SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 76

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

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  • GAME 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The win put me in the big boys’ league, and I’d find myself playing against ETC teammate and KoE veteran Loick. We had played once before last year, in a game was full of freak occurences that ended in a big win for me.

    This time he was bringing a more optimized list, (no more Forlorn nonsense!) which packed quite a punch:


    Logick wrote:

    Token of the King

    HEROES:

    Duke on barded warhorse, questing vow, virtue of audacity, crusader helm, Divine Icon, GW, shield

    Paladin BSB, grail vow, barded warhorse, hardened shield, lance,

    Damsel Mistress, barded warhorse, 4 spells (shamanism), ring of fire, book of arcane power


    CORE:

    10 Knights of the Realm, Standard, Musician

    3 x 5 Aspirants


    SPECIAL:

    8 Grail Knights, Full Command, Stalker’s Standard

    5 Mounted Yeomen

    2 x 10 Brigands

    2 x Trebuchet




    We were to play frontline clash and Hold the Centre, which is at least better than breakthrough against KoE! Going into the game, I knew that I’d have to silence the trebs fast enough so that the treefathers could come out and play... but even then the Realm Knight unit is practically untouchable by the treefathers thanks to the Audacity/Questing combo on the Duke.




    We traded deployment drops for a while, then I opted to grab the first turn. We ended up with a heavily weighted left flank for him, and a central deployment for me. I had to put one of the trees close to his units, so as to pull the lord to that flank instead of the centre, where he’d be able to cause an enormous amount of trouble.

    For magic I got Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Howling Wind and Totemic Summon on my Druid, while the Matriarchgot Master of Stone and Healing Waters. The Damsel rolled Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Howling wind and Break the Spirit (no doubles meant no option for totemic summon!).


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    Both Kestrels found blind spots in the enemy deployment and moved up: the ones on the left had a clear charge path for the trebuchets while on the right a lot of juicy flank charges were opened up. On the left I advanced cautiously with the dancers and treefather: sometimes the best way to keep someone away is to just threaten his advance path. Up the middle the other dancers and dryads got all snuggly in the forest, and the archers turned –for lack of better target- to deal with the scouting brigands.

    Magic was largely ineffective, only the insect swarm went through on the top brigands, killing enough to force a panic: the peasants held their ground though. Shooting caused 4 casualties on the rightmost brigands, but they also refused to panic.


    TURN 1 – KoE


    My Kestrel antics began to upset the enemy lines: the damsel left her unit to be able to target the left fliers, while the knights all angled themselves for the upcoming charges. The two big blocks advanced a bit but still stayed a healthy 16-17 inches away from my bladedancers.

    In the magic phase I had to let the Insect Swarm through into the left Kestrels and it dealt a massive 4 unsaved wounds. I then stopped the fireball into them.

    Shooting started with two direct trebuchet hits on my sylvan archers: nine died and the rest failed their panic and fled, landing 1 inch away from the table edge. The brigands’ shooting was largely ineffective.




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    The trebuchets had single handedly silenced my long-range threat in one turn: the kestrels went on the offensive, charging the trebuchet on the left and the aspirant knights on the right. The archers failed their rally check, legging it and giving my opponent a 500+ point present!

    Now that at least one warmachine was silenced, the spearelves could come out and play. The bulk of my army advanced slightly, always staying 20-something inches away from the big blocks.

    In the magic phase I started off with a ring of fire on the lone damsel, which was promptly dispelled. An insect swarm went through on her and caused a single wound. Finally, I got a good roll for the Totemic Beast and managed to bring it next to the second trebuchet. Its Breath weapon would fail to wound the damsel, but it was in a perfect place for the following turn.

    The Treefather’s roots panicked the brigands up top: they’d fail their rally check on the following turn and flee off the table.

    In combat the lone kestrel rider did well and broke the trebuchet, reforming to face the second one. The right kestrel knights went to town onthe aspirants, killing 4 of them for no casualties back. Their positioning meant that I was able to pursue into the flank of the second unit of aspirants, although I only managed to get one kestrel in contact.


    TURN 2 – KoE


    With Kestrels and Totemic Beast all threatening his backline, my opponent had to turn his realm knights around and join the damsel once more. The grail knights advanced a bit reluctantly once more.

    In the magic phase I had to stop the Ring of Fire as… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear readers


    Last weekend I went to the Conquest tournament in Dendermonde, Belgium. It is the annual tournament of the Knights of Bayard, run by two of my former ETC teammates @kiwii @Timon and it gathers a good crowd! This year 26 people showed up, including ETC players from Luxembourg, Belgium as well as very good local tournament players.
    The way the tournament was set up, we'd have 2,5h per battle; while this is enough for some, I thought that I wouldn't have enough time for pictures. So we go back to diagrams made on UB2! (they may be a bit off, I'll let you know in the text if that's the case)


    The list I brought was tweaked compared to the last tournament:



    SmithF wrote:


    HEROES:

    Dryad Matriarch, general, 2 spells Druidism
    Druid Master, 4 spells Shamanism, Ring of Fire
    Chieftain, Bladedancer Kindred, BSB, Spear of Cadaron

    CORE:
    20 Sylvan Archers, musician
    27 Forest Guard, Full Command, Gleaming Icon
    8 Dryads, Skirmish

    FLEET OF FOOT:
    3 Kestrel Knights, light armour
    3 Kestrel Knights, light armour
    8 Bladedancers
    12 Bladedancers, Champion, Standard

    FOREST GIANTS:
    Treefather
    Treefather
    Game 1 vs Daemonic Legions


    I got to play against Sebastien, one of the Tour d’Ebene players (the biggest gaming club in Belgium, to my knowledge). He brought MSU polytheist daemons:


    Seb wrote:




    We got Frontline Clash and as a secondary objective we got Secure Target. I used my objective marker to divide his army, placing it very far from its counterpart: my opponent would have to divide his forces to claim the objective.


