that respected the secure target requirements of being more than 12” from my deployment zone and at least 24” from my enemy’s marker. So I chose that spot, since I had a hill to protect my scorers until the last minute, as well as being able to keep all the scoring units packed instead of pitting a single isolated dryad unit against a unit of Flintlocks in the far flank.






    Then, for the first time after a long time playing Sylvan Elves, I elected to drop my entire army to begin he game! We ended up, predictably, with a very heavily weighed right flank: I didn’t mind the 18” gap in my deployment, since my units had the mobility to cover that distance and keep the enemy from outflanking me.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    The big eagle unit with the Prince flew forward and took cover behind the obstacle inthe middle of the board. With their height and footprint they’d provide a shield from pyromancy for the first ID turn, allowing my weaker units to advance unscathed. To the left, the Kestrels performed an outflanking maneuver, still staying out of sight/range of the pyromancy wizard. Finally, the right kestrels moved back (my opponent had done a great job of blocking every possible landing zone for them) , and the second unit of Eagles was shoved forward to provoke a Frenzy check on the Kadims. My scoring dryads started the long slog towards the secure target points, and both the Druid’s retinue and the BSB’s Dancers stayed behind the relative safety of the hill.

    In magic my opponent used his binding scroll on the Chilling Howl, then dispelled the Totemic Summon. This left me just enough dice to put Break the Spirit on the Orc Slaves right in front of the Eagles. Shooting destroyed the leftmost unit of wolf riders, and the ball was in the ID court!





    TURN 1 – Infernal Dwarves

    The Kadims passed their frenzy check, and no charges were declared. Dwarven movement was cautious, only the Kadims moving forward with the Tauruks close behind. My adversary took great care at preventing any of my flyers from flying over his lines, but this meant that he’d need to stay relatively static.

    In the magic phase I used the Binding Scroll on the Blaze Attribute, ensuring that I’d only be getting a single extra D3 S4 hits and not two per spell cast! Magic opened with a high roll of Haze of Magnesia on the Eagles with Prince, and I used all of my dispel dice to make sure that this didn’t go through: the 2d3 s4 and the rerolls to all future… [Read More]
  • After a good night’s sleep, we headed back to the venue on Sunday morning, where we would find our round 4 opponents waiting for us: They are tournament regulars in the region, and most of them ETC veterans with either team France or team Portugal (UN). They were lining up Carnosaur Saurians, Full monstrous inf/cav UD, Double Rock Aurochs OK and shooting-heavy SE with double treefathers and Elk lord. I got paired against the Undying Dynasties, a matchup that I considered relatively favorable due to my list’s mobility: Renato ( @Kermit ) had brought the following list:

    Kermit wrote:

    Death Cult Hierarch, Hierophant, wizard Adept, Evocation
    Death Cult Hierarch, General, Binding Scroll, wizard Master, Soul Conduit ,Divination
    2 x Tomb architect

    6vskeleton chariots, M, C, Legion charioteers
    2 x 5bskeleton scouts
    20 Skeletons, M, S, C, Banner of the Relentless Company

    2 x 6 Tomb Cataphracts, M, C
    8 Shabtis Archers , M, S, C, Rending Banner
    3 x 1 Sand Scorpion

    So a no-nonsense undying dynasties list based around the reliability of the 3+/5++ Cataphracts and the help of a very potent magic phase. The scenario was Spoils of War, and the deployment we rolled was once more Marching Columns. Going into the game I knew that I had an advantage when it came to objectives: my opponent had lots of scoring units, but all of them were his main line units. So if I played my cards right, I’d be able to face at least one less unit while it grabbed the spoils of war token and then maneuvered back into place.

    For magic my druid got Forest Embrace, Beast Awakens, Savage Fury, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit: with a lot of combat phases ahead of us, I figured that I’d be better off with a good mix of augment spells that would help tip the combat in my favor. My opponent opted for the Spectral Blades and Hasten the hour for his hierophant, while the Master took Scrying, Know thy Enemy, Stars Align and Unerring Strike.

