The Athens ETC chronicles - Game 3

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  • Game 3 - Serbia (Beast Herds, Breakthrough)

    For the third round, we got paired against Serbia! My teammates had already told me stories about how cool and nice guys the Serbs are, and they were all pretty thrilled we’d be getting to play fun opponents.

    I got paired against @operatkovic ‘s Beast Herds, a matchup which I had rated as “good”. Beast herds lack long range support to threaten my combat units, and every match where my squishy elves get into combat unscathed is a good match in my book!

    We’d be playing Breakthrough, a scenario which can go either way against Beast Herds due to their Ambushers.

    operatkovic wrote:

    Looking at Djordje’s list, he had a decent firebase with 2 Stone Throwers, the Impaler, and 23 throwing axe Centaurs (s4). He also had the ubiquitous Dark Rain and a couple of heavily armoured Minotaur Warlords.


    My matriarch got Beast Within and Transformation, while the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Phoenix Rises. (I would have liked having either the Unforging or the Redwood shaft)

    After trading a couple of deployments, my opponent dropped his entire army and forced me to go first, securing the last turn for scoring purposes as well as ensuring that my shooting would have a -2 penalty due to the Dark Rain.

    The prime targets here were the Cyclops and the scoring centaurs. The overall plan was to kill the scorers, and keep some units in my backline to deal with the ambushers when
    they arrive. Minotaurs would have to be redirected.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    Knowing I’d get the first turn, I vanguarded my Kestrels forward, giving my left unit the possibility to get into the backline out of sight of the cyclops to the left. The right kestrels took advantage of the Gargoyles’ positioning in front of the minotaur Warlord to advance and get into position to threaten the scoring units on the following turn.

    The Briar Maidens did an outflanking maneuver, getting in range to pepper the cyclops with poisoned darts. Finally, the dancers and Thicket beasts moved forward, to limit the options of the minotaurs and the centaurs.

    In the magic phase the Luminous bolts were dispelled, leaving an opening for the Curse of the Wild on the Sober Centaurs. The briar maidens put three wounds on the cyclops, despite the Dark Rain, while the Sylvan Archers managed to kill 2 centaurs from the sober unit! A good start for the Sylvans!

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    With no charges available, the beastmen redeployed. Gargoyles went in front of the thicket beasts, for some double flee antics, while the drunk centaurs scaled the hill, in close support of their sober brethren. One of the minotaur lords joined the sober centaurs, while the other moved up near the thicket beasts. The Mino BSB stayed near the hill, within range of the entire army, practically.

    Magic saw the +d3 movement totem cast on the sober centaurs, the rest getting dispelled.

    In the shooting phase the cyclops didn’t hit anything, but the Impaler made up for it, killing 4 Bladedancers from the right unit with a flank shot (who knew that bolt throwers can now penetrate ranks of skirmishers?).

    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    Following my battle plan, I declared charges on the scoring centaurs: the leftmost kestrels rear charged the centaurs on the hill, while the right ones frontally charged the unit next to the field. The rightmost bladedancers fell upon the first harpy unit, which held. But this didn’t give a solution to the minotaur/sober centaur issue, which is why I shoved the Forest Guard forward, with the rest of the army adopting a crescent-like formation around them; if the Beasts charged, they’d have to weather some countercharges.

    I got a big magic phase, which allowed me to cast Luminous bolts twice on the Sober centaurs, pulling out the scroll. This left me with enough dice to cast Curse of the Wild on them again!

    Two more wounds went through on the Cyclops to the left, leaving him with a single wound left. The Sylvan Archers shot at the other cyclops and managed to wound him once.

    Close combat was a mixed bag: the left kestrels beat the drunk centaurs on the hill without getting any damage back, and ran them down in pursuit. This put them in the Rear of the Minotaur BSB. The other unit of Kestrels performed well,too: 4 centaurs died to their blows, but the Beasts retaliated with 2 wounds of their own. This allowed them to hold their ground with the help of the BSB reroll. Finally, the bladedancers broke the Gargoyles, and the lone surviving elf failed to catch the beast chaff, pursuing though into a second unit.

