The Salamanca ETC Chronicles: Game 6

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  • In the last round of the tournament we’d get to face Latvia: these guys are relative newcomers to the ETC scene, but they had a couple of Russian mecenaries with past tournament experience. At this point everyone was getting tired, so memory of the game might be a bit hazy.

    I got to play a gentleman named Roman and his Vampire army:

    Roman wrote:

    Vampire Count, Von Karnstein, General; The Dead Arise, Wizard Apprentice, Level 1, The Evocation,Heavy Armour, Shield, Dragonscale Helm, Storm Caller, The Dead Arise
    Necromancer Apprentice, Level 1, The Evocation
    Necromancer Apprentice, Level 1, The Evocation
    31 Skeletons, Spear, Veteran Magic Standard, FCG, War Standard
    30 Skeletons, Spear, FCG
    20 Zombies
    30 Zombies, Standard, Musician
    1 Altar of Undeath
    1 Altar of Undeath, Dark Tome
    2 Great Bats
    10 Wraiths
    3 Vampire Knights
    2xShrieking Horror

    Going into the game, a couple of mates from other countries warned me that the team was notorious for playing slowly. So during the entire game, I kept nudging Roman to play a bit faster, as he was taking a lot of time for each move. After the game, he revealed that he was actually a replacement player, and that he didn’t have much experience with the army, which is why he took so much time. I kind of felt bad, since my pressure may have lessened his enjoyment of the game, so I’ll use this space to apologize once more to him (in case he’s reading).

    We got to play Flank Attack and Secure Target (that makes what? 5/6 games?) and my adversary won the roll for choosing sides. He promptly parked his Shrieking Horrors behind the immense impassable terrain in the middle, with his troops guarding either side and properly covered by the Altars of Undeath.

    I opted to put my objective on the top left corner, as far away from his deployment zone as possibble. That meant that he’d have to deviate one scoring unit from his battleline to claim it, making my chances of killing it with something fast (kestrels, BD) substantial.

    For spells, my opponent got both Evocation snipes, the Spectral Blades and the Evocation trait. I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon, while the Matriarch got Master of Stone and Entwining Roots.

    After alternating deployments for a while, I forced my opponent to go first by dropping my entire army. I pushed the kestrels to the left forward, within range of the Shrieking Horrors’ scream. I wanted to bait them out of hiding to be able to deal with them swiftly. As long as they hid behind that impassable I couldn’t really dare to press the attack.

    TURN 1

    The Vampires aren’t pressed: movement is minimal on their side. The Kestrel bait was unfortunately refused, and in the magic phase a huge amount of zombies and skeletons were raised.
    On my turn, I began hatching a plan: even at 60-strong, the spearmen will fall to a combo-charge from the BSB’s retinue and the treefather. So the plan was to storm the right flank with them, while trying to keep the left flank at bay with minimal casualties.
    With 3 magic missiles, I tried to whittle down the wraiths to the left: only the Insect swarm went through, and it failed to cause any wounds. My shooting didn’t have any good targets, so they took some potshots at the skeletons.

    TURN 2

    Again, movement for the vampires was minimal. A good magic phase saw my opponent raise the right skeletons and the zombies to full strength, and then he even managed to conjure a free zombie unit on the left flank.
    In response, both Kestrel Knight units performed outflanking maneuvers: on the right I wanted to pull the shrieking horror out of position, while on the left the target was the vampire knights. In the middle, the treefather and dancers both advanced a bit towards the skeleton spearmen.
    Magic was uneventful, as was shooting.

    TURN 3

    The vampire knights took the bait but failed to get in. The 60-strong spear block advanced towards my bladedancers on the right. Magic was now focused on raising the other skeleton block, and they too reached the maximum level.

    This turn I sent my right treefather in the skeletons, making it in. The bladedancers bid their time: still enough turns for them to commit, but I’d rather not risk losing the scoring unit to lucky skeleton rolls. On the left flank I couldn’t declare a legal charge on the vampire knights, which kind of ruined my plans for the kestrels.
    I moved my left treefather within the Shrieking Horror’s threat range, making sure that he’d have to land on the ruins to be able to scream at me. The Kestrels, small Bladedancers and Forest Guard all moved in support. To the right, I gave up my other kestrels to the shrieking horror to pull him out of position: I didn’t want the beastie to set up any flank charges onthe treefather.
    All of my magic was aimed at the left Shrieking Horror, but failed to wound the monster.
    In combat the treefather took a wound, but held his ground.

