SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 83

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

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  • GAME 3 – Undying Dynasties

    The last game of the tourney was against Serge, a veteran gamer who brought a small yet very efficient list:

    Serge wrote:

    LORDS/HEROES:


    Pharaoh, Commander of Terracotta army, Vanquisher Eternal, Mask of Teput

    Death Cult Hierarch, Level 3 Path of Sands, Book of the Dead, Soul Conduit

    Death Cult Acolyte, Level 1 Path of Sands, Dispel Scroll

    Tomb Harbinger, BSB, War Banner

    Tomb Architect


    CORE:

    6 Chariots, Full Command, Flaming Banner

    4 Chariots, Full Command


    SPECIAL:

    Battle Sphinx, Breath Weapon

    Battle Sphinx, Breath Weapon

    27 Necropolis Guard, Halberds, Full Command, Stalker’s Standard



    I had never faced a Terracotta Necropolis Guard Deathstar (TNGD for short), but I’d heard enough stories to know that this unit cannot be underestimated. It didn’t help that the last game of the day would be played without a secondary objective, meaning that I’d have to actually kill some undead to get points!

    The good news were that the TNGD is slow, and that there were only 20 bow shots in the army. So the battle plan was simple: outdeploy, outmaneuver, kill everything around the deathstar and then (eventually) move in for the kill. That last part is where I expected my plan to blow up in my face, as has happened countless times before. An important detail of the plan was to isolate units, and pull them out of formation. The only way I’d be able to commit would be by making sure that the NG wouldn’t be able to countercharge me in return.


    Magic: Dryad Matriarch got 0,3 (Wilderness), Druid got 0,1 (White), Hierarch got 4,5,6 (Sands) and Acolyte got 1 (Sands)


    So the good news was that there were no movement spells for the UD: redirecting the deathstar becomes a lot more difficult when you’ve got two movement spells to dispel per turn.




    Deployment resulted in me outdeploying the UD, which pitted two units of Kestrels and the Forest Guard against the small chariot unit, the Briar Maidens, Heath Riders and Wild Huntsmen against the two sphinx and the NG, while in the centre the Thicket Beasts squared off against the chariots, with all the small and squishy units more than 32” away from the chariot shooting. My opponent decided to take the first turn, and battle was joined!



    TURN 1 – Undying Dynasties


    The undead battle line moved up in unison, no surprises there. Magic started with a particularly high casting roll of boosted divine judgment on the Briar Maidens. I used up all my dice to dispel that, letting everything else through, including Shifting Sands on the Briar Maidens. Shooting put a wound on the leftmost Kestrels.



    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The left flank redeployed a bit, with the Briar Maidens staying more than 18” away from the sphinx (for fear of the Breath Weapon), and the Wild Huntsmen relocating more centrally. The Kestrels moved up towards the small chariot unit, as did the Forest Guard. The Thicket Beasts entered the charge zone of the big chariots, tempting them to charge.


    Magic opened with the phoenix rises healing the wound off the kestrels and putting a White token on the Thicket Beasts, then all my attempts to hurt the big chariots from afar were ineffective (Redwood shaft failed to cast and the Curse of the wildwood was dispelled). Shooting proved to be equally ineffective, not a single wound was scored by the Sylvan Archers.




    TURN 2 – Undying Dynasties


    The chariots took the bait and fell into the Thicket Beasts, while the sphinx and NG continued their slog towards my lines. The small chariots tried to swift reform, but failed its Ld and reformed instead, keeping the kestrels in their front arc. Magic saw me use my scroll to stop yet another Divine Judgment, then I used my dice to stop the Ancient Glory, letting through the Cursed Blades on the chariots.


    The impact hits of the chariots proved to be quite ineffective: 9 of them were dealt, but between rolls to wound, armour and ward saves, all of them were ignored. In retaliation, the thicket beasts dealt 11 wounds on the chariots and received a single wound back. The chariots were disintegrated, allowing my Thicket Beasts to pivot to face the sphinx’s flank.



    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Seizing the opportunity, thicket beasts and a unit of Wild Huntsmen tag-teamed on the rightmost sphinx. The Kestrels and the second unit of Wild Huntsmen moved into position to flank the smaller chariot unit on the following turn, with the Forest Guard offering themselves as bait. The Briar Maidens spotted a blind corner in the sphinx’s charge arc, so moved in for some poisoned shots. Finally, the skirmishing part of the army moved about to create threatening situations, while the Heath Riders were shoved right in front of the Sphinx and NG to stall them a bit.


    Magic was yet again ineffective, but shooting succeeded in putting two wounds on the unengaged sphinx!

    In combat the combined efforts of the Wild Huntsmen and the Thicket beasts made… [Read More]
  • GAME 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    Loik is the resident KoE general of the Tour d’Ebene club, and a veteran of many tournaments. We talked a bit about the new KoE rules (long story short: he isn’t too happy about them, and will be writing a long letter to Tulmir explaining why :D ) and then he went on to explain his army:

    Loïk wrote:



    LORDS/HEROES:


    Duke on Warhorse, Grail Oath, Virtue of Renown, Crusader’s Helm, Shield, Blade of Strife, Token of the King

    Paladin BSB on Warhorse, Questing Oath, Great Weapon, stuff (possibly the Orriflame?)

