Team Tournament in Lille: A Sylvan Tale. Game 5

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  • For the final round of the tournament, we would have to fight the Hot n’ Bash team! They are all tournament veterans, and frequent contenders for the ETC team qualification. They had lined up gunline EoS led by our dear friend and former teammate @Luthor Huss , fighty Orcs, minotaur-heavy Beast Herds and, finally, pyromancy-totting Infernal Dwarves!

    Team strategy required that I take on the chaotic stunties, allowing other, better matches for my teammates. Pierre @Kerathop , my opponent, had brought the following:

    Kerathop wrote:

    So the dreaded Pyro/Infernal Icon combo, plus an Alchemy adept, decent shooting, and three good counter-push elements in the form of the Kadims, Tauruk and theEngine. Our deployment type was Dawn Attack and the objective was Secure Target.

    Going into the game, I knew that just avoiding and playing safe would probably see me take a medium loss, as the ranged output of the Pyromancy Prophet is simply too great, and my opponent had numerous scoring units with which to contest or claim the objectives during the last few turns.
    So I’d have to be aggressive in my approach, for two reasons: first to limit the number of turns that my heavy hitters would be exposed to pyromancy magic, and second to try and keep the ID away from the objective markers, while my scorers advanced towards them.

    To help in this regard I’d need as many magic tricks as possible, so I took Forest Embrace, Awaken the Beast, Chilling Howl, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit as my spells. The Alchemy Prophet chose the Quicksilver Lash and Word of Iron, and the Pyromancy Prophet got Haze of Magnesia, Fireball, Cascading Fire,Pyroclastic Flow and Scorching Salvo, for a grand total of 5 damage-dealing spells!

    My opponent won the roll for picking sides and he placed his objective marker 12” from his deployment zone, near the “gap” of my deployment. Then I spotted an opening: My right-hand corner (the one where I couldn’t deploy troops) had a point that respected the secure target requirements of being more than 12” from my deployment zone and at least 24” from my enemy’s marker. So I chose that spot, since I had a hill to protect my scorers until the last minute, as well as being able to keep all the scoring units packed instead of pitting a single isolated dryad unit against a unit of Flintlocks in the far flank.

    Then, for the first time after a long time playing Sylvan Elves, I elected to drop my entire army to begin he game! We ended up, predictably, with a very heavily weighed right flank: I didn’t mind the 18” gap in my deployment, since my units had the mobility to cover that distance and keep the enemy from outflanking me.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    The big eagle unit with the Prince flew forward and took cover behind the obstacle inthe middle of the board. With their height and footprint they’d provide a shield from pyromancy for the first ID turn, allowing my weaker units to advance unscathed. To the left, the Kestrels performed an outflanking maneuver, still staying out of sight/range of the pyromancy wizard. Finally, the right kestrels moved back (my opponent had done a great job of blocking every possible landing zone for them) , and the second unit of Eagles was shoved forward to provoke a Frenzy check on the Kadims. My scoring dryads started the long slog towards the secure target points, and both the Druid’s retinue and the BSB’s Dancers stayed behind the relative safety of the hill.

    In magic my opponent used his binding scroll on the Chilling Howl, then dispelled the Totemic Summon. This left me just enough dice to put Break the Spirit on the Orc Slaves right in front of the Eagles. Shooting destroyed the leftmost unit of wolf riders, and the ball was in the ID court!

    TURN 1 – Infernal Dwarves

    The Kadims passed their frenzy check, and no charges were declared. Dwarven movement was cautious, only the Kadims moving forward with the Tauruks close behind. My adversary took great care at preventing any of my flyers from flying over his lines, but this meant that he’d need to stay relatively static.

    In the magic phase I used the Binding Scroll on the Blaze Attribute, ensuring that I’d only be getting a single extra D3 S4 hits and not two per spell cast! Magic opened with a high roll of Haze of Magnesia on the Eagles with Prince, and I used all of my dispel dice to make sure that this didn’t go through: the 2d3 s4 and the rerolls to all future flaming spells was roughly the equivalent of letting two other spells through! The Burning Embers and Pyroclastic Flow were successfully cast on the Eagles, resulting in a total of 8 unsaved wounds. The birds passed their panic check, then took another 3 wounds from shooting; the Hard Cover from the Obstacle they were behind provided very decent protection!

    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    After surviving the initial barrage, the Eagle Prince successfully solo-charged into the immortal bunker. The leftmost kestrels attempted a long flank charge on the flintlock citadel guard, but failed their roll. With the wizard bunker tied up for at least a turn, it was time to go on the offensive: The two remaining eagles, after having absorbed the entire shooting and magic phase of the ID, flew right in front of the Infernal Engine to prevent a supporting flank charge against my Prince on the following turn, while the big unit of eagles moved in front of the Kadim Incarnates, using their height and footprint to completely block their line of sight, thus protecting all of my smaller troops from flying charges. In the meantime, the rest of the army maneuvered around them and set traps!

    Magic was aimed at the Forest Prince, and I managed to cast Awaken the Beast on him: this meant that his attacks would be now S8 AP4 even after the charge, and also the Eagle would get S6 ap2. Shooting only managed a couple of wounds on the leftmost flintlock axes.

    In combat, the Prince got challenged out by the unit champion and happily slaughtered him for maximum overkill. He won combat, but the stubborn immortals didn’t budge.