    For magic, my Druid got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Savage Fury, while the Matriarch got Healing Waters and Master of Stone. My opponent rolled The Wheel Turns, Will o’ the Wisp and Twisted Effigy for his spells.


    After alternating deployments for a while, my adversary dropped everything to get the first turn. The end result was two clusters of deamons near each of the objective markers, each protected by a blight fly unit. I knew right off the bat that engaging the Flies was to be avoided as long as they were at full strength, so my plan was to weaken them for the first few turns. I loaded my left flank, keeping the treefathers centrally and kestrels ready to fly over the enemy lines on turn 1.




    My opponent won the roll for the first turn, and battle was joined.


    TURN 1 – Daemonic Legions

    The enemy army advanced rather cautiously across the table, my treefather and bladedancers effectively zoning the blight flies. In magic I let go the Wheel Turns and stopped will ‘o the wisp and twisted effigy.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    On the left side the Kestrels found a blind spot where they could land, threaten the enemy scorers and be safe from enemy charges due to the huge footprint of the blight flies. Their counterparts on the right outflanked the hellhounds, ready for a turn 2 charge. In the middle, the two treefathers and the small bladedancers angled themselves to deter any fly moves over the building and right into my back yard by the flies.

    In the magic phase the ring of fire was stopped, but the insect swarm managed to deal a couple of wounds on the leftmost blight flies. Then, I put Break the Spirit on the right flies, so as to be sure they wouldn’t move aggressively. Shooting only managed a single wound on the left hellhounds.




    TURN 2 – Daemonic Legions

    My opponent briefly considered combo-charging the right treefather with both hellhounds (the picture is wrong, one of them could get into the flank), but some quick math and the realization that he’d be able to thunderstomp them deterred him. Disaster struck in remaining moves, as unit after unit of daemons failed their Ld7/ Ld8 march tests and were reduced to a crawl reminiscent of 6th edition Warhammer. One unit of Furies flew right in front of my archers, threatening my mage, while on the right flank the hellhounds moved up aggressively, finding blind corners where neither treefather nor bladedancer could touch them.

    The magic phase proved to be uneventful, since a combination of channel and good rolls for dispel shut down the entire phase.


    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    The only charge I had this turn was the Kestrels into the rear of the rightmost Hellhound unit: this would give my bladedancers time to move up and support the kestrels on my turn 3. I needed to stop the [Read More]
  • GAME 3 - Highborn Elves


    For the last game I got to face Tom and his Highborn Elves. Mind you, this game was a long time ago and I don’t have pictures of it, so the list might be a bit off.




    HEROES:
    Prince, Lion Guard, Lion Chariot, GW, Bluffer’s Helm, Sprout of Rebirth, Divine Icon
    Prince, Lion Guard, Lion Chariot, GW, Crown of Scorn, Daemonhunter Helm, Dusk Stone
    CORE:
    2x 17 Archers, musician
    2x 5 Highborn Lancers
    SPECIAL:
    2 x 5 Swordmasters
    7 Knights of Ryma, Full Command, Aether Icon
    10 Queensguard
    Skysloop
    ANCIENT ALLIES:
    Fire Phoenix
    Great Eagle


    We played flank attack, with Capture the flags as a secondary objective.

    The fact that the enemy list didn't have any magic and the small scoring units made me optimistic about the result. The fact that I have nothing to threaten the two chariot princes was more alarming, though. Here’s a picture of the deployment (the only one I’ve got, actually).




    EARLY GAME:

    I stalled the princes by deploying deep in the centre (where I had the biggest deployment zone) and pushed the flanks (where my zones were smaller). During the first two turns I focused my shooting on the small swordmasters, managing to kill one unit and panic the other. The Dancers to the left trapped the highborn lancers and forced them to charge (no musician so no way to get away), getting another flag for me. To the right, I pushed my dancer unit aggressively, supported by kestrels.


    MID GAME:



    Over the course of three turns, I had to sacrifice a unit of Kestrels, the Briar Maidens and the Dryads to keep the Lion princes honest. In return, I managed to kill both units of Lancers, get an overrun on the Ryma Knights with the big Bladedancers and panic the Queensguard with a root attack.

    Disaster struck on turn 4: having dealt with the Ryma Knights, the bladedancers were ready to pounce on the 17-strong archer unit next to the hill. However, a combination of their shooting and the stand and shoot reaction managed to kill all 11 Bladedancers, leaving my BSB to fend off for himself. He went into the archer block all alone, failed to even wound once and got cut down by archers for his trouble!


    LATE GAME:


    In the late game I'd get the phoenix, the second small swordmasters and the queensguard, while my opponent would get a treefather, half of the spearelves and the Kestrels (again, all sacrificed to the Lion Princes).

    The end result was a draw, but I did manage to preserve all of my scoring units, thus getting the secondary objective: 13-7 win for the Sylvan Elves!