    Grail Damsel on warhorse, level 4 path of Heavens, Dispel Scroll, Ring of Ruin

    Damsel on foot, level 1 wilderness


    CORE:

    10 Knights of the Realm, Full Command

    11 Knights of the Realm, Full Command

    10 Peasant Bowmen, Skirmish

    10 Peasant Bowmen, Skirmish


    SPECIAL:

    10 Knights Forlorn, Hedge Knights, Skirmish

    10 Knights Forlorn, Hedge Knights, Skirmish

    3 Pegasus Knights, Devastating Charge, Skirmish


    RARE:

    8 Knights of the Grail, Full Command

    8 Knights of the Grail, Full Command


    This time the scenario was Secure Target, with regular deployment. I picked side, opting for the one with the buildings (always a good thing against knights). We exchanged deployments, with me outdeploying Loik by a fair amount: in the end he went with a central deployment, with forlorn knights on either flank and peasant bowmen deployed as a screen in front of the knights.




    Magic: Grail Damsel got 0,1,4,5 from Heavens, the Wilderness Damsel got the signature, Dryad Matriarch got 0,6 from Wilderness and the Druid 2,5 from White Magic.

    I won the roll for the first turn, and went first. Letting KoE play first is never a good idea, all the more time for them to put you in a tough place.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The Archers entered the house on the left, the wild huntsmen stayed relatively wide and out of range of the peasant bowmen. By placing his bowmen as a screen, my opponent had involuntarily given me a turn of protection against charges, so I tried to make the most out of it: the centre of my force inched forward, with the forest guard pushing more aggressively towards the two Realm Knight blocks. The Briar maidens moved full speed ahead, entering the forest occupied by the Forlorn, and tempting them to charge. The rest of the fast contingent stayed relatively back, but in close support.


    Magic opened with a successful guiding hand raising the Forest Guards’ movement to an impressive 8. The rest was easily dispelled. Shooting was directed at the two forlorn units: the left one suffered 3 casualties by the archers’ volley, failed its panic test and fled. On the right, the Briar Maidens dropped another 3 Forlorn, but these stood their ground.



    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    Not being ones to shy from a challenge, the Forlorn Knights charged into the Briar Maidens, aided by the Pegasus Knights. The Maidens took potshots at the KoE skirmishers while they moved in, killing two. In remaining moves, the Knights of the grail approached my lines, one scaling the hill and edging slightly to threaten my wild huntsmens’ advance. The fleeing forlorn rallied, while the two Realm Knight units were kept at bay by the threat of the movement 8 Forest Guard.


    In the magic phase Loik spotted my plan’s weakness: I needed the kestrels to live to be able to countercharge once the maidens were dealt with. So he directed first a Lightning Bolt, then a Fireball and finally a Lightning Storm at the rightmost unit, which forced me to use my dispel scroll to be able to weather it all. I was reluctant to use the scroll so fast, but losing a unit (or potentially two) would mean that the Pegasus knights would crush that flank with ease. Shooting cost me a Bladedancer from the rightmost unit.

    In combat the Briar Maidens hit first, killing three forlorn knights. The return attacks (2 forlorn, one Pegasus knight) all missed or failed to wound. This meant that, unexpectedly, the Briar Maidens won combat! Both units passed their Steadfast Ld test, but interestingly the Pegasus Knights failed their test to combat reform!




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Last turn’s good luck gave me an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up: the Kestrels fell into the Pegasus knights, while the Forest Guard flanked the two remaining Forlorn. To pull this off, I had to declare long charges on the screening bowmen, to cause them to contract and create some space. The Thicket Beasts and Dryads both failed their respective charges. In remaining moves I moved the second Kestrel unit in a sacrificial position, to prevent the Realm Knights from charging the Forest Guard on the following turn. This would also force the Grail Damsel to forego any magic missile spell for the following turn, since she’d be engaged in combat.


    Magic proved to be uneventful this turn, starting with a failed casting of the Curse of the Wildwood on the Damsel’s Knights. Shooting was aimed at the Knights[Read More]
  • Introduction:


    For people who are not familiar with the Belgian tournament scene, here’s some information: Back in 7th edition warhammer, I’m told that tournaments with 100+ participants were organized and that players from France and the Netherlands would often participate. The first tournaments I saw in 8th edition were small, 20-30 player tourneys with the occasional bigger event (40-ish or so people). The last few months of Warhammer took a particularly heavy toll on our small community, and many people stopped attending events altogether.



    With the coming of the 9th age, a lot of casual players were reluctant to join the bandwagon, but nevertheless the first T9A tournament gathered around 30 people and was deemed a success, based on the waning number of players of the late 8th edition period. So imagine my surprise when I learned that the semi-annual tournament of the Ebon Tower (Tour d’Ebène, Ath), their first in T9A format, sold out so fast that the organizers had to find a way to up the places available to 40 from the original 30 and still had to refuse 12 players from participating!


    What is even better in my opinion is that a certain number of these gamers are returning after a long break during the 8th edition, because they find T9A –and I quote- “more fun”. A second interesting part is that T9A has managed to bring together the Walloon and the Flemish players, with gamers travelling more than an hour (that’s like, going to the edge of the known world for Belgians) to participate!


    As for me, I was looking forward to this 3-game event as it would be the first time in 2 months that I’d get my Sylvans out of their army case!


    Here is the list that I took:

    SmithF wrote:

    HEROES:- Dryad Matriarch, Oaken Crown, Level 2 Wilderness
    - Thicket Shepherd BSB, Entwined Roots, Flaming Standard
    - Druid, Level 2 White Magic, Dispel Scroll

    CORE:
    - 28 Forest Guardians, Full Command, Gleaming Icon
    - 18 Sylvan Archers, Black Arrows, Standard, Musician
    - 8 Dryads, Skirmishers
    - 5 Heath Riders, Elven Cloaks, Standard

    SPECIAL:
    - 5 Thicket Beasts, Entwined Roots, Full Command
    - 5 Wild Huntsmen
    - 5 Wild Huntsmen
    - 3 Kestrel Knights, Light Armour, Shield, Skirmishers
    - 3 Kestrel Knights, Light Armour, Shield, Skirmishers
    - 7 Bladedancers
    - 7 Bladedancers

    RARE:

    - 10 Briar Maidens, Champion



    For this list, I wanted to minimize the character cost so that I’d be able to get as many combat units as possible. In the end, I opted for the 415 point configuration that gave me access to a sturdy BSB, 6 levels of magic and a dispel scroll.