    My adversary started deploying his units from his right corner towards the center, and once we had both placed 3 units took the opportunity to start the game, keeping two of his Scorpions in reserve. This allowed me to counter his deployment, keeping my scoring units far from his battle line and creating a fast but hard hitting center with the Kestrels, Prince, Dancers and the Eagles.






    TURN 1 – UD

    My opponent was cautious with his first turn of movement, maneuvering into a slightly oblique line, and unwilling to advance far: the placement of my kestrels meant that if he moved up too far he’d have to deal with flyers behind his lines. So instead, both of his cataphracts maneuvered to zone my kestrels and eagles, while the shabtis moved into a better shooting position.
    Magic started off with a boosted Hasten the hour on the left kestrels, which I dispelled with my dice, leaving the Stars Align to go off on the Shabtis: these took aim at my Eagles protecting the Prince, dealing a couple of wounds.



    TURN 1 – SE

    The first order of business for the sylvans was to put pressure on the UD, so as to force the Scorpions to appear near the enemy battleline and not behind my lines; to do so, I advanced the big line of Forest Eagles to block both cataphract units, and in a position where ignoring them would give the eagles a turn 2 charge on the hierophant bunker. This way a unit of cataphracts would have to charge, and risk a failed restrain pursuit test that would put the enemy scorers within combo-charge range from the bladedancers, kestrels and the Prince. The rightmost part of the army advanced to provide cover fire and claim the right-handside objective marker. I then used my second eagle unit and the small bladedancers to create no-go zones for tunneling scorpions.

    Magic was a complete failure this turn: the totemic summon was dispelled, but at least I kept some Veil Tokens for the next phase. Shooting proved to be more effective, killing a Shabti and putting two wounds to the scorpion in the enemy backline.






    TURN 2 – UD

    The leftmost Cataphracts charged into the eagles, and both Scorpions appeared: oneright next to the left-hand impassable feature, trying to flush out the kestrels hiding behind and preventing the chariots’ and shabtis’ advance, and another right behind the building to keep my second kestrel unit under control.
    Magic started with a high casting of Unerring Strike on my Eagle Prince: I let it through, and suffered two wounds for my troubles despite the 3+/4++ save. This allowed me to dispel the buffs on the Cataphracts, making them easier to deal with if I charged: the shooting bounced off the Prince’s armour harmlessly, which was a relief. In combat, the cataphracts dealt 5 wounds to the eagles, suffered one back and forced the birds to flee through my lines, where they’d rally on the following turn. Unfortunately, the Cataphracts’ restrain pursuit test was… [Read More]
  • So we’re now in the third game of the day, and now the weariness is setting in: we’ve been awake since 5am, who said that tournaments are not an endurance sport! What made things easier was the news that we’d get to play against our friends and neighbors from Luxembourg! We’ve met them a couple of times now on the battlefield, but we often travel to the same tournaments and it’s always a pleasure to get together and share a drink, exchanging war stories.

    They had lined up Vampires, Vermin Swarm, Sylvan Elves and Daemon Legions, and I got one of the more favorable matchups against @zlatanlux ‘s vampires. This time the scenario was Hold the Ground, and the deployment type was to be Frontline Clash once more.

    The vampiric list was one of the most magic-heavy lists I’d seen all tournament:


    Characters:
    Vampire Count of Lamia, General, Adept (Witchcraft), Commandment, LA, Paired Weapons,Destiny’s Call, Obsidian Rock, Touch of Greatness
    Necromancer Master (Evocation), Necromantic Staff, Talisman of the Void
    Necromancer Adept (Alchemy), Book of Arcane Mastery

    Core:
    32 Skeletons, Halberds, Full Command, Banner of Speed
    28 Skeletons, Spear
    23 Zombies
    20 Zombies
    2 x 2 Bat Swarms

    Special:
    Cadaver Wagon
    Court of the Damned, Lamia Blood Ties
    9 Ghasts, Champion
    1 x 2 Great Bats

    Varkolak


    So all in all a relatively compact vampire force with a good amount of redirectors, an unkillable anvil in the form of 9 Ghasts with 4++ regeneration save, and a magic phase with enough raising ability to ensure that both skeleton units would be 60-strong in no time!

