The Athens ETC chronicles - Game 4

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  • GAME 4 – Turkey ( Kingdom of Equitaine, Hold the Ground)


    Kingdom of Equitaine is another faction that I consider to be relatively easy to deal with with my Sylvan Elves: My fast contingent is faster than the knights, a lot of my troops get armour piercing and high initiative attacks, not to mention that there are no good targets for the usual KoE suspects (Virtue of Might, Quest vow).

    However, with 2 trebuchets and access to Heavens magic, the ranged potential of the KoE was better than mine, and the secondary objective was not as good as getting Breakthrough or Capture the flags.


    My opponent’s list was based around 3 big units of knights, 3 pegasus riders with devastating charge, and 2 trebuchets. So not too many «easy» points lying around, which is more than can be said for my army.


    Emre wrote:


    Token of King
    Duke on Barded Horse: General, GW, Shield, Questing Oath, Virtue of Audacity, Crusader's Helm 245
    Grail Damsel on Barded Horse: Level 4, Heavens, Dispel Scroll 250
    Paladin on Barded Horse: BSB, GW, Questing Oath, Hardened Shield, Lucky Charm 129
    2x 12 Knights of Realm: Full Command 322
    15 Questing Knight: Full Command, Banner of Discipline 425
    3x 3 Pegasus Knight: Barding, Devastating Charge 181
    Trebuchet 130
    Trebuchet 130

    Pregame: The grail damsel got Blizzard, Stars Align, Thunderbolt and Lightning Storm, the Matriarch got Insect swarm and Redwood Shaft, while the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Phoenix Rises.


    In deployment we traded a couple of deployments, then my opponent deployed everything in an effort to get the first turn. He adopted a denied flank formation, that gave away his plan to magic and shoot my units for the first few turns, before moving in for the kill (and the objective). I resisted the urge to deploy everything across the knights and rush in, and put my Thicket Beasts behind the hill’s protection and the Forest Guard outside Trebuchet range: the plan was to have more scoring units near the centre by the end of the game, thus winning the objective.







    I won the roll-off and chose to play first, eager to put some pressure on the KoE warmachines.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves



    The fast contingent on the right flank moved up behind the hill, while the Bladedancers in the middle moved forward to tempt some first turn charges across the forest with the knights/pegasi. The Thickets and Forest guard scaled the hill in close proximity.

    Magic saw a successful cast of the Insect Swarm on the Trebuchet, killing it instantly. The rest of the spells were dispelled.



    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine



    The Pegasus knights to the left took the bait and charged into the dancers, making it into combat. The rest of the knights edged forward reluctantly.

    Magic started with an irresistibly cast lightning bolt on the bottom right Wild Huntsmen: given that my opponent had used 5 dice to cast this, I jumped on the opportunity to neuter his magic phase and potentially harm his Realm Knights and let the spell through.

    6 s6 hits later, the Wild huntsmen were no more, and the Briar Maidens failed their Ld9 Panic and fled off the board! To rub some salt on my wounds, the Damsel only suffered a s6 hit from the miscast.

    The Trebuchet,trying to hit the Thicket Beasts, veered off target.

    In close combat, the Bladedancers and Pegasus knights exchanged some wounds, and the elven elite passed their break test thanks to the BSB reroll.






    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Right, turn 2 and I’m 400 points down, having lost two good spells on top of that. So some extreme measures were needed: Thicket Beasts flank charged down the hill on the Pegasus/Dancer combat, and the far left contingent moved up to support them. I also used the Dryads as bait for a second unit of pegasus knights, with the Wild Huntsmen ready to countercharge if need be.


    Magic saw me put +1 Strength with the Phoenix Rises on the Thicket beasts, while the Redwood shaft and the Insect swarm were dispelled. The sylvan archers dropped a single Realm knight from the rightmost unit.


    The thicket beasts made short work of the pegasus knights, and reformed to face the entire KoE battleline, tempting the knights to charge: being inside a forest, shifting them would be a difficult task.




    TURN 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The knights declined my invitation to a central grindfest, and chose to sidestep a bit. The rightmost pegasus knights saw an opening and charged the dryads inside the forest, making it into combat.

    Magic started with a thunderbolt on the Thicket beasts, which I let through, losing a Thicket Beast in the process. Then my opponent powered through a 5-dice Lightning Storm on the rightmost Kestrels, with Irresistible force. After some deliberation, I let the spell through: one unit of Kestrels was instantly wiped out, and the other Kestrels suffered some wounds, lost panic and fled off the board (at that point Nico who was playing next to me looked first at my dead-pile, then at me with a puzzled look: «you’re getting crushed, aren’t you?» ). Then my opponent rolled for his second miscast, and got a Cascade result. The ensuing blast lost him his level 4 wizard and 7 of the Realm Knights!