    As for the rest of the list, it was built with secondary objectives in mind: most of the combat units are expendable, hopefully helping keep the scoring units alive while killing the opponent’s scorers. I ended up with a hybrid MSU fighting force aided by 2 anvils (Forest Guard and Thicket Beasts).


    Having 13 drops means that I can outdeploy my opponents even if they do not opt for a full army drop, and this is essential when it comes to playing MSU. The combination of White and Wilderness magic has worked well for me before, offering a mix of decent offensive spells and spells to help out in combat.


    Concerning the field, all of the armies except for Infernal Dwarves were represented, while the most popular ones were the Orcs and Goblins, the Warriors of the Dark Gods and the Undying Dynasties.



    GAME 1 – Dread Elves


    For my first game I was paired against Jerome and his Dread Elves. He was a returning 7th edition/early 8th player, and this was his first tournament in a long time. The list he brought was well thought-out, with a balance of shooting, magic and close combat potential (from memory)


    Jerome wrote:

    LORDS/HEROES:Exalted Oracle on Pegasus, Level 4 Black Magic, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Supreme Shielding
    Captain BSB, Halberd, stuff


    CORE:
    2 x 11 Repeater Auxiliaries, Standard, Musician
    3 x 5 Dark Riders, Shields


    SPECIAL:

    29 Dancers of Yema, Full Command, Stalker’s Standard
    30 Tower Guard, Full Command, Bloody Banner
    Altar of Yema

    RARE:

    3x Dread Reapers, Repeating Shot

    The deployment we got was diagonal, with the secondary objective of holding the centre. We exchanged deployments for a while, up until my opponent placed his Dancers of Yema, giving away his battle plan: shoot at me while I advanced, mop up with the big blocks.


    With that in mind, I opted for a full drop and got a +4 to the roll to start, securing the first turn.



    *Magic: Black 0,1,5,6 for Exalted oracle, Wilderness 0,1 for Matriarch, White 0,5 for Druid



    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    Securing the hill near the middle was vital for my battleplan to work: it would be a natural speedbump for the initiative 6 big blocks, provide with cover against half the enemy shooting and force the Dread Elves to be exposed to missile fire and potential charges if they wanted to… [Read More]
  • Hello again dear readers!

    This week we've been exploring the issue of magic in the SE subforum (friendliest place on the 9th age boards, visit us!) so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the subject with you. Unlike the previous article, this one is more heavily focused on Sylvans but, again, some of the principles apply to all armies and may help you use and defend against magic more effectively.


    [b][/b]Magic Defense:


    The sylvan elves have a particular vulnerability to magic, for several reasons:

    • Many of their units are comprised of expensive, unarmoured units that rely on targetting penalties (skirmish/cover) and superior mobility to survive ranged damage and get into position. It comes as no surprise that a 2d6 s4 fireball that can potentially wreck a unit of Pathfinders has many generals searching for their dispel scroll.
    • Nothing can destroy your dreams as quickly as a couple of combat buffs that turn your combined multi-charge on the enemy’s main combat unit into a fiasco.
    • Treefathers: as much as I love them, the way some spells counter them is pretty sad. If you field them, you’d better shell out the cash to protect them, too.
    And the list goes on.



    Knowing your vulnerability is one thing, but taking it into account when building your list and when maneuvering on the battlefield can save you some precious dispel dice, which will in turn save you points from magic defense to spend on other stuff.


    Here are some principles I have found useful:

    • Your units are not as vulnerable to magic missiles as you think they are: One of the main threats that panics SE generals into spending a ton of dice to dispel is magic missiles. It is a common concept that our units will melt away if a stiff breeze blows their way. I have found this to be untrue with most units.D6/2D6 S4 magic missiles may hurt, but most of the time they don’t: Bladedancers get a 5+ ward against them, Thicket Beasts are usually not hurt at all (even when you factor in the flammable reroll, you get 1-2w on average from a medium fireball) and the T4 and 4+ save of Kestrels will help them survive. So if faced with a dilemma between saving a small unit or having dice to stop more destructive spells, my advice is to let the magic missile through. Exceptions to this rule: Banishment on high value targets, Big Burning Brightness on otherworldly monsters.