    When doing the estimation for this match I hadn’t taken into account the secondary objective: hold the ground is one of the easiest ones for vampires due to their big, immoveable units. So I had to get creative about how to approach this game! One thing was for certain: engaging the big units to the front was a very bad idea!
    For magic,I got Forest Embrace, Beast Awakens, Insect Swarm, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit. My opponent got three times the hereditary spell, then went for Raven’sWing, Glory of Gold, Spectral Blades, Danse Macabre and Touch of the Reaper for his other spells.

    My opponent chose sides, and I then gave him the first drop: against vampires playing second is usually a good idea, especially when playing the central objective. So I was kind of relieved when he dropped his entire army to get the first turn. He went for a central deployment, weighing one flank with the Ghasts and the Varkolak. I responded by pushing both kestrels and the two eagle units up the flanks, keeping only the bladedancers in the middle, with the scorers a good distance away from any undead unit but still in a position where they’d be able to start contesting the objective from turn 3 onwards.






    TURN 1 –Vampire Covenant


    As is customary for the vampires, the entire army surged forward, the varkolak making use of his movement + vanguard to come close to my lines. In the magic phase I was reminded how difficult it is to contain a magic phase when your opponent channels 5 veil tokens per turn! My priority here was dispelling the movement spells, meaning that the hereditary spell was cast thrice in the 6” aura version: a good chunk of skeletons were raised, bringing the units to around 45-strong each.





    TURN 1 –Sylvan Elves

    While I knew I’d have to try and deal with the magic in an aggressive manner relatively fast, the previous magic phase made it clear that I should really make it a priority: all of the flying units moved up both flanks, within charge range ofthe zombie bunkers. The Eagle Prince spotted a 4” gap between the Ghasts and the big skeleton block, and landed there, with the necromancers’ unit in his sights. The slower parts of the army maneuvered, trying to keep a healthy distance from the Varkolak.
    The magic phase started with a Treesinging that put a forest right in front of the big skeleton block. The Insect Swarm was then dispelled, meaning that the Totemic Beast could be cast! Shooting was aimed at the Varkolak, putting three wounds on the beast despite its regeneration.






    TURN 2 –Vampire Covenant

    With a single wound remaining, the Varkolak didn’t dare declare a charge; the Cadaver Wagon solo-charged into the Eagle Prince, though, threatening to pin him in place long enough for the Ghasts and the Varkolak to come to the rescue. Both of the aforementioned vampire elites maneuvered to get clear charge lanes on my prince in the following turn. The big skeleton block moved up, and the other units consolidated their positions a bit, in an attempt to contain the flying threat.
    In the magic phase I used my Binding scroll on the Spectral Blades, since it was the only way that the cadaver wagon would be able to punch through the Prince’s defenses. I let through a couple more raises, which offset whatever losses the big block had suffered by marching through the… [Read More]
  • For the second round of the tournament we were to face the other half of the team Belgium, who had performed admirably in the first round! While it was a bit sad to have to play against our frequent sparring partners, this has proven to be inevitable for the past three years: their results are usually as good as ours, so we end up having a civil war of sorts!

    The Rieurs Sangliers (laughing boars in French) had lined up EoS, VC, KoE and Vermin Swarm, and it was the latter that I would have to play against. Their commanding general was @valmir , whom you may remember from an earlier battlereport against the Dread Elves: as is customary, he had stomped all over my elves with the help of his Dreadmills and Vermin Daemon. This was a game that I wasn’t too optimistic about, as I feel that Vermin often have all the tools at their disposal to deal with all kinds of elves. However, team strategy required me to get this relatively bad matchup so as for others to get more favorable ones.

    Here is what he had brought to the tournament:


    Valmir wrote:

    Characters:
    Vermin Daemon
    Chief, BSB, Scepter of Verminous Valour, Binding Scroll
    Magister, Adept (Thaumaturgy), Binding Scroll
    Rakachit Machinist, Scurrying Veil, Warp Pistols

    Core:
    2 x 36 Rats-at-arms, Full Command
    2 x 10 Footpads, musician
    2 x 20 Giant Rats

    Special:
    2 x 4 Jezzails
    2 x 12 Plague Disciples
    2 x 1 Meat Grinder
    2 x 1 Dreadmill


    So a lot of the usual suspects: Vermin Daemon, Dreadmills, Plague Disciples, but also his personal touch of the meat grinder R@A blocks and the Machinist for unlimited breath weapon shenanigans.
    We would be playing Breakthrough, and the deployment type was Marching Columns: this last piece of news was particularly good, since it meant that I might be able to put pressure on the parts of the vermin swarm army that would be left without support!