    AFTERMATH:


    It is no secret that sylvan Elves hate Lion Chariot princes. Short of a lucky Crush attack, there’s next to nothing one can do to kill the damned thing, all the while having to sacrifice heaps of units to keep them at bay. My opponent’s list was far from optimized, but the two princes caused enormous amounts of trouble. However, the MVP should go to the archers: they single-handedly dealt with the BD and BSB, for a 1000+ point swing. That’s my chance at a podium finish right there!

    When the dust settled, I had scored a total of 40/60 battle points. With so many good players in the tournament and a total of around 40 players, not a lot of the games ended in a 20-0, which meant that I was 6th for battle scores. The soft scores (painting/sports) and a nomination for best painted catapulted me all the way up to 4th place, for a very respectable finish!


    Overall, the tournament was a very positive experience: great terrain/themed tables, smoothly run event, no big rules issues, and a high quality of painting for the most part! All players commented on the lack of time for the second round, but it was a minor hiccup. All in all, great job by the Connectr’ team, I’ll definitely be back next year for the 17th edition!

    As far as the list is concerned, this tourney helped me decide on some more changes: More magic was definitely welcome, but I lacked a second magic missile to make sure that I have some long-range potential. The small Heath Riders are also something that I'll be leaving home, since they can be easily killed and rarely participate in the battle in any meaningful way other than objectives. But more on that in the next installment, recounting my adventures at the Conquest tournament!

    Take care,

    Smith [Read More]
  • Game 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    So after a very good start, I knew I’d probably get to face one of the top players in the tourney; for a couple of minutes this opponent was none other than T9A’s Frederick, but then the organizers recalculated and I ended up fighting Team Germany’s Yannick and his peasant KoE list. For those of you with good memories, I had faced Yannick’s EoS in last year’s Herford tournament; he is a great guy to play against, and a very competent general, so I was looking forward to our match.

    The list he brought is unconventional to say the least:


    HEROES:
    Duke, virtue of humility, crown of autocracy
    Duke, virtue of humility, Wizard’s Hood
    Damsel, wizard master,4 spells Divination, Book of Arcane Power, Ring of Fire
    CORE:
    57 Peasant Levy, spears, Full Command
    57 Peasant Levy, spears, Full Command
    56 Peasant Levy, spears, Full Command, War Banner
    30 Peasant Bowmen, Musician
    30 Peasant Bowmen, Musician

    SPECIAL:
    12 Brigands
    2x Sacred reliquary
    2 x Trebuchets

    To some of you it may not be news, but I certainly didn’t see this list coming!


    We got Frontline Clash and Secure target as objective.


    Looking at my opponent’s army, I figured one thing: If I held back, I’d get shot to pieces. So the plan was to engage as fast as possible, and use the Treefathers to grind the spear blocks over multiple turns.


    I used my objective to force my opponent to deploy on the side of the board with a big impassable terrain cutting his zone in half: this way he wouldn’t be able to concentrate fire on my units, and potentially if he made the mistake of advancing a single unit on its own up my flank I’d be able to catch it unaware out of the BSB/general bubble.


    Early Game:





    I got the first turn, and used it to move up full speed ahead with the Treefathers, towards his central block. The briar maidens, archers and heath riders held back a good distance away from his archers, while the big dancers and Forest Guard began the long slog towards the enemy lines. The kestrels moved up on the (empty) left flank in an effort to disrupt the enemy lines and attract the attention of magic away from the treefathers.

    My plan worked, since the Damsel’s bunker had to turn around and deal with the Kestrels instead of throwing spells at the treefathers. One trebuchet misfired and was taken out of the game, while the other kept missing my Forest Guard.


    Mid Game:


    Around turn 3 I took the plunge and threw my two Treefathers and the small unit of Bladedancers plus BSB into the front of the middle Spear unit. The unit had previously been augmented by Know thy Enemy (+2 ws/initiative) but I felt confident that with a combination of magic and the 3+ ward would keep my dancers alive.

    A series of subpar rolls on my part and great ward saves for my opponent meant that I still lost 3 dancers to the enemy attacks, but the problems came on the following turn: with the trees in combat, the only spell that I minded was Know thy Enemy, since it would limit my dancers’ chances of survival. After having kept my 6 dice to dispel it, my opponent proceeded to get a triple six roll on 4 dice, and I failed miserably to dispel. To add to the insult, the BSB failed to wound with his 4 attacks, meaning that the dancers went from being hit on a 6+ to being hit on a 4+…


    To cut a long story short, the dancers died but the BSB held on, while the trees kept stomping on peasants. Over the following turns the trees would get flanked by the other 2 spearmen, but druidism magic kept them safe from harm while they stomped the middle unit.

    In the meanwhile, the Kestrels got shot to below 25% and the Forest Guard lost a fight they probably shouldn’t have (they took 11 wounds out of 20 peasant attacks hitting on 5s and wounding on 4s) and legged it, but rallied far away from action.


    Late Game:

    Due to a delay in starting the second round, the tournament organizers had to cut the second round short. So we were notified after having played one hour and a half that we needed to wrap up our last turn. This happened at the end of my turn 4, which meant that my opponent got to play his last turn. Bad news for me, since I had the big bladedancer unit lined up for a charge and my scorers ready to pounce on the objective.

    In the end, with magic and shooting he managed to get the Forest Guard below half strength, tie the objectives and it all boiled down to the final combat phase. By now the middle peasants were around 25- strong, but despite the tree’s attacks and stomps I failed to drop them below Steadfast level. All of the units in the combat against the trees held, and the game ended two turns too short.


