Conquest 2017 - Game 3

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  • Game 3 – Saurian Ancients


    After two wins in two games, I found myself on table 2, playing against @PrinceCharming and his Saurian Ancients. Nico doesn’t need a big introduction, so I’ll just repeat what I mentioned on my blog last year: he can play any given army and get results. He is one of the best players in our tournament scene, and my only saving grace was that he was coming out of a 6-month gaming hiatus.

    Another important thing to know about my opponent is that we have a history: being an ETC teammate, we did get some practice games last year. The games always ended in me winning due to whacky dice rolls, despite Nico’s better strategies and efforts! So we’d have to see if this streak of luck continued.


    His list was the following:




    Three taurosaurs with druidism support, two Warlord cowboys and cheap resilient scoring core. To make matters worse, we got Capture the Flags and Refused flank as scenario!

    We traded deployment drops for a bit, then I opted for a full drop to be able to use the kestrels aggressively. My opponent deployed his saurian warriors hugging the table edge, making it clear that it would be the Taurosaurs that would do the heavy lifting.

    For magic, I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon for the druid, while the matriarch got Healing waters and Master of Stone. The skink priest took Master of Stone, Summer Regrowth and Entwining Roots.




    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    With the first turn guaranteed, I moved up my kestrels to threaten the backline: the right unit stayed behind the impassable terrain up the middle, reforming 2-wide and eyeing that shaman-bsb bunker. In the middle I decided to bide my time, still using the trees and dancers to prevent any too-aggressive movement on Nico’s part.

    Magic started with a lowroll, which allowed me to cast a totemic summon behind the enemy lines. Shooting put a single wound on the left Ramphodons, their 3+ armour save proving too hard for the black arrows.


    TURN 1 – Saurian Ancients



    All of the saurian warriors wheeled to face my incoming kestrels, the left Taurosaur and the Ramphodons moved up to shoot my left kestrels. The two cowboys and the remaining two taurosaurs moved up. The shaman jumped ship to a safer bunker.

    The combined efforts of magic and shooting didn’t amount for much, since I made 4+ saves like crazy on the leftmost kestrels!




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves



    Both kestrel units charged: the left ones went for the closest saurian block, aided by the recently summoned totemic beast, while the right ones went straight for the BSB bunker. Both made it in.

    The rest of the line stayed put, with the exception of the leftmost treefather, who moved out of the charge arc of the cowboy.

    In the magic phase, my opponent had to let the master of stone and the ring of fire on the ramphodons to the left: two of the beasts were killed. With 4 dice remaining against my opponent’s 5, I opted for a totemic beast summon: getting 5,5,5 and a 6 meant that even with 5 dice it was very difficult to dispel! A second totemic beast appeared right in the backfield.




    In combat, the kestrels and totemic beast killed 7 saurian warriors for no casualties back. The saurians were caught in pursuit, and the kestrels slammed into the flank of the bsb/saurian/kestrel fight. This resulted in a dead BSB, and four more dead saurians. Still being steadfast, the saurians held.



    TURN 2 – Saurian Ancients



    The turn started with a failed stupidity test on the enemy general! Things had taken a turn for the worst for my opponent, so he went on the offensive: he sent a unit of saurian warriors into the flank of my kestrels, moved up his cowboy on the left and the three taurosaurs for turn 3 charges.

    In the magic phase I managed to stop both regrowth and the Jade staff, ensuring an easy fight for the Kestrels.

    In combat, the kestrels rolled almost perfectly, killing the entire (depleted) saurian unit as well as dealing a couple of casualties to the flank. Against all odds, the saurians lost but held their ground.


    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves



    In an attempt to open the game, Nico gave me a flank charge on the Engine Taurosaur with my big dancers, and the second taurosaur lined up for an overrun charge too. After some deliberation, I took the bait: the dancers went in, and so did the treefather: Needing a 4 for the treefather, I proceeded to roll snake eyes and fail horribly. The big guy also took a stand-and-shoot wound for his trouble. This was bad news, as the dancers were now sitting ducks for the saurian cowboy nearby.




    The two totemic beasts charged into the saurians in combat, as did the victorious kestrels. Finally, the forest guard took the ramphodon bait.

    In the magic phase I realized the error in my movement: I was too far away from the combat to cast the Beast Awakens, meaning that my dancers had even less chance of killing the Engine. I had to settle for a boosted Regeneration save on the dancers, healing the wound off the Treefather.

    In combat the kestrel/totemic beast duo made short work of the saurian warriors and pursued off the table. The bladedancers went for extra attack, and managed to put 5 wounds on the beast: it was not enough, and the big cow stomped 2 dancers to the ground before passing its stubborn Ld test. The forest guard killed the ramphodon and reformed to face the saurian warlord.