    Wealternated deployment for a while, since getting the right matchups was way more important than getting the first turn. Unfortunately, the rats had far more deployment drops, so once I had a vague idea of where the scoring units would be going I deployed my remaining regiments and got first turn.





    For spells I selected Forest Embrace, BeastAwakens, Swarm of Insects, Chilling Howl and Totemic Summon. Valmir took Handof Heaven and Smite the Unbeliever for his Magister and Unerring Strike, Fate’s Judgment, Awakened Swarm, Know thy Enemy and The Stars Align for his Vermin Daemon.

    Going into the game, I decided to play for the scenario by using my fast units to prevent the enemy scorers from penetrating into my deployment zone, creating pressure all over the board and then finally cheekily moving a unit of dryads inside the vermin swarm zone. Valmir countered this quite nicely by employing his dreadmills and disciples near his flanks, trying to funnel my forces to the center where his combat blocks and the Vermin Daemon were waiting.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    All of the flyers moved up behind terrain, within charge range of the scorers and keeping an eye out for the Dreadmills: if they peeked from out of cover I’d be able to charge them I return, hopefully ridding myself of that menace and gaining some more maneuver space. The archers stayed safely in the back, still within range for some light shooting.

    In the magic phase I was able to push through a Totemic Summon, and the beast appeared right next to the Jezzails! Its breath weapon only dealt a single wounds to the vermin shooters, though. The archers took pot shots at the Vermin Daemon and managed to inflict a wound!





    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm

    The vermin chose to go on the offensive: one unit of Giant Rats charged into the middle Forest Eagles. The second unit with the machinist moved up towards the right kestrels, within range for the machinist’s breath. Both units of Rats-at-arms moved up a bit, and the left Dreadmill had to backpedal to deal with the totemic summon. The flank forces shuffled to create bigger threat zones and prevent my birds from flying over their lines.

    In magic the Hand of Heaven was dispelled, allowing the Magister to curse the Forest Eagles in combat with Smite the Unbeliever, giving them -1 Strength. The worst part of shooting was avoided thanks to a combination of Hard Target and Cover penalties, and the rest underperformed: the Dreadmill failed to wound the Totemic Beast, the Jezzails wounded my Prince once and the Machinist only put awound on the kestrels with his breathweapon.

    Combat saw the eagles and rats fight to a stalemate, and the battle of the chaff raged on!





    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    I was now faced with a difficult decision: with the Totemic Summon ready to flank one unit of jezzails and overrun into the other, I figured that the safest place to be with my fast units was in combat. The two Rat-at-Arms units were close enough to the Kestrels, and the support units… [Read More]
  • Myreille Strategic Tournament: A team tournament in Lille

    Greetings, one and all!
    It has been too long, but the 2019 tournament season has started at last! For yours truly and the rest of the team Belgium our first stop was to be the Myreille Strategic Team tournament in nearby Lille, France. Those of you who have followed this blog in the past few years will remember that name,since it is a tournament that we’ve been attending since its conception in2017. Tanguy ( @Tartignolle ) is the main driving force of the event, and he never fails to deliver a very enjoyable weekend: an array of great opponents from the north of France, Belgium and Luxembourg, getting together to share quality beer, local food -and local liquor- in the backdrop of competitive games of T9A!