    • Find the minimum effective unit size for each of your elements, then add some models to that: Even if you’re playing MSU, adding a couple of models to your Bladedancers means that they can take that magic missile and still have 4-5 models left to cause your opponent a headache. An added bonus to that is that you have a bit more leeway before you need to give your opponent the VPs for being below 25%.
    • Spell Ranges: you can limit the amount of magic coming your way by taking into account the spell range and type limitations. For example, a mage inside a unit that’s fighting in combat won’t be able to cast magic missiles, and even direct damage spells will be limited by the front arc. It may buy you a turn of respite, enough for your more dedicated mage hunters to get into place. A key to not being overwhelmed by the opponent magic phase is to never give a good target for multiple spells. For example, on the turn when you wish to dispel that all-important Mindrazor, make sure that your Pathfinders are outof range/arc for a 2d6 s4 fireball.
    • Don’t waste your scroll: my approach is to play as if I didn’t have the scroll, until the point where stopping a spell will win me the game (or prevent me from losing). More often than not, it is used to stop the desperate Beast Within that may make my charges bounce, or a Summer Regrowth on a monster I’ve been painstakingly taking down to its last wound for the entire game. There are games when I end up not using my scroll, but this also means that I’ve managed to contain the magic threat in another manner.
    • Risk assessment: at the start of the magic phase, think of which spell you absolutely need to dispel and keep your dice to do so. I am usually very conservative when it comes to dispelling, making sure to roll enough dice to make dispelling almost a certainty. It may so happen that there are multiple must-stop spells and the opponent has enough dice to cast them: in that case, your opponent probably played a better game, and your best bet is to try and even out the dice advantage by burning the scroll. Failed casting rolls also happen, so that is certainly another option to hope
    • Use miscasts: when your opponent miscasts, think if the spell cast will hurt you a lot or not. If you can weather it, it’s worth letting it through to deny him some more dice and limit his magic phase subsequently. The miscast damage is a bonus, but the desired effect here is that the casting pool goes down by at least 4 dice.
    So to sum up, reaching for the scroll every time someone hurls a 2d6 s4 magic missile at you is a bad habit. Learn to weather the magic, deny your opponent juicy… [Read More]
  • Greetings!

    In the past few weeks I've spent some of my hobby time writing tactics articles in the elven subforums, each discussing a different aspect of the game. (mainly from a Sylvan Elf perspective). Even though the tactics are focused on elves, a good deal of them can be "ported" to other races with a little bit of work. So I thought I'd share these with you, since I'm fairly certain that most of you do not venture into the sylvan elf subforum:


    Getting the Secondary Objectives: Sylvan Elves in the brave new world.


    If there is one thing that 9th brought into the game, it is objectives. In tourrnament play, these count for 3 points, while denying your opponent another 3. This is a 6 point differential that can make the difference between a loss and a win (or at least a draw).

    A frequently discussed issue on the forums is how the SE are not well equipped to play the objective game, due to their hit-and-run, guerilla warfare style. The more I play 9th Age games, the more I believe that this is not true: we have all the tools necessary to grab the objectives, but there are some things to take into consideration:


    1. Patience!

    The goal of the game is to hold the secondary objectives with more scoring units than your opponent by the end of turn 6. Getting there early (in the take-and-hold scenarios) will not accomplish anything. This is where most of the critics about the relationship of SE with secondary objectives stem from: there are only a couple of units in our book capable of grinding the opposition one-on-one, so it is in your best interest to take your time and plan ahead to get the objective during late game.


    2. Non-scoring units are VERY important:

    You can also consider these as the heavy lifters in your army: these are the units that you can risk to kill the enemy scorers and to do most of your fighting. Losing them will "only" lose you victory points, but it won't give away any banner points and it won't hamper your chances of winning the objective. This becomes a lot more important in the "breakthrough" and the "capture the flags" scenarios.

    Putting a banner on every unit with scoring potential may seem like a good idea, but it will probably come back to haunt you whenever you roll the "capture the flag" scenario. It is your opponent who decides which ones of your units are the targets, and it is easier to keep safe a unit that is kitted out for close combat (big unit of Rangers/Forest Guardians or Thicket Beasts comes to mind), or units that will probably be out of combat and as far away from action as possible (Sylvan Archers and/or small Heath Riders are in this category).

    So while MSU Forest Rangers are awesome, they are perhaps not the most efficient of scoring units for the reasons outlined above. Or they may be, depending on your battle plan.
    But the bottom line is: pick your scoring units wisely, and do bring a number of non-scoring units that can have an impact on the battle; there will be times when your scorers will have to just bide their time while the Treefathers and Bladedancers do their thing.




    3. Getting the first turn is a TRAP!

    Yes, you heard me. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it is my firm belief that in most cases, playing second is a boon:
    First off, the moment you forget about going first, you start outdeploying your opponent. If anything, Sylvan Elves can bring more units than most armies out there, and also have the mobility to rapidly redeploy if need be. So getting your matchups right is more critical than getting that first volley off. (as a plus, you WILL get the first volley anyway; more on that later)

    Vanguarding units play a huge role in that pre-game sequence. You can drop the kestrels to confuse your opponent, then vanguard them 12" behind cover and closer to another part of the battlefield. On a side note: NEVER vanguard to a place where it will give your opponent a chance to jump your fast units. It is rarely worth it, unless you are 100% sure you'll get the first turn.

    A weakness of the elves is that they're not very resilient and die in droves to enemy fire. Going second means that the first turn volley of a dedicated shooting army will probably do nothing to your troops: you get a free forest to hide in, you've got brilliantly resilient skirmishers to screen your T3 elves, you've got Thicket Beasts to hide your shapeshifters behind. And more importantly, you've got Sylvan Archers, Sentinels and Pathfinders who can move between 5 and 10" and shoot without incurring any penalties.

    Use this to your advantage, grab some cover and weather the initial volley. Then you get to do your thing!

    What does that get you, objective-wise? It gives you the opportunity to move your fragile scoring units in position at the bottom of turn 6, without risking anything. 5 Heath rIders with banner will die to a stiff breeze, but with their 18" march move they can contest or claim the central objective from half across the battlefield. The… [Read More]
  • Aftermath:


    So after all was said and done, Team Belgium ended up with 3 big victories and 3 big losses: the last round didn’t have the «cap» mechanic, meaning we toppled down to the 13th place. (is it a sign? Should we turn to the Vermin Swarm for help?)


    The veteran players in our team confirmed my thoughts that this also happens in the ETC: it takes a bad last round to erase all the good performance of the weekend! Nevertheless, I was happy with the experience: I got 6 good games in, got to meet and chat with fun and interesting people, and I got a first-hand experience of what a team tournament looks like!