    TURN 2 – Infernal Dwarves

    The Kadims, now outside of BSB and general range, failed their frenzy check and charged into the Eagles. The infernal Engine fell upon the Forest Eagles and the Slave orcs charged the small Bladedancer unit that had in the meantime manned the wall in the middle. The Flintlocks on both flanks maneuvered into firing positions and the Tauruk stayed in close support of the Incarnates.

    With both mages engaged in combat, magic was a lot more manageable: I had to let a Scorching Salvo through, which cost me a couple of Dancers and some archers, then dispelled the Word of Iron that was aimed at the Immortals. Shooting was uneventful, due to the combination of penalties for shooting against the Kestrels.

    The Infernal Engine managed to kill off the birds with its impact hits, and pivoted a bit to take a good look at my Prince. In the Immortal fight, the Prince challenged but my opponent declined and lost his BSB’s abilities: this meant that I could strike at the Pyromancy Prophet, killing him in one go with my Prince’s attacks. The Eagle put a wound on the Alchemy prophet, but in return the Immortals, boosted by Battle Focus, caused two unsaved wounds on my general! The immortals passed their Break Test with ease, and the fight went on. The bladedancers fluffed against the orcs, only killing 5! In return, they got a couple of casualties, resulting in a tied combat. Finally, the Kadims dealt a ton of damage to the eagles, who still survived and put a wound back! The last remaining eagle fled, and the Kadims were forced to pursue after a failed restrain test. They caught the brave bird, but their path took them straight into the bladedancers waiting behind…

    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves

    The kestrels swooped in to help out the Bladedancers left and right: one unit flanked the Orcs, while the other flank charged the Kadims. With the bulk of my forces incombat and all my redirectors dead, the rest of the army stayed relatively put while the adults did the “talking”…

    In combat the priority was now to boost my Bladedancers fighting the Kadims: a couple of very good rolls saw me get off both the Beast Awakens AND the Forest Embrace on them, greatly increasing their chances of survival and success!

    Shooting was once more of little consequence, dropping another Flintlock here and there. In combat, though, things were more intense: the charging Kadim found themselves facing a ton of S5 Ap3 attacks from the Dancers and the Kestrels, and it was only through very good 5++ aegis saves that a single Kadim survived my units’ attacks. Between its attacks and the volcanic embrace a kestrel and three Dancers died, but the 15 wounds I had caused were enough to destroy the last survivor through combat resolution. The Eagle Prince struck once more, this time killing the Alchemy prophet and ridding me of all the ID magic; the Immortals outdid themselves again and landed two more unsaved wounds, slaying my general. Finally, the Kestrels vs Orc fight was very one-sided, and only 5 orcs survived my attacks; they fled away from the Dancers and escaped pursuit, the kestrels landing half an inch short from the closest Flintlock unit!

    TURN 3 –Infernal Dwarves

    The Tauruk declared a charge against the victorious Kestrels, but the elven elite decided discretion is the better part of valor and fled to safety. The Tauruks’ attemptto redirect into the Bladedancers fell short, and they were left stranded. The engine and the two flintlock units to the left all maneuvered in position to shoot at the left kestrels, and the fleeing orcs failed to rally and fled out of the table.
    The combined shooting efforts of the ID resulted in two dead kestrels, but the sylvan elite passed their panic check with ease.

    TURN 4 – Sylvan Elves

    The two kestrels charged the furthest flintlocks, moving to relative safety, while the Bladedancers attempted and succeeded a charge against the Tauruk. The fleeing kestrels rallied behind the hill, and the dryads moved towards the objectives.

    Magic saw me put Awaken the Beast on the Bladedancers once more (in the last two magic phases my 3d6 rolling was clearly above average!), and shooting forced the second wolf rider unit to flee (eventually out of the table). The boosted dancers slaughtered all ten tauruks, and reformed to face the only scoring unit on that side of the table, the small flintlocks. To the left, the charging Kestrels dealt four wounds and took a couple back, but the four remaining citadel guard held their ground!

    TURN 4 – Infernal Dwarves

    By now there was not much that the ID could do: the engine pushed 3d6” towards my druid’s archer bunker, falling short of them, and the rightmost flintlocks reformed to shoot at the BSB’s dancers. Said shooting was quite effective, killing three dancers!

    In combat the Flintlock/Kestrel fight went on, with a couple of casualties for the dwarves vs a single unsaved wound. The dwarves still held and fought on though.

    TURN 5 –Sylvan Elves

    The BSB’s retinue charged into the Flintlock Citadel guard, taking a couple of casualties from the Stand and Shoot (only 3 models remained from the unit, now!). The kestrels and dryads moved in to support them in that fight, while the small dancer unit stepped right in front of the engine to allow the archers to escape.

    In magic the Beast Awakens was dispelled, but the sylvan hereditary was cast on the dancers, ensuring their survival (5’s to get hit, rerolling 6s). The ensuing combat saw me kill 5 flintlocks for a single casualty back, only leaving the champion and BSB in the fight. The lone kestrel finished off the two remaining flintlocks and reformed.

    TURN 5 – Infernal Dwarves

    The engine slammed into the dancers right in front of it, killing them to an elf, and the last flintlock unit turned and shot down the last kestrel. In the BSB fight, the flintlocks couldn’t get past the 3++ aegis of the dancers, but stil lfought on.

    TURN 6

    In the closing steps of the game the right Kestrels and the Dryads both fell into the flintlock/Dancer fight, wiping out the dwarves and saving my BSB. The Archers and Druid went their separate ways, in order to force my opponent to pick between charging the archers or trying