    Aftermath:



    In this game I got ZERO victory points, not for a lack of trying! My opponent took a unit of kestrels, a unit of dancers, half the forest guard and half another unit of kestrels, meaning he won 13 – 7.


    The game was an enjoyable one, but I cannot help but feel that it would have been a totally… [Read More]
  • The 16th Conflict Tournament – A short battle report.


    Greetings, dear readers.


    There have been several instances during my time in the hobby that the call of gaming was too strong to ignore, despite my conscience saying otherwise. This was the case a couple of months back, when I was persuaded to attend Connectr’ team’s annual tournament in Gelrode, Belgium.

    These guys have been one of the most active T9A communities in Belgium, and they are known for organizing tighly run, enjoyable tournaments. It was no surprise that their event this year was the biggest yet T9A event in Belgium, with more than 60 players signed in. In the end, around 40 made the trip all the way to Gelrode (30 minutes drive from Brussels, which is practically half across Belgium).


    For this tournament I didn’t quite have the time to paint or prepare, so I went with what my gut told me to; I took the list I played at the Lille tournament, then modified it according to my post-tourney observations.

    Back then, the thing that had to go was mainly the Shapeshifter BSB, and I had noticed that I needed some more magic to make the phase a bit more consistent. With that in mind, I came up with the following:


    SmithF wrote:


    CHARACTERS:
    Dryad Matriarch, general, 2 spells (Druidism)
    Bladedancer BSB, Spear of Cadaron
    CORE:
    16 Archers, musician
    27 Forest Guard, full command, Gleaming Icon
    8 Dryads, skirmish
    5 Heath Riders (scoring)
    FLEET OF FOOT
    13 Bladedancers, Champion, Standard, Banner of Speed
    8 Bladedancers
    2 x 3 Kestrel Knights, Light Armour
    5 Briar Maidens, Champion
    FOREST GIANTS
    2 x Treefather


    So I had to lose the Pathfinders so as to get points for the Briar Maiden wizard conclave, then I boosted some more the Bladedancers to make them into a retinue for the BSB. Since I had a big problem with scoring in Lille, I dug out the scoring Heath Riders. Finally, the Wild Huntsmen sat at the bench for once, leaving their place to a second unit of kestrels.


    It has been a while since the games happened, and I only have few pictures per game, so I’ll make this short:


    GAME 1 – Beast Herds


    This game was against Hannes, a tournament regular with OnG: this time he had brought a rather interesting Beast Herd army:


    Hannes wrote:


    HEROES:
    Beastlord on Razortusk Chariot, 1+/4++ save, Bluffer’s Helm, Great Weapon
    Minotaur BSB, Flail, Aaghor’s thingy, Totem bearer
    Centaur Chieftain, Impaler, Looted Booze
    CORE:
    2 x 10 Ambushing Wildhorns, paired weapons, throwing weapons, musician
    2 x 10 Ambushing Wildhorns, throwing weapons, musician
    2 x 10 Mongrel Raiders scouts
    SPECIAL:
    3 x Raider Chariot
    1 x Razortusk Chariot
    6 Minotaurs, paired weapons, Full Command, Aether Icon
    5 Minotaurs, paired weapons, champion, standard
    Jabberwock



    So all in all a list with lots of chariots ignoring DT for forests, an unkillable chariot lord and ambushers throwing a ton of axes on turn 1. The saving grace for my army was that the opposition was extremely magic-lite.


    We got Hold the Ground and Refused Flank Deployment, and after a couple of exchanged drops my opponent dropped everything to force me to play first. The terrain heavily dictated the way I played, since the middle was occupied by a big piece of impassable terrain. A mixed blessing, since it would create bottlenecks forcing me to fight the beasts in a straight fight. In the end, I opted for rather aggressive vanguards for both Kestrels, while the Treefathers stayed close to the centre, able to move up on either side of the impassable piece depending on what the Chariot Lord did.


    Early Game:




    Knowing I’d get the first turn, I had the opportunity to move up the Kestrels right in front of the mongrel raider screen, in a position where his Minotaurs with BSB got blocked. In the following turn the mongrels and wildhorns charged in, and thus began a long fight between them that would eventually end in a win for my birdies.

    Covered by the birds’ antics, my big dancers, treefather and Forest Guard moved up aggressively, ready to engage the BSB’s minotaurs. The archers killed a Raider Chariot, while the Briar Maidens put a couple of wounds on the Jabberwock. When the Ambushers arrived, a well placed volley by the archers caused a chain panic reaction that sent two of them fleeing off the board. The third got taken care of by the rightmost Treefather.

    The right flank advanced very cautiously, with the small bladedancers tempting the Chariot Lord to charge them inside a forest. He did, and they stuck in combat for a couple of rounds. I then failed my steadfast and fled off the table.




    Late Game:

    The rightmost treefather was awaiting the Beastlord inside the forest when he came back from pursuit, and he took the charge:after a failed Fear test (the BSB was too far away) the tree managed to not only survive, but also put 4 wounds on the lord with a… [Read More]
  • Game 5


    After the considerable morale boost of actually winning a game, I was ready for the last round. Having played the other top 5 teams so far, we had a final challenging opponent team to face: the second Belgian delegation, featuring the crème de la creme of the Tour D’Ebene gaming club (the biggest gaming club in Belgium, to my knowledge).