    The event was won by team Moldova, who steamrollered all opposition using quite unusual lists. Kudos to them for thinking out of the box, I think this year’s ETC will surprise us all with the combinations of lists. It is a brave new gaming world, and the path to victory seems to be on the opposite direction from our 8th edition hangovers.


    Regarding the tournament overall, I cannot stress enough how well organized it was: Frederick and his mates took care of every little detail, they even offered to find me a Forest terrain piece in case I forgot/couldn’t find mine. The tournament ran smoothly, we got results immediately on the video wall and every round was played on time.

    The 3-day wargaming experience is something I’d recommend to everyone with the time to do it, especially when it is combined with good local beer, excellent infrastructure and friendly people all around. It’s like an all-inclusive hotel stay, but for wargamers! A big thank you to all the organizers for the time and effort they put into this!



    Back to the gaming aspect:


    I ended up with 69 points, tied for the 37th spot of the tourney (out of 112). That puts my Sylvan Elves just in the top third of the field. Given the opposition, the pairing system and luck, I am pretty happy with the performance of my treehuggers!


    I felt that most of my games were balanced, I never felt that my list couldn’t handle the opposition (except perhaps the last game against the Empire). Given that my list has a good mix of shooting, combat and magic without being skewed in one or the other direction, this is an indicator of the decent balancing that 9th age has brought.


    Following a trend of other, more experienced tournament players, I’ll go over my units/choices one by one and grade them, giving my thoughts on how they performed:


    Shapeshifter: B

    This is probably the most dice-dependent model in the entire list, all it takes is a series of bad rolls and you say goodbye to 300 points. In my games he fled to his death twice, was killed by a cannon ball once, and only really mattered in combat once, against the Steam Tank. However, I find that he performed well in his primary role: limit enemy deployment and movement with the hard hitters, and generally be a menace. I think that his presence and his threat range helped a lot in getting my troops where they needed to be. I didn’t get to face many monsters, but he would have been a lot more useful against a HBE Ancient Dragon or an Elder Dragon Centaur.

    His main weakness seems to be massed small arms fire, a 3+ save and a 4++ ward save can only get you this far before the shapeshifter bites the dust.


    Dryad Matriarch: B+

    Did what she was supposed to, staying out of trouble and helping out with the magic phase and leadership. Her spells helped take down the Father of Pestilence, and the menace of the Beast Within meant that other spells would go through the enemy defenses.


    Thicket Shepherd BSB + Thicket Beasts: A+

    A very good alternative to the Treefathers, these are more resilient, care a lot less for warmachines and spells, and can grind enemy units very fast. I only lost them to the Daemon Seeker’s antics, but that was mostly bad play on my part (they should have sticked to their 3x2 formation). Against the Dread Elves and the Empire of Sonnstahl they practically won me the game.


    Druid: A

    White magic synergizes quite well with the Shapeshifter, but also with the MSU elements of my army. Having an extra wound on a unit of 5 wild huntsmen is crucial, and the same applies to giving the T5 4+/5++ save Thicket Beasts an extra wound. Having access to two luminous bolts was very helpful in most of my games, helping win the chaff war and put pressure from afar. The Dispel Scroll is still necessary for this kind of list: even magic missiles can become must-dispel spells when they’re targeting your small hard-hitters.


    Sylvan Archers: A+

    I cannot stress enough how great these are. In most of my games, they did exactly what I wanted them to do: weaken enemy hard-hitters enough for the combat part of the army to punch through. They only died against the dwarves (but arguably they shouldn’t have charged in the first place – desperate measures and all that) and the Daemons (but dice happened). On the flipside, they played a pivotal role in weakening the Father of Pestilence, killing the [Read More]
  • For the last game of the TGH tournament we were to face none other than the defenders of last year’s ETC title: Team Germany. They did have a couple of absences, and Frederick was busy running the event (and literally running from table to table to give rulings – this was the last round and bragging rights were up for grabs! Things get serious around that point... :) ) but they were still among the most dangerous opponents one can face.

    At this point we looked at the score table, and we saw that Team Belgium was now up to 6th place, within shooting range of a good placing. But more importantly, we had scored more victory points than any other team in our previous 5 games: we were winning, we were losing, but we were doing it with style!

    I was really happy about this milestone, and then the last round pairings happened. We arrived with our A4 print-out of the pairings, were we had hastily scribbled whether x or z army was a favorable matchup (there were not so many of these), and our opponents arrived with their Laptop, a dedicated program with the matchups all calculated, and looking far more confident than we were.


    (talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight!)


    When all was said and done,I was paired against yet another Empire army:





    Yannic wrote:

    Empire of Sonnstahl


    LORDS/HEROES:
    Prelate, General, Altar of Battle, Shield, Dragonfire Gem – 258

    Captain, BSB, Plate Armour, Hardened Shield, Icon of the Relentless Company - 115
    2x1 Artificer – 55
    Wizard, Magic lvl 2, Dispel Scroll, Path of Light – 125
    Wizard, Magic lvl 2, Sceptre of Power, Path of Light – 105
    Wizard, Magic lvl 1, Path of Light – 65

    CORE:

    41x Heavy Infantry, Swap Shield for Halberd, FCG, Banner of Speed – 281
    40x Heavy Infantry, Swap Shield for Halberd, FCG – 250
    10x State Militia, Skirmisher – 50
    11x State Militia – 44

    SPECIAL:

    2x5 Reiters, Brace of Pistols – 85
    2x1 Artillery, Cannon – 100
    Artillery, Volley Gun – 125

    RARE:


    4x Knights of the Sun Griffon, Lance and Shield, M,S, Gleaming Icon – 232
    Arcane Engine, Foresight – 140
    Steam Tank – 230

    So lets see: Light Council, check. Double Banishment, check. Cannons and Steam tank, check. This guy has all of his bases covered, it was going to be an uphill struggle.