    In the shooting phase the Trebuchet also decided to misfire and stop functioning, leaving the KoE without any ranged support.

    In the combat phase the pegasi and dryads exchanged wounds, and the skirmishing forest spirits held on a Steadfast Ld check.




    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves

    Tables had turned, and –despite having lost 700+ points and most of my fast units – I now saw an opening: The Thicket beasts were parked 10 inches from the Realm Knights in the lake, with no Steadfast due to the water feature and an overrun path into the flank of the Knights of the Quest. I took that charge, my opponent stood, and then I failed to reach combat by rolling double 1’s! There it was, my chance at a big win squandered... At least, the small bladedancer unit to the right managed to flank the Pegasus Knights fighting the dryads.

    Now my objective became to take the points off the 5 remaining Realm Knights: the Sylvan Archers and all my magic was directed at them, but failed to get past their armour and ward saves.

    In combat the Bladedancers dealt swiftly with the Pegasus knights, and reformed to face the rest of the KoE army.



    TURNS 4 – 6


    With the magic and ranged support gone, Emre opted for the safe route and kept his units tightly packed together. He didn’t get any other points, and I failed two 9+ charges from the Wild Huntsmen into the small knight unit. All the shooting and magic also went into them, but still I couldn’t get them below the 25% threshold.







    In the end, I secured the objective with 3 units, making sure that the Knights wouldn’t be able to sweep in and contest it on the last turn. The Dryad Matriarch got me the points for the Trebuchet with two consecutive castings of Insect Swarm, and the battle was done.



    Due to winning the objective, the Sylvans managed a 14 – 6 win. Given how the battle started, I was pretty happy with the result.


    Sylvan Elf Victory!




    Aftermath:



    Dice played a big role in how this battle unfolded: the first few turns saw me taking out units due to panics and d6 magic missiles that I just couldn’t save, then the miscast happened and it gave me the upper hand. Lady luck is a fickle mistress, since on the following turn dice denied me a potentially very devastating charge (Thicket Beasts on the Realm Knights).


    However, I think that the battle was decided before even a single die was rolled: by deploying in a corner-hammer fashion, my opponent practically gave me the scenario. Having played a couple of times against RAF KoE, I know that the Pegasus Knights are no match for my fast units once they get bogged down, and that’s the reason why I kept giving bait units to pull them out of formation.


    One of my questionable decisions was letting through the IF spells: it was a gamble, but the first one was “just» a thunderbolt, while the second had to jump through 3 units before hitting the second Kestrel Knights. Given that the scenario was Hold the Ground, I was very reluctant to use my scroll on magic missiles, when a timely Blizzard or Stars align could win the game for my opponent.


    The mexican stand-off in the centre is one of the reasons I love the Thicket Beast/Forest synergy: with 3 lances, chances were that the thicket shepherd would die on the first turn of combat (different initiatives would mean that the charging lance would get to strike the unit champ, then the characters could get the BSB). But the Emboldening Boughs rule would still keep the thickets in play, and with 2 units of Bladedancers, Wild Huntsmen and Forest Guard nearbly the odds were in my favor.


    In the end, my opponent chose to conserve points, and a combination of good armour saves and careful play resulted in a very close game. Emre’s teammates did the dirty work and in the end Belgium lost 64-96.


    But all of the Turks were great opponents, and it was great getting to see @tulmir and @LegioIgnatum in action in some very close games!



    We took a plunge towards the lower tables again, where we would face Greece for the fifth round!(oh, the internal struggle!)


    More reports to come over the next few days!


    As always, comments and questions are welcome.


    Smith

    906 times read

Comments 7

  • Marchosias -

    Thank you a lot for your reports, they are one of the best I have read! :)
    It is a shame that in a MSU force, the BSB by definition cannot cover everything because you almost always have to spread out. Having several BSBs would have spared you a lot of grey hairs. :)

  • PrinceCharming -

    Tbh , u were a bit angry when the maidens fled on ld 9 again... :D

    • SmithF -

      Yeah, although I was more disappointed at the corner hammer approach of my adversary. I was hoping that against KoE I'd get a more fluid, open game.

      But losing 400 points on turn 1 (including one third of my magic) had me thinking about crushing my dice with a hammer, for a minute. :)

  • Swordmaster -

    Great reports, Mr. Smith! I am looking forward to read about your general impressions after you finish them all. Your army looks beautiful. I hope in next two games your opponents play something else, than corner-hammer though :)

    I am also pretty jealous about how quickly you are able to produce these reports!

    • SmithF -

      Thank you, that's high praise coming from you Pawel!
      Next game is a lot more open, I promise!

  • Eru -

    Someone was bold with his level 4 and paid the price :D

  • zqn365 -

    I love these batreps!