    TURN 2 – Beast Herds

    Faced with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision, the Minotaur warlord inside the centaurs declared a charge on his own vs the Forest Guard. This way, he was the only one to take dangerous terrain tests due to the Curse of the Wildwood, although he suffered a wound for his troubles anyway. The Cyclops and centaurs repositioned, while the second minotaur warlord moved up to threaten the elf battleline.

    In the magic phase I let the +d3 movement through on the unengaged mino lord, thus dispelling the rest of the totems.

    Shooting failed to hit the thicket beasts. To add to the insult, the cyclops to the left aimed at the briar maidens, but his stone scattered right on top of him and took his last wound off!

    In combat the Kestrels and centaurs continued hacking at each other. This would go on for another two rounds of combat, at which point the last Kestrel – on one wound- would kill its adversary and proceed to hide for the rest of the game. The BSB minotaur also took a wound from the charging knights, but put two wounds on the birds. Finally, the Minotaur lord killed the Forest Guard champion; the rest of the forest guard passed their steadfast Ld test. The charging bladedancer ran down the Gargoyles, after he dodged all of their attacks with his 3+ ward save.

    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves

    Things were looking up for the elves: the thicket beasts charged the last blocking harpy unit, while the Forest Guard were more or less left to fend for themselves, given that they’d still be steadfast for a turn or two. Wary of the imminent BSB minotaur post-combat reform, the Briar Maidens didn’t approach the other cyclops, but chose to get into position for some magic missiles, at a safe distance from all the action.

    In the magic phase the Briar Maidens cast boosted Luminous Bolts on the centaurs, this time getting a big roll and wiping out the entire unit! Beast within on the Forest Guard was dispelled.

    Shooting from the Sylvan Archers was directed at the unengaged minotaur lord, but failed to wound.

    In close combat, the Forest Guard managed to put a wound on the Warlord, and lost 4 of their number to the Beast’s attacks. They held on a steadfast Ld roll. The kestrels fought on against the minotaur bsb, getting saved thanks to a white magic counter. They held their ground and fighting continued. Finally, the Thicket beasts wiped out the Gargoyles and reformed.

    TURN 3 – Beast Herds

    Both the Minotaur lord and the cyclops flank charged the Forest Guard, while the Centaur General elected to maneuver and use the Impaler. The ambushing Wildhorns arrived, and were deployed deep within my left flank, and inside the deployment zone.

    Magic was uneventful, and shooting failed to wound the thicket beasts.

    In combat, the minotaur BSB took a wound from the Kestrels, but broke them in return and ran them down in pursuit. The two Warlords and the Gortach went to town on the Forest Guard, killing 18 of them and auto-breaking the survivors. The charging minotaur warlord took a wound for his troubles. The frenzied minotaurs were forced to overrun far away from the action.

    TURN 4 – Sylvan Elves

    The Rightmost Wild Huntsmen charged into the Cyclops, and the rest of the army maneuvered into position, with the Dryads and left Wild Huntsmen redeploying to threaten the ambushing wildhorns. The Bladedancers deployed in a wide line in front of the wounded Mino Warlords: with a ton of s4 ap1 attacks, it was possible that they’d be able to soften them up further. Finally, the Briar Maidens moved up within shooting range of the Minotaur BSB

    Magic was concentrated on the Mino BSB, and the combination of a luminous bolts spell and the ensuing Briar Maiden shooting managed to kill him. The Sylvan Archers targeted the minotaur Warlord with 4w remaining, and managed to deal 2 wounds to him.

    The charging wild huntsmen made short work out of the Cyclops, and overran through the water feature, losing 2 of their number.

    TURN 4- Beast Herds

    The Minotaurs failed their frenzy check and charged into the bladedancers, while the centaur General moved out of range of my archers.

    The bladedancers struck before the minotaurs and managed to dodge most of the damage thanks to their 3+ ward save, but broke from combat. They escaped pursuit and would rally next turn.