    This year the event was bigger than ever: a total of 14 teams of 4 players managed to make it, with another 6 in a waiting list! This is not surprising, given the quality of the event and the hospitality of our friends from Lille. Our team comprised of @gregor with his Daemonic Legions, @PrinceCharming with his Ogre Khans, the Undying Dynasties of @IHDarklord and, finally, my Tolkein-themed Sylvan Elves. Why the mention of dear old J.R.R. , you ask? Well, because I was looking for an excuse to bring as many Forest Eagles as possible and “the Eagles are coming!” was the best catchphrase I could think of! ;)

    Here is the list that I brought:


    SmithF wrote:

    HEROES:
    Sylvan Prince on Eagle King, LA, Shield, Cloak, Sylvan Lance, Death Cheater, Titanic Might
    Bladedancer Chieftain BSB, Spear, Hunter's Honour, Aether Icon
    Druid Master (Shamanism), Sylvan Bow, Binding Scroll, Magical Heirloom

    CORE:
    2 x 8 Dryads
    15 Sylvan Archers, musician
    16 Sylvan Archers, musician

    SPECIAL:
    13 Bladedancers, Champion, Standard, Aether Icon
    7 Bladedancers
    2 x 4 Kestrel Knights (Hard Target/Shield), Champion
    2 x 5 Forest Eagles

    So overall a good mix of close combat power and maneuverability, with a splash of shooting and magic to keep my opponents relatively honest. One of my goals was to test whether the SE without Forest Spirits are as vulnerable to magic and autohits as the internet makes them out to be.
    The tournament field contained all kinds of lists, with all of the 16 armies being represented: about half of the lists had at least a Pyromancy or a Divination master, with a handful bringing other magic missile-heavy paths such as Thaumaturgy.
    In my quest to prove that Sylvans can face such opposition, the forest Eagles were my secret weapon.

    For our first game we were paired against a team of local players, hastily put together after several of the initial team members dropped out for various reasons. They were all great guys, and I got to play their Dwarven Holds general: he was returning to the hobby after an 8-month hiatus, and had brought a beautiful army, entirely painted with non-metallic metal details. His list was as follows:

    HEROES:
    Dwarf King on Warthrone, Shield, Rune of Might, Rune of Destruction, Rune ofReturning, Holdstone
    Thane BSB, Shield, 3x Rune of Lightning
    Runic Smith, Rune of Dragon’s Breath, 3 Runic Spells
    Anvil of Power

    CORE:
    29 Greybeards,Shields, Full Command, Runic Banner of Swiftness
    10 Handgunners,Shields, Musician
    12 Warriors, Shields, Vanguard

    SPECIAL:
    21 Seekers, Vanguard, Full Command
    7 Hold Guardians, Full Command
    2 x 1 Attack Copter
    1 Vengeance Seeker

    So a rather aggressive dwarven list, not unlike the one that I played last year.With four potential vanguards, it could pose some problems to the more static parts of my army. The scenario we got was Capture the Flags, and deployment was Frontline Clash.

    After a couple of drops (gyrocopters) my adversary went for a full drop, and to my surprise he decided to castle in one of the corners, using a piece of impassable terrain to hide his Anvil. In response, I put my dryads far away from danger, both units of Archers right across the Seekers and loaded up the middle with the Dancers, kestrels and Eagles.






    TURN 1

    The dwarves inched forward cautiously, getting in range for shooting with the gyrocopters; these failed to hit my kestrels thanks to the Hard Target rule. Magic saw the Seekers get the rune of Gleaming cast on them.
    The sylvans were a bit more aggressive: they spotted the flank of the left gyrocopter and declared charges on it, but failed to connect. The middle force moved up to threaten the dwarven advance, careful to stay outside of the charge range of the seekers. The Eagle King moved aggressively past the unbreakable dwarves, with several charge possibilities for the following turn. In the magic phase I was able to cast a Totemic Summon, and the Totemic Beast appeared right behind the dwarven lines. Its breath weapon caused two wounds to the vengeance seeker,while the archers dealt a couple of wounds to the seekers.





    TURN 2
    [Read More]
  • So after two wins, I found myself on table 2, against a familiar army: those of you who have been following these battle reports will remember Yann’s @Shizuu UD from the last game of the Challenge, where he beat me after a very exciting game!

    This time around he had changed his list, mainly motivated by modelling reasons: having completed two Winged Reapers, he managed to get them in the list! Thankfully for me, that required sacrificing the Divination master wizard, much to my dragon’s relief!