    TURN 4

    The vampires took the kestrel/treefather bait, and the shrieking horror went into the ruins without suffering any wounds from DT. Roman did a great job of redirecting my units with the zombies and bats, putting me in a difficult position. On the right side, the Shrieking horror moved up and screamed at the kestrels, killing one instantly. The right Shrieking Horror took aim at the treefather and did 3 wounds.
    In combat, the treefather kept hacking away at skeletons, dropping them down to around 35.

    At that point, we were already running out of time: we were told we’d get to play another full turn or the whole team would suffer penalties.(So no more pictures!)

    With the objective hanging on the balance and the left flank close to being overrun, this called for desperate measures: The right bladedancers went into the skeletons: with around 30 attacks I was hoping to be able to kill the skeletons in one go and overrun into the altar of undeath behind them. On the left flank, I wanted to make sure that a) the scoring units would not move on the objective and b) that the shrieking horror would not get to scream at the treefather again. So the kestrels and bladedancers went into the bat screen and overran into the Horror and the skeleton warriors respectively. The treefather moved up to threaten the objective for the last turn, while the kestrels on the right moved as far away from the shrieking horror as possible.
    In the magic phase I managed to put awaken the beast on the charging bladedancers. Shooting once more failed to impress.
    On the left flank, the bats were killed and the kestrels fell into the shrieking horror, but lost 3 wounds to difficult terrain going in. On the right, some very bad rolls meant that despite having s5 and a ton of attacks, when the dust cleared 5 skeletons remained.

    TURN 5

    This is the turn when the Altars went to town on the frail elves: s5 hits dealt enormous amounts of damage, crippling both units of bladedancers and the left kestrels before they got to strike against the Shrieking Horror. The vampire knights charged my treefather, but in doing so moved away from the objective!
    In combat, the shrieking horror easily dealt with the last kestrel, while the skeletons broke the 2 bladedancers that remained after the 6 s5 hits of the altar of undeath.The zombies fell to the flank of the BSB’s bladedancers, meaning that despite the fact that I’d cleared the skeletons I wound’t be able to charge the altar on my last turn.
    The vampire knights fluffed their rolls and the treefather was left standing on one wound! He killed a knight in retaliation.
    On my last turn the right treefather charged the altar of undeath but wasn’t able to punch through its regeneration save. The archers moved up on the right objective, securing it for the sylvans.

    All of my magic was now focused on healing the treefather to the left, which succeeded. He not only survived the game, but also managed to bring the vampire knights below half strength, bringing the game to a close.
    Counting points, the vampires had gotten slightly more VPs but the SE had the scenario, making the game a 12-8 victory for the elves!


    This vampire covenant list is a nightmare to face, especially in such a closed game: while my opponent kept his altars and screaming horrors tightly packed and around the Stormcaller vampire, there wasn’t much I could do from afar to deal with them. I feel like I played the game well enough, focusing on the scenario and on not losing more points than I gained. My opponent also did a good job of keeping his options open with the screaming horrors, and not taking the easy baits I set for him early on.
    The only mistake he made was going for the treefather charge with his vampire knights, and that cost him the objective ( in his defense, the treefather was positioned so as to threaten the objective, but I wasn’t certain I’d be able to make the charge.)

    The Altars of undeath are deadly from turn 5 onward, especially against MSU forces such as my own; The rule of thumb is to deal with the altars before turn 4, or suffer the consequences. I was hoping I’d get to charge the altar with the bladedancers, but dice were dice and I wiped out the skeletons one turn too late.
    Ultimately, the fact that we played 5 turns worked to my favor, as a sixth turn would have probably seen me take even more losses and even lose the scenario. (It wasn’t for lack of nudging, nor – in hindsight – on purpose on my opponent’s part: he was trying to weigh all of his options so as not to make any mistakes)

    The rest of the team picked up the slack and the round ended 94-66 in our favor! So a finish on a positive note for team Belgium!

    I hope you enjoyed this series, ETC 2017 aftermath and list discussion to come soon!

    Take care,


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Comments 4

  • ButterfaceMcSandwich -

    Great reports! Very fun to read and learn a few tricks! :)

  • Laik -

    Very nice reports - read all of them, well played @ the ETC,

    just a queston about kestrels charging into Shriek- "but lost 3 wounds to difficult terrain going in" - what was that piece of terrain that gave them such a devastating DT's?

    • SmithF -

      It was ruins. Although your question makes me wonder: do they need to take the test, being skirmishers?
      Thanks for the praise, I'd really love it if you could do some writeups of your own. Playing SE at the top tables against top teams is something that I'd like to read about. *nudge*

    • Laik -

      It's very often that we remind something after the battle :).

      I'm not too good in writing reports, and I' don't have pictures, but I'll try to write something brief this week