    TURN 5&6

    In the closing turns, the Wild Huntsmen to the left dealt with the ambushers, while the briar maidens moved back towards my lines and killed one of the minotaur warlords with a 3d6 s4 Luminous bolts spell and their poisoned darts. The other Minotaur warlord (2w left) died from Sylvan archer arrows. Finally, the Heath Riders moved into the enemy deployment zone, winning the objective for the sylvan elves.

    End Result: Sylvan Elves – Beast Herds 19 – 1

    Sylvan Elf Victory!


    The game went my way during deployment: by dropping his entire army, my opponent gave me the certitude of playing first, thus allowing for a 30” move of my kestrels and for good placement of the Briar maidens, to neutralize one of the Cyclops early on. The Forest Guard were the stars of this match, keeping the minos occupied long enough and even putting a couple of wounds on them. And when they broke, they even directed the beasties away from the rest of my army. But most effective unit award goes (once more) to the Briar Maidens: killed a minotaur Warlord, a minotaur BSB, and a Cyclops!

    This was a tough matchup for Djordje, since I’ve got more range, better movement but the basic principle of the army stays the same. I think that a refused flank approach would have been better for him, even if that meant giving me the chance to win the scenario with Heath Riders.

    Djordje was a good, fun opponent, who took all of his bad luck at a stride. His army looks great, and it turns out he is a commission painter! His Cyclops were scratch-built/converted, and they look great! If you ever need the services of a professional painter, I suggest getting in contact with him via PM: @operatkovic

    As for the rest of the team, they did very well, too, giving us the first win in the 2016 ETC!

    Moving up in the tables, we’d have to face Turkey!

    More battle reports to come, stay tuned!

    As always, comment away below!


    961 times read

Comments 4

  • skoll -

    I think you played a fantastic game but I does sound like your opponents dice failed him as well contributing to your resounding success. From the looks of it it sounds like 2 cyclops failed to get a single shot to hit in 3 shooting phases, and his magic did nothing but a single totem.

    Great battle report.

    • SmithF -

      You are right, the game would have been more balanced if the Cyclops hadn't failed to hit (or, for that matter, if the minotaurs' armour saves were better).

      In my pre-game evaluation I had put this matchup down as a small win, exactly because against Beast Herds you will certainly lose some units to close combat. But Djordje's dice were pretty cold, which meant I could go for the big win.

      The first couple of stone thrower shots were aimed at my Heath Riders, seeing as they were the fast scoring unit that could win me the Breakthrough scenario. Their relatively small footprint meant that only a direct hit would really do damage. Overall, the Cyclops got a total of 4 shots in the game, and none of them hit indeed.

      As far as magic is concerned, it's possible that some more totems were cast, but nothing too important: when I was planning on shooting the minotaurs I dispelled the "hard target" spell, while when we were in combat I dispelled the "distracting".

      Totem magic has the potential of being very good, but a couple of bad dice rolls can ruin your magic phase since your opponent is already getting +2 to dispel.

  • Banano -

    Solid victory Smith, well played, thanks once again for the time taken!

    Will take the advantage of this post to ask couple questions regarding some picks in your list.

    -Would you change the Flaming banner on the Thickets? Speed, Discipline or Amryl's for a 2x3 formation are possible choices, why fire attacks?

    -Is the 4+AS worth it on Kestrels? I played them with the 4+ in the past, atm, I'm taking them with just the "skirmishers" upgrade and not sure yet if the 4+AS extra points are worth it or not. S5 is what really hurts Kestrels for a 6+AS.

    Cheers m8,

    • SmithF -

      The flaming banner was introduced on the thickets after going to the TGH where there were a lot of trolls/regenerating monsters. During the list evaluation, I realized that not having flaming attacks was putting my army in a difficult position against such lists and hindering the pairings of the team. In the end, Regeneration was not an issue at all, but it could have been.

      Kestrel save: I think that the Skirmish upgrade is mandatory, it helps with overall survival against warmachines and small arms fire. 4+ armour save isn't that expensive, and it does help, even if it is the occasional "6" on an armour save to keep your flyers in the game. It makes fireballs less of an issue, too (T4 and 5+ saves means that you won't be losing the unit to a small/medium fireball, on average).

      Overall, I'd say it makes kestrels less of a target, since there are other squishier targets in my army.