    Francois had sworn off the booze for this last game, so he managed to get pretty good pairings for us :D : Our vermin swarm against Empire of Sonnstahl, our Vampire Covenant against Vermin Swarm, the Daemons against Dwarven Holds and, finally, myself against Vampire Covenant.


    Edouard, the Vampire player, is an experienced VC general. Back in early 9th age, we had faced each other in a tournament, where we ended up with a draw after I played like a muppet and wouldn’t engage his big units nor the varkolaks. Mind you, I was running a Shapeshifter and a Wild Huntsman Prince, so I really don’t know what I was thinking... Bottom line, he knows his stuff and had given me a serious headache last time we played.


    His list was as follows:


    Edouard wrote:


    An interesting approach, with four fast hard hitters, a couple of anvils and a healthy amount of magic to keep all that alive. The game is now quite hazy (it has been a month!) so I’ll be brief and let the photos do the talking.

    Our scenario was Hold the Centre and the deployment was counterthrust. Against vampires the Centre scenario is not ideal, but my strategy was to move the trees aggressively towards the enemy, pin the scorers down away from the objective while my fast units and the shooting deal with the flankers.


    The counterthrust deployment helped a lot: I got the first drop, and secured the 18” central deployment. The final deployment saw the vampires pushed into their deployment zone (12”) and a couple of march moves away from the central objective. As a plus, the amount of redirectors Edouard had brought meant that I also managed to secure the first turn with a +3 advantage.





    For spells, I got Throne, Regrowth and Master of Stone, while my opponent got the entire Evocation path more or less.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    With the first turn secure, I had been quite aggressive in my vanguards and scouting. The kestrels moved up to threaten the enemy mage bunker (while it was still small) and the redirectors. In the middle, the treefather advanced to hinder the approach of the undead infanty, while to the right the Wild Huntsmen, Bladedancers and Treefather set a trap for the varkolak, while making sure that he wouldn’t be able to rush past them and behind my lines.


    Magic started with a dispelled Throne, which allowed me to hit the Wraiths with the master of stone; one wraith died to the magic missile. Shooting was more effective: the left treefather and a unit of Sylvan archers killed a Vampire Spawn, while the other two archer units, the Treefather to the right and the pathfinders dealt two wounds to the varkolak.





    TURN 1 – Vampire Counts


    After much deliberation, my opponent took the bladedancer bait: it is true that they were too far away from the BSB, so I’d be only getting one steadfast Ld test. The Vampire spawn to the right also went in, hoping to whittle down the bladedancers fast enough. The middle of the vampire army advanced in a coherent manner, with the second unit of vampire spawn performing a flanking maneuver to my left.


    In the magic phase the ring of fire killed five dryads, and then I failed to dispel the Whispers of the Veil on the Blaedancers in combat. A wraith also rose from the grave.

    In combat, the dancers went for the 3+ ward save, and they did manage some wounds on the Vampire Spawn. They lost 3 of their number to the enemy attacks, but held their ground on a Ld8 steadfast!


    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    The Treefather to the right and the Wild Huntsmen fell on both flanks of the bladedancer combat, while the middle Treefather charged the Barrow Guard, to keep them from advancing on top of the objective. The kestrels maneuvered some more, as did the shooting part of the army. The dryads moved up to be in range for some toxic spore shooting.


    Magic was uneventful, but shooting killed yet another Vampire Spawn to the left, and four wraiths from the big unit to the right.

    In combat the charging wild huntsmen and Treefather predictably made short work of the Vampire spawn and the Varkolak. In the treefather/barrow combat, the barrow guard failed… [Read More]
  • The second day of the tournament started with our team in the middle of the pack, after having played 3 pretty difficult rounds. For the fourth round, we were paired against the home team, comprised of players who do rather well in the french inter-regional tournaments.


    The pairings didn’t go that well, and I got once more a Breakthrough objective, this time against Sylvan Elves! Julien, or Falanirm as he’s known on the net, had brought a list that definitely had more maneuverability,faster scoring and better shooting/magic potential than mine:


    Falanirm wrote:

    Treefather ancient (480) : General, wizard master (150), Divination, 4 Learned Spells (150), Dispel scroll (100) 880
    Chieftain (150) : BSB (50), Pathfinder (75), longbow (4), light armour (0), sylvan blades (10), icon of the relentless company (30), ring of fire (50) 359

    16 sylvan archers (404) : Musician (20) 424
    5 heath riders (180) : Musician (20) 200
    2x Dryads (170) : Skirmish (0) 170
    8 Dryads 170

    8 Blade Dancers 320
    2x 1 forest eagle 100

    5 briar maidens (210) : Champion (120), 330
    2x 3 Kestrels Knights (295) : swap bows for shields (12), 307
    9 Pathfinders 390
    6 Pathfinders 270

    For magic, the treeefather Ancient got Scrying, Fate’s Judment, Stars Align and Unerring Strike, while the Matriarch got Throne, Master of Stone and Entwining Roots.

    In deployment, we alternated with some fast drops (eagles, kestrels, wild huntsmen).


    Having already played against SE on the 2nd round, I knew it was imperative that I get the jump on the opponent’s firebase if I was to even the odds. So as soon as my opponent dropped his Sylvan Archers , I seized the initiative and deployed everything so as to get the first turn.