    To make things worse, we got Hold the Ground as our objective. No problem, I thought; I’ll just go for the second turn, outdeploy him and grab the objective on turn 6. Cue my opponent deploying his entire army first, then declaring that he would play second!


    This guy knew what he was doing...


    Magic: I got Curse of the Wildwood and Beast within for my Dryad Matriarch (no magic missiles! Drat..) while my Druid got Cataclysm and the Hidden Path. The light council got three times the Signature Magic missile, Banishment and the Timewarp.


    Units are self-explanatory, I forgot to place a unit of militia on the right flank; they didn't actively participate in the battle.


    At this point I looked at the board, I looked at the enemy army and decided that I would have to play this safe and grab a small win at best: take the warmachine points, get the fast cav and keep my units safely out of banishment/burning brightness range.


    This means that the game was not as exciting as I had wanted it to be, but to play more aggressively I would have needed one of the following things to happen:

    • My opponent to make a mistake
    • Get the chance to play second
    • Get Insect Swarm to be able to put some pressure from afar on the warmachines.
    Without any of these happening, the battle plan was the following: Keep the Thicket Beasts safe, don’t hand out any easy points, and wait for a cannon or two to misfire before going all-out attack and grabbing the objective.

    The game was a very quick and delicate dance, where I was fighting against my own boredom; I hate playing defensively, and my opponent saw no reason to rush me either. So no turn by turn here, just pictures and some highlights:
    • Turn 1 my archers shot at the Hellblaster and only dealt one wound. My opponent would move it behind the hill on his following turn, keeping the points safe.

    • The Briar Maidens played a cat and mouse game with the Griffon Knights, Reiters and Arcane engine on the left flank: I panicked the reiters off the table on turn 1, fled the griffon charge after that and rallied close to the board edge. My opponent masterfuly closed off any paths to the warmachines by threatening my advance with his chariot. In the end, all of their magic missiles were dispelled or bounced off the arcane engine, and a last turn Lightning Bolt took out 5 of them (0 ward saves!), enough to get half points when a cannon killed another 3 with a couple of shots.

    • Trying to open up the left flank, I gave my forest guardians’ flank to the griffon knights: being on full strength, I counted on them holding their ground due to steadfast and counter-charging with my bladedancers in the griffon flank. Cue a miscast, a big blast and 10
    [Read More]
  • With two team wins and two losses, we were now climbing the tables slowly but steadily. The first three rows of tables had neat plastic mats, and our goal had become to play at least one game there. (It’s the small things that count!) On our way stood a german team from Munich, who had done quite well for themselves.


    I was paired against Sebastian, a nice fellow who brought a shooty DE list with hints of monster mash (2 hydras) and Nature magic support. The deployment was Flank Attack and the secondary objective “Capture their Flags!”


    Sebastian wrote:

    LORDS/HEROES:
    Exalted Oracle, General, Level 4, Dagger of Moraec, Ring of Shadows, Path
    of Nature - 290
    Captain, BSB, Fleet Commander, Heavy Armor, Shield, Dusk Stone,
    Dragonscale Helmet, Razor Blade - 193
    Oracle, Level 2, Dispell Scroll, Path of Black Magic - 130

    CORE:
    35 Dread Legionnaires, HA, Spear, M, S, C, Banner of Courage - 390
    2x12 Repeater Auxilliaries, Shields, M, S - 162

    SPECIAL:
    26 Tower Guard, M, S, C, Beast-Bane Halberd, Banner of Blood - 440
    2x5 Harpies - 65

    RARE:
    2x1 Hydra - 180
    3x1 Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot - 80



    Deployment:


    I won the roll for deployment and opted for the side with cover (hill and a forest), giving my opponent the role of the attacker. The reasoning behind this was to try and force him into a denied flank strategy that would give me the edge in the ranged fight and give me the possibility to whittle down the Tower Guard before they hit my lines. The DE army was compact, but the Hydras need to stay within 12 inches of the general or be in serious trouble.



    The plan worked, Sebastian shunned the side with the big water feature and instead deployed on the side with the big impassable terrain, effectively dividing his forces. I redeployed my wild huntsmen out of harm using their vanguard move, and my opponent got the first turn.



    Magic: the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Guiding Hand, the Matriarch got Insect Swarm and Beast Within while for the Dread Elves the Greater Oracle took Healing Waters, Master of Stone, Oaken Throne and Summer Regrowth. The Level 2 picked Freezing Gale and Crippling Agony.



    TURN 1 – Dread Elves



    The flanking force moved up, with the centre just moving within shooting/magicrange.

    In the magic phase I let the Oaken Throne go off, then managed to dispel the Master of Stone. The Freezing gale on my Archers wasn’t cast.

    Shooting was focused on the Sylvan archers, felling five of them despite long range and cover from the forest. They passed their panic test with the help of the BSB.



    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves



    I pushed the Thicket Beasts, Dryads and Forest Guard forward towards the shooting platform and mage bunker, and played the diversion game on the right flank: the eagles landed right in front of the Tower guard, with BD/Wild Huntsmen waiting close by to counter attack.


    Magic saw an Insect Swarm go off despite the efforts of the Supreme Oracle, killing one RBT. The Briar Maidens took advantage of the lost concentration of the DE general and sneaked Luminous Bolts through, targeting the Tower Guard and killing 6 of the elven elite.


    Shooting dropped some auxiliaries, leaving the Dread Elf shooting a lot less impressive.