    TURN 3 – Saurian ancients



    With all 3 scoring units gone, the saurians went on the offensive: The right taurosaur slammed into the treefather, the saurian warlord flanked my big dancer unit. After a bit of deliberation, the other cowboy refrained from frontally charging the spears and instead moved around them to hunt the archers.

    In magic I stopped both the Throne and the Jade staff, but had to let through a Regrowth on the Engine.

    The charging taurosaur managed to put four wounds on the Treefather between impacts, monster attacks and skink s3 swings. The tree attempted to retaliate but failed horribly. At least, he passed his Ld test and stuck around for a turn.




    In the big combat, the dancer champion challenged and the warlord had to accept. The unit went for the fear dance, since I didn’t want to lose the s4 Ap1 attacks: between the BSB’s spear and the ton of BD attacks, the engine dropped dead. In the challenge, the champion managed to cause an unsaved wound! The warlord retaliated, but thanks to the Distracting from the spear he couldn’t hit the elf! Losing combat by a couple of points, the Warlord turned tail and ran! The BD couldn’t catch him, but they fell into the ramphodons sitting right behind the combat.


    TURN 4



    The kestrels returned from pursuit and moved away from danger, while on the left the archers and treefather turned their attention to the taurosaur. To the right, the small
    bladedancers couldn’t quite get into the treefather/taurosaur combat, so they had to settle for a maneuver to get them ready for a flank charge on the following turn.




    Through magic and shooting, the left taurosaur was reduced to a couple of wounds. One wound was healed off the Treefather on the right, too.

    In combat, the taurosaur put a wound on the treefather (ward save/armour performed admirably here), for two wounds back into the dino. The taurosaur passed its Ld test and held its ground. The bladedancers made short work of the ramphodons, but failed to roll high enough to catch the fleeing warlord.




    In my opponent’s turn, the warlord would rally but magic would once again fare poorly. The Taurosaur in combat failed to even hit my treefather, who crush attacked if for 2 more wounds.In an unexpected move, the left warlord used the Egg of the Quetzal and attempted to assassinate my Druid who had stepped out of his unit last turn: a poor roll to wound saw the careless elven mage survive against all odds!


    With my bladedancers ready to flank, the last taurosaur down to 2 wounds and the kestrels/dancers free to roam in the backfield, my opponent called the game!

    20 – 0 win for the Sylvan Elves!




    AFTERMATH:


    Confirming Nico’s saying that I’m his cryptonite, my dice were on fire this game: I was casting spells with really high rolls, got the combat rolls that I needed with the Kestrels and the dancers, saving where I had to save. The kestrels were pivotal in winning this, since they took out the enemy scoring units and forced my opponent to commit at all costs.

    Discussing the battle afterwards, we both agreed that risking the BSB was a mistake, as was the «pincer» approach: taurosaurs work extremely well in pairs, and even more so when there’s three of them. Had Nico deployed all of them on one flank, I’d have been in a very precarious position.

    As is always the case when playing a good opponent with a carefully constructed list, it was luck that decided the outcome: Instead of a stalemate, I walked away with a huge win.


    When the dust cleared, I ended with 50/60 battle points! This is a result that I’m very happy about, especially since two of my games were against ETC-level opponents.

    With full painting/soft scores, I ended up getting second place overall! I was one point behind the first spot, which was in fact taken by a UD MSU army! (@Nicreap and @Oncebitten would be proud!)


    LIST OVERVIEW:


    A couple of mates pointed out that I keep playing Sylvan Elves like green Beast Herds and that I should take the plunge and go full BH one of these days! While this isn’t entirely true, I agree that the list takes a lot of people by surprise: they expect more shooting/fleeing and less in-you-face charging.

    I struggled to find a list that fits my playstyle in v1.3, since the abundancy of Pyromancy, bowline armies and superior MSU (OK, I’m looking at you!) meant that any classic SE build suffers greatly against half of the opponents you regularly see at a tourney. Medium-sized units and the sturdy trees seem to be a decent alternative, allowing me to play an aggressive game without fear of losing half my army to a Scorching Salvo.


    Everything has its role in the list, even the lowly Dryad bunker and the Forest Guard spearelves: while the 10 spells in the form of the Ring/Shamanism/Druidism/Treesinging may seem like a lot, they offer flexibility in the magic phase. They allow me to use the Druidism path which otherwise is too restrictive on its own, especially given the lack of a signature spell and the fact that Spirits of the Wood and Entwining Roots are very situational.


    The list still has several bad matchups, but in this tournament I was lucky enough to not run into any of them. I’ll be taking the same list to the ETC, so stay tuned for more updates and fully-fledged reports from Salamanca, Spain!


    Until the next time,

    Smith

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