    The plan was simple: advance rapidly towards the enemy shooting, using the relatively hard to kill dryads and the treefathers as a battering ram while the dancers scored the objective. The Kestrels and Huntsmen to the right were there to keep the enemy fast units honest.


    TURN 1 – Smith Sylvan Elves

    On the left, the dancers and the Shapeshifter BSB performed a flanking maneuver, keeping their distance from the centrally-placed enemy pathfinder units. The middle advanced full steam ahead, with the entire bowline getting within range for an opening volley on the enemy Sylvan Archers. On the right hand, the Kestrels and Wild huntsmen maneuvered a bit; their role was to act as a deterrent for enemy scorers.


    Magic was uneventful, but then the first shooting phase came: 30 Sylvan Archer shots amounted for 8 dead enemy Sylvan Archers, and the Pathfinders, using Truemark Arrows, dropped no less than 7 enemy Pathfinders from the BSB’s unit! Talk about counter-battery fire!






    TURN 1 – Falanirm’s SE


    After the initial shock of losing half his shooting on the first turn, my opponent attempted to retaliate: on the right, Bladedancers , Kestrels and dryads advanced quite aggressively, followd by the Treefather Ancient and the skirmishing dryads. The BSB jumped ship into the second unit of Pathfinders and on the left the kestrels did the same thing my fast contingent was doing on the right: hug the edge of the board and scare things from coming inside the deployment zone.


    In the magic phase a failed to cast boosted Unerring Strike on my central Treefather meant that I could easily contain the first magic barrage. Shooting aimed at the righmost sylvan archers, killed 6 and panicked panicked the rest. They’d rally on the following turn. The depleted pathfinders aimed at my unit of master archers, but they failed to wound them.


    TURN 2 – Smith SE


    The Shapeshifter BSB spotted the dryads inside the forest and declared a charge against them. The rest of the army moved in an aggressive fashion: bladedancers towards the deployment zone, the two treefathers towards the enemy archers and dryads in the middle. The kestrels and wild huntsmen still held their ground.

    Magic started with a dispelled Master of Stone on the Kestrels near the building, and then Falanirm’s mistake from last turn became apparent: in the process of switching places of the BSB from one unit to the other, both Pathfinder units found themselves inside the forest. Two successful treesinging spells later, both units lay dead, and the Treefather Ancient had suffered a wound!


    The pathfinders focused their shooting on the now lone BSB, and they managed to kill him with a single volley (go Truemark Shots!). The Sylvan Archers and leftmost treefather killed four more Sylvan Archers, leaving just 5 alive. Finally, the dryads killed a single dryad with their Toxic Spores and the second Treefather felled a Briar Maiden with his roots.


    In combat, the Shapeshifter chopped 3 dryads down for no wounds back, but they held on their steadfast roll.





    TURN 2 – Falanirm’s SE


    With the shooting advantage gone, my opponent tried to press the advantage on the right flank, with Kestrels and Bladedancers… [Read More]
  • Right, last game of the first day, and the previous match has drained a good part of my energy! I was hoping for a laid-back third game, but then the news hit me: having won 2/2 rounds, we were paired against the current leaders, none other than the second half of the ETC team France!


    Our leader, jaina, worked his magic (read: shoved me under the bus to get some other favorable matchups) and I ended up facing the captain of the ETC team, Ankor, and his shooty Highborn Elves. In all fairness, the other armies were also quite scary: 2-organ gun dwarves, Magic heavy 2-EDC WoDG and Dread Elves with good magic (alchemy) and full shooting + 2 big blocks with Altar.


    The list Thibaut had brought was a variation of a “Furion“ list, featuring the following:


    High prince, General, Royal Huntsman, lion chariot, HA, GW, Talisman of Supreme Shielding, Bluffer Helm 726
    Mage , Divination, 4 learned spell, Wizard master, Asfad Scholar, Book of Meladys 590
    Commander, BSB, Queen’s Companion, Great bow 310

    5 Highborn Lancer 250
    5 Highborn Lancer 250
    30 archers, Banner, Musician, banner of speed 630

    Skysloop 240
    Skysloop 240

    10 Sisters, Musician 300

    Eagle 100
    Eagle 100
    Fire Phoenix 380
    Fire Phoenix 380



    So better mobility, more shooting, and two hard counters for the treefathers in the form of Divination magic and the Royal Huntsman Prince. The deployment type was counterthrust this time, with the secondary objective being Breakthrough. Both of these were bad news: the counterthrust meant that the alternate deployment denied the option of grabbing the first turn, and the breakthrough was bad because of the two scoring cavalry units.

    Overall, the plan was to neutralize the Phoenixes and the Skysloops with my shooting, stall and keep the lion prince occupied while the treefathers pushed for the Archer bunker. Easier said than done.


    Thibaut gave me the first drop, meaning that by the end of our deployment he still hadn’t dropped his archers. In the end, he went for a denied flank with the archers right opposite my –relatively- empty flank, but also safe from harm. Knowing I’d get a +2 to play first, I gambled deploying in a position where I’d be able to kill one of the cavalry units by concentrating sylvan archer and pathfinder shots, then focus on the chariots.






    For magic, I got Spirits of the Wood and Summer Growth while my opponent got Scrying, Fate’s Judgment, Stars Align and Unerring Strike.


    Rolling for the first turn, I failed once more to seize the initiative.

    Crap...


    TURN 1 – Highborn Elves.