    TURN 2 – Dread Elves


    The rightmost Hydra declared a charge on the eagles, hoping to panic them off; thankfully, their Ld8 proved to be enough and they held their ground. The centre of the DE battle line moved back a bit, and the shooters moved into better shooting positions.


    Magic didn’t do much this turn (I think Freezing gale went off but failed to wound the archers). Shooting killed a dryad and an archer or two, my troops having better cover than the first turn.


    In combat, the hydra wounded the Forest Eagles, then killed them in pursuit. (Image is wrong here, the hydra ended up blocking the Tower Guards’ way.)


    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves



    Last turn’s maneuvering had left the central hydra 15 inches away from the Thicket Beasts. With no substantial threats to the beasts should I fail the charge, I decided that a 1-in-6 chance of winning the game was more than decent.
    Cue a 10+ roll on the charge range, and the Thicket Beasts made contact with the Hydra, and with a very clear overrun path into the Wizard Bunker. The rest of the army moved up more aggressively now, and the Briar Maidens spotted the unengaged hydra as a prime target.


    In the magic phase the Insect Swarm on the second RBT and the Beast Within on the Thicket beasts were both dispelled, leaving the Briar Maidens once again free to cast Luminous Bolts on the Tower Guard. Another 5 of the elves died, making the survivors much more manageable.


    Shooting dropped the second RBT and put 3 wounds on the Hydra (briar maidens in short range are brutal like that).

    In combat, the Thicket Beasts shrugged off the hydra’s attacks and dealt three unsaved wounds, causing the monster to flee and running it down in pursuit. This took them straight… [Read More]
  • So three games in, it was already Saturday evening and the fourth round brought us up against a team from Slovakia, the Sons of Blado. They had performed quite well in the previous rounds, and their lists were quite die-hard (including a SA monster-mash, and a WoDG list with 22 Trolls!).


    Through the magic of the pairing skills of our coach, I was paired up against Empire of Sonnstahl, avoiding the masses of Regenerating monstrosities. The list brought a healthy amount of magic, some small-arms shooting, a couple of cannons, and a boatload of fast, hard hitting units. This is something I could see myself playing, especially when you factor in the 2 attacks per knight for the Knightly orders!









    Jakub wrote:

    Jakub Klinský - Empire of Sonnstahl

    LORDS/HEROES:

    Prelate, General, Great Weapon, Blessed Armour of Frederick the Great – 131

    Archwizard, Lvl.4, Wand of Stability, Path of Wilderness – 215

    Captain, BSB, Plate Armour, Shield – 97

    Wizard, Lvl.2, Dispell Scroll, Path of Fire – 125


    CORE:
    50x Heavy Infantry, Spear, M, S, C, Banner of Swiftness – 310

    20x Heavy Infantry, M, S – 100

    2x10 State Militia, Skirmish, Bow - 70

    5x Elector cavalry, Shield, Lance – 100


    SPECIAL:
    2x1 Artillery, Cannon – 100

    2x5 Knightly Orders, M – 155

    5x Knightly Orders - 145

    2x5 Imperial Rangers – 50


    RARE:
    4x Knights of the Sun Griffon, Lance and Shield, M, S – 227

    5x Knights of the Sun Griffon, Lance and Shield, M, S, Flaming Banner – 299



    We got Secure Target as our secondary objective, and – having learned from my first game experience – I opted to put my counter far off to the left flank, in order to try and divide the enemy battle line. My opponent placed his close to the centre, so we were going to have a pretty balanced deployment:

    Left to right: Scouts, Electoral Cavalry (x2), Griffon knights, Militia (x2), Spearmen+BSB+Prelate, Scouts, Imperial Cavalry, Swordsmen+lvl4+lvl2, Griffon Knights, Electoral Cavalry.


    We traded deployment drops for a while, until I realized that he had more chaff than me and could thus dictate the way this would go; With the big unit of Spearmen deployed, I could picture where the rest of the army could go. So I took the opportunity to drop my army and get a +4 bonus to the first turn.


    Magic: The Dryad Matriarch got the Redwood Shaft and Beast within, the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Cataclysm while the Imperial Archwizard got Beast Within, Insect Swarm, Redwood Shaft and Curse of the Wildwood. The Fire wizard took Fireball and Flame Jet as his spells.



    I saw an opening in the imperial battle line through which my fast cavalry could maneuver on both flanks, putting some pressure on the knights: while they are sturdy, none of the knight units (perhaps not even the big griffon knights) can take a charge from the Wild Huntsmen and come out unscathed. Knowing that I’d get +4 on the roll, I vanguarded forward and in a position from where to march 18” right inside the enemy battle line.

    It turns out that one-in-36 actually means 99,9%: My opponent promptly rolled a 6 to begin, and I countered this with a “1”…

    Crap.



    TURN 1 – EMPIRE OF SONNSTAHL



    With his small and expendable knights within charge range (16”), my opponent declared charges on my Wild Huntsmen on both flanks, and made it in. The rest of the army moved forward in unison, not that hard-pressed to get into close combat now that the fast threat had been neutralized.


    In the magic phase I had to let a Beast Within through on the Knights fighting against the right Wild Huntsmen, but shooting went better for me: both cannons misfired, one becoming incapacitated for the entire game while the other would be able to shoot normally on the following turn.


    Combat went as planned: the Wild Huntsmen hit first, dropped three knights from each unit, but the return attacks (did I mention how cool it is, having human knights with 2 attacks each?) took their toll; the rightmost Wild Huntsmen ended up fleeing, the knights in close pursuit, while the rightmost took 4 wounds and the survivor was cut down when he tried to flee.



    TURN 1 – SYLVAN ELVES




    Right, with both of my fast heavy hitters gone so early, I had to pull some rabbits out of my hat! The shapeshifter declared a charge against the victorious knights, and they had to hold as the flee path would make them flee through 3 units, out of which some were not within BSB range. The Forest Guard charged the other knight unit, while the rest of the army moved up to try and give the Empire a good fight. The Briar Maidens moved right in front of the imperial battle line: my opponent, in trying to shield his units with the archers had made a mistake: by parking the Maidens right in front of the Militia, I could bring his entire battle line to a halt. I had to give one of the archer units a flank charge to perform that, but I was confident that the maidens could take it. The last wild huntsman rallied and… [Read More]
  • The second round win for our team pushed us slightly upwards on the tables, where we had to face another German team; By now our coach had gotten the hang of the pairing system, and I was pitted against Erik and his beautifully painted Vampire Counts:

    Erik wrote:


    LORDS/HEROES:

    Vampire Count,General,Lv.2, Heavy Amour, Shield, Ogresword, Talisman of Supreme Shielding, Dragonscale Helm, Lamia, Ancient Blood Power (Commandment), Necromancy - 435

    Necromancer Lord, Lv4, Dispel Scroll, Necromancy - 235

    Barrow King, Battle Standard Bearer, Halberd, Black Standard of Zagvozd - 149

    Fell Wraith, King Slayer - 85

    Fell Wraith, Beastbane Halberd - 80

    Fell Wraith, Banshee - 80


    CORE:
    2x25 Zombies, M, S - 90

    40 Ghouls, FCG - 395

    5 Dire Wolves, C - 50


    SPECIAL:
    2 Phantom Host - 60

    2 Great Bats - 40

    2 Great Bats - 40

    Cadaver Wagon - 80


    RARE:

    10 Wraiths, Flaming Attacks - 195

    5 Wraiths, Ghost Steeds - 150

    Shrieking Horror - 245

    2499

    Deployment/pregame:


    This seemed like a good list to battle gunlines and armies with low/no magic attacks. However, the Otherworldly part of my army was pretty happy to face the ethereal vampires.

    We got the «Capture the Flags» secondary objective, along with regular deployment. We traded deployments until I saw where the Wraiths would go, then I seized the initiative in order to get some first turn maneuvering in.


    Left to right: Banshee, Mounted Wraiths, Bats, Phantom Host, Wraiths + characters, zombies+Master Necromancer, Ghouls + BSB+ Vamp, Corpse Wagon, Zombies, Bats, Wolves, Shrieking Terror


    Left to right: Briar Maidens, Archers +Druid, Dryads+Matriarch, Thicket Beasts+BSB, Wild Huntsmen, Dancers, Shapeshifter, Forest Guard, Eagles, Dancers, Huntsmen

    The overall battle plan was to put pressure on the Ethereals with my magic missiles, focus shooting on the Shrieking Horror and try and open up the vampire battleline to get to the soft zombie underbelly. With Ws5 and a Vampire inside them, the Ghouls were to be avoided if possible.



    Magic: Druid got Luminous Bolts and Guiding Hand, Matriarch got Beast within and Insect Swarm.

    The Vampire got Invocation and Gaze of Shetesh, and the Necromancer Lord got Invocation, Dead Arise, Dance Macabre and Curse of the Dead.



    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    With the Shrieking Horror creating a 24 inch no-go zone for many of my units (and especially the Shapeshifter), I pushed forward with the Thicket Beasts up the middle and the Wild Huntsmen on the right flank, the rest of the army in close support. The placement of the Thickets opposite the ethereal units meant that the only thing that could realistically threaten them was the Ghoul unit.


    Magic saw me miscast my first spell with 4 dice, luminous bolts on the lone banshee: Erik let that through, and my miscast result meant that the Briar Maidens were no longer a mage. He was quite happy with the exchange, but at least the banshee wouldn’t worry me any longer.


    TURN 1 – Vampire Covenant


    Not wanting to face the thicket beasts head-on, the vampires didn’t declare any charges. The Ghouls moved closer to my lines, while the wraiths anchored the battle line inside the forest.

    In the magic phase I let invocations go, leading to around 15 zombies being raised per unit.I then elected to not dispel the gaze of shetesh, losing an entire unit of Wild Huntsmen to it. This left with enough dice to stop the Dance Macabre.



    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves




    The Wild Huntsmen saw an opening on the right flank, a charge against the giant bats that would lead to an overrun into the wolves behind. One of the zombie units was hanging out right behing these two units of chaff, and it had no way of getting out of trouble. Given as the objective was to capture the flags, I charged in.


    The Thicket beasts moved aggressively against the wraiths, with the Eagles stepping in front of the Ghouls for some redirection tricks. The rest of the army moved to limit the Shrieking horror’s landing spots.


    In the magic phase I got 5 dice against 4 dispel, and saw this as an opportunity to draw the scroll: the matriarch directed an Insect Swarm on the Shrieking Horror, miscast and my opponent opted to not dispel it. Thankfully, I also rolled a 10+ result and just lost all magic levels. In return, the Shrieking Horror lost 3 wounds from the 5d6 s1 attacks.

    Shooting was directed at the leftmost bat unit, but I only managed to deal 2 wounds to it.


    Combat saw the Huntsmen pop the bats and overrun into the wolves.


    TURN 2 – Vampire Covenant




    The ghouls charged the eagle, which held. In the remaining movement phase the Mounted Wraiths and the bat moved towards my archer unit, while the Shrieking Terror landed close to the rightmost bladedancers and prepared to scream. Due to the distance between the general and the phantom host, the latter did not have enough movement to redirect the Thicket Beasts.


    In the magic phase I used my scroll to dispel the [Read More]