    Yann’s list was as follows:


    Shizuu wrote:

    240 –Nomarch, General, Skeleton Chariot, Death Mask of Teput, Heavy Armor, Shield
    250 - Death Cult Hierarch, Wizard Adept, Talisman of the Void, Divination
    280 - Death Cult Hierarch, Hierophant, Wizard Adept, Book of Arcane Mastery, Cosmology

    170 - 20 Skeletons, Spears, M
    170 - 20 Skeletons, Spears, M
    130 - 5 Skeletons Scouts
    130 - 5 Skeletons Scouts
    550 - 5 Skeleton Chariots, FCG, Legion Charioteers, Rending Banner

    508 - 7 Shabti Archers, M
    508 - 7 Shabti Archers, M
    260 - 3 Sand Stalkers

    465 - 1 Battle Sphinx
    465 - 1 Battle Sphinx
    370 - 2 Tomb Reapers, Paired Weapons


    So a list with the usual suspects: double sphinx, double shabti archers, a big skeleton chariot block and a smattering of smaller units but thankfully no Sand Scorpions: With no entombed units to speak of, I only had to worry about what was right across of my army!
    We got to play Flank Attack and Spoils of war, and after a couple of alternate drops I opted for a full deployment in order to get the advantage in the scenario: Spoils of War often depends on how well you can zone the enemy away from the spoils tokens, and whoever gets first turn usually has a big head start in that sub-game.

    For magic, I chose Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls and Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue, while the Hierarchs took Altered Sight/Perception of Strength and Know thy Enemy/Stars Align, for an augment-centered magic phase.

    With the certainty of getting first turn, I focused on building independent teams for each of the spoils of war tokens: the top right, a unit of Dread Legionnaires, along with the Dread Knights and a Medusa, squaring off against the Winged reapers and a unit of skeletons. On my left, the Dancers of Yema and the Yema Acolytes went for the spoils of war token in the ruins, opposite some shabti archers and the big chariot block. And, finally, in the middle the three monsters and a unit of legionnaires were preparing to take on the double sphinxes and the rest of the UD army.








    TURN 1 –Dread Elves

    My adversary was at a disadvantage from the get-go here, since a big piece of impassable terrain was greatly limiting the sphinxes’ maneuverability. I tried to make the most out of it, by pushing my Dark Raiders in a single long file, blocking the entire UD battleline for a turn. This allowed my scoring units and hard hitters to claim the no man’s land, threatening the UD advance with countercharges.
    To the top I was more reluctant to commit, since two unscathed Winged Reapers could do some serious damage on my Dread Legionnaires: in the magic phase I targeted the former with an Ice and Fire, managing an impressive four wounds on the unit, and gaining the upper hand in that partof the table. I also managed to debuff the same unit with Deceptive Glamour,making charging my Dread Legionnaires an even worse idea.




    TURN 1 – Undying Dynasties

    My adversary retaliated by sending his fast cavalry into mine (rear and flankcharges respectively), a move that allowed him to shuffle the rest of his battle line into better positions. The Sphinxes moved on either side of the impassable terrain, the right one exposing its flank to protect the hierophant from a second turn dragon charge. The right shabtis advanced towards my dancers of yema, electing not to charge through the ruins on their own. Up top the now lone winged reaper retreated, leaving the spoils token unprotected.

    In the magic phase I had to let the Altered Sight off into the rightmost Shabtis, but in return I dispelled Perception of Strength on the charging horsemen and Stars align failed to cast. The ensuing shooting phase only managed a couple of wounds on the Dancers of Yema, the Krakens’ hide proving too tough for the Shabtis’ arrows.
    In combat my leftmost dark raider unit (the one doing the conga) overperformed by a lot, killing a single charging horseman for no casualties back. Losing combat by 2,they passed their Break Test and reformed to face the undead horsemen. Their mates were not that lucky and fled from their assailants, ending up dangerously close to the table edge. The Skeleton cavalry performed a reform to block my spears’advance, but in the process they gave me an opening…





    TURN 2 –Dread Elves

    To explain this I’d better use pictures:



    I saw the opportunity to get rid of multiple enemy… [Read More]