    The phoenixes and chariot prince pushed forward, while the Skysloops and the cavalry to the left maneuvered behind the hill, leaving me horribly out of position in terms of shooting. On the right flank, the archers moved a bit closer to my lines and the second unit of highborn lancers started a slow advance towards my deployment zone.

    In the magic phase the Unerring Strike on one of my Treefathers was dispelled, permitting the Wizard Master to cast the Stars Align on the archer block. Shooting was focused on the Wild Huntsmen, wiping them out with ease. The skysloops failed to impress, being out of range from the juicier targets.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves




    With the chariot prince 2 turns away from my lines, I figured that I needed to focus my energy on killing the birds and on weakening the prince a bit: at 2 wounds or so, I could hope to kill him with a bladedancer charge, and he’d definitely become more cautious.

    So the treefathers moved up a bit, threatening the advance of the chariot prince, the bladedancers on the left played chicken with the phoenix and chariot while the archers readied their arrows for their –now- only targets.

    In magic the Throne went up. The sylvan archer shooting was aimed at the Phoenix on the far left, only managing a single wound on the beast. The pathfinders managed to put a wound on the chariot prince using perforating shots, and the rightmost archers took a wound off the closest skysloop.


    TURN 2 – Highborn Elves

    i1271.photobucket.com/albums/jj634/SmithF/g3t2.jpg

    The phoenix on the left advanced a bit towards the bladedancers, the Prince sped forward towards my lines and in the middle the second phoenix scaled the hill ready to charge on the following turn. The archers and skysloops edged a bit forward too, while the highborn lancers continued their long path towards my deployment zone on the far right.

    Magic was one of the same: unerring strike dispelled, allowing the stars align to be cast on the archer unit. Shooting didn’t do much this turn due to the fact that the only eligible targets were the treefathers at long range, behind a forest.


    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    So, here is where I miscalculated things a bit: I figured that I’d be able to put a second wound on the prince with the pathfinders, while the combination of the treefather’s roots, 30 sylvan archers and some dryad toxic spores would be able to kill the phoenix on… [Read More]
  • So after a good first round, we moved up on the ladder and ended up facing a team from Paris, comprised in part by members of last year’s ETC team. Their lists were fine-tuned, and they had obviously had good results in their first games. The scenarios were «hold the centre» and «capture the flags», and in the end I got paired against Sylvain and his Sylvan Elves:


    HEROES:
    Druid (general), Wizard master, 4 spells (shamanism), tree singing, crown of autocracy, dispel scroll 590
    chief, BSB, longbow, hawthorn arrows, hail shot 290



    CORE:


    2x 11 sylvan archers Musician

    12 sylvan archers Musician

    8 dryads skirmish, Champion



    SPECIAL:
    1 forest eagle
    1 forest eagle



    FLEET OF FOOT
    3 kestrels knights with shield
    3 kestrels knights with shield
    8 blade dancers
    8 blade dancers
    5 briar maidens
    5 briar maidens



    UNSEEN ARROWS:
    10 sylvan sentinels
    10 sylvan sentinels

    So overall a pure MSU list with a very good shooting base, better magic, an abundance of redirectors and still decent counter-chargers in the form of the Kestrels and the Bladedancers. Not exactly the list I was looking forward to facing, especially given that the scenario was «capture the flags».

    Before the game, I figured that I’d have to win the deployment game, use the superior shooting of the pathfinders to win the shoot-out and push hard with the Treefathers to get the soft scoring units late-game. Easier said than done; with more deployment drops, Sylvain dropped fast unit after fast unit, cleverly keeping his scorers for last.


    The deployment was a game in itself, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed: I started off with the Treefathers centrally (the deployment type was flank attack, and I was given the role of the defender), since that meant that they wouldn’t be left stranded on a flank no matter what happened. The kestrels were sent as a decoy to the west, and my opponent replied with some dryads right across. Then came a critical moment where I had to start dropping scoring units: once I’d dropped a couple of archer units (inside forests, behind a dryad screen and a good 30 inches from any potential shooters), my opponent grabbed the initiative and deployed his entire army to get the first turn. With a +3 advantage, he had a good shot at getting that precious first volley off.


    In the end, the deployment favoured heavily my east flank, and I replied by keeping my bladedancers and the remaining archer unit centrally, safe from first turn volleys and in a position where they’d be able to retaliate. Good deployment on my opponents’ part meant that the pathfinders were better off deep within my zone, where their truemark arrows would allow them to whittle down T3 elves with impunity.




    For magic I got once more the Master of Earth and the Entwined Roots, while my opponent got Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon.

    Looking at the board after deployment, and knowing I’d probably play second, I figured the game would be an uphill struggle for the first few turns. With 6 flyers/light cavalry to throw between my treefathers and the archer line, my opponent wouldn’t be hard pressed to engage.

    So I took two gambles: I vanguarded my kestrels in a position where they’d give a flank charge to his kestrels, inside a forest, and I picked the three archer units as my targets for the secondary objective. The first one was crucial to unlocking the enemy battleline: it would draw one of the (expensive) redirectors closer to my lines, where they’d be able to get charged and potentially provide a nice overrun move for my treefathers. The second would free up the bladedancers to run interference, but running interference in this case would mean engaging in combat. I’d rather fight in combat than just have my opponent run in circles around me all game long.


    Sylvain won the roll for the first turn, picked two of my archer units and a unit of dancers as his targets and the game was on!


    TURN 1 – Shooty Elves


    As predicted, my opponent hesitated a bit then took the kestrel bait. The rest of the army moved around a bit, with half the shooting base moving past the building and gaining hard cover in the process. Sylvain would exploit this to the maximum over that game, moving the Skirmishers and light troops back and forth through the building to afford them that -2 to be hit all game long.


    The opening magic phase was a 12-dice phase, and I quickly noticed a flaw in my plan: I hadn’t read my opponents’ list attentively, so I failed to notice the Treesinging upgrade for the Druid (who buys this anyway!?). So when my opponent opened his magic with a 5-dice casting of Treesinging on the forest containing 2 units of archers, a unit of dryads and a treefather, I kind of felt obliged to dispel it with my dice. This allowed my opponent to cast the Totemic Summon, bringing a Totemic Beast right behind my lines.

    The shooting was painful: while the archers were relatively safe from… [Read More]
  • GAME 1 : Gandarin’s Daemonic Legions


    For the first round, we were to play against “Clan de la Geule” (liberally translated: Bunch of Grumblers), a team which had brought no less than 7 cannons (or cannon-like contraptions) between them. In the end, I got paired against Michel @Gandarin, a staff member of T9A, ESC 2016 veteran and a UB regular. His list was as follows:


    Daemonic Legions
    HEROES:

    Harbringer of pestilence: BSB, Wizard Apprentice, Divination, 2 Learned Spells, Bloated Putrefaction, Halberd, Rending Banner 590
    Harbringer of pestilence: General, Contamination, Neauseating Aura, Halberd 450

    CORE
    12 Horrors: Musician, Champion 376
    29 Tallymen: FCG, Speed Banner 786

    SPECIAL:
    3 crusher cavalery: Musician, Standard 380
    2x 3 crusher cavalery: Musician 360
    1 Blood chariot 330
    2x 2 Clawed Fiends 220
    3x 5 Furies of pestilence 140


    Essentially a Tallymen Deathstar surrounded by MSU elements, a decent amount of redirectors and some good answers to monsters in the form of the Blood Chariot and the combination of Divination and Thaumaturgy.

    The deployment was diagonal (Refused Flank) and the secondary scenario was Secure Target (Double objectives).


    PREGAME:


    When I checked the lists before attending the tournament, this one hit me as a pretty cool mix of fast units and durable elements. It is an army that I’d consider playing myself, and can definitely cause a lot of problems in terms of objectives (Hold the Ground against a list like this is absolutely horrible). So I was pretty happy about the double objective scenario, since it would allow me to force the daemons to split their attention.


    The plan overall was to either isolate the Tallymen and deal with the fast but fragile MSU elements, or play the scenario card and soften everything from afar before going in for a killing blow. The deployment phase reflected that; I chose to set up my objective marker on the top right corner of the battlefield, outside of the daemons’ deployment zone, and at a position where I’d be able to threaten the advance of the scorers towards it either with shooting or with the fast support.


    Michel replied by placing his marker centrally and as close as possible to his lines and the second objective: the game would be played in roughly 50% of the battlefield.

    We traded some deployment drops, and then I opted for a denied flank with a heavy shooting presence to the east , treefathers in the middle and close to terrain for cannon protection, with the Wild huntsmen threatening the advance to the rightmost objective and the Kestrels in position to fly behind enemy lines turn 1. The daemons deployed centrally with Tallymen as close to the leftmost objective as possible, flanked by Crushers. The cannon, horrors and furies formed the second line, with the Fiends as flank guards.


    The Kestrels vanguarded up the left flank, while the Pathfinders scouted near the topmost objective, in a position where they’d be able to cause the most damage on the fast daemonic units.




    Rolling for magic, the Dryad Matriarch got Entwining Roots and Master of Earth, while the Harbinger of Pestilence got Scrying and Fate’s Judgment.

    Having deployed the remainder of my army first, I took the first turn in order to soften the Daemons before the inevitable impact.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    Both Treefathers and the Shapeshifter scurried behind cover, while the Kestrels and Wild Huntsmen both performed flanking maneuvers. The rest of the army kept their distance from the daemons; Time was on my side, after all.

    Magic resulted in a single wound on the middle crushers from a Master of Stone. In the shooting phase the combined efforts of the Pathfinders and a unit of Archers killed the rightmost fiends outright, while the rest of the shooting took a wound off a crusher unit and the Tallymen.




    TURN 1 – Daemonic Legion


    The Kestrels did their job: with their positioning, the crushers couldn’t advance without exposing their flank to a charge, and the cannon couldn’t risk a flank charge either. So the entire left flank reformed so as to threaten the advance/flight of the kestrels. The Tallymen moved forward aggressively, and so did the rightmost crushers.

    Magic was uneventful: a D6 SD6 magic missile resulted in 4 s1 hits on the kestrels, which failed to hurt the fast cavalry. The Scrying on the rightmost crushers was dispelled. The cannon failed to hit the kestrels.




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Turn 2 and still no charges, although I did briefly consider charging the wild huntsmen against the right crushers. In the end, I didn’t trust my dice enough to rush things, so I opted for the shooting approach. The Kestrels flied over the enemy units and in a position where they’d be even more annoying should my opponent choose to ignore them. At the same time, dryads, Treefathers and Bladedancers maneuvered so as to increase the threat zones and keep my archers protected.

    In the magic phase both Treesingings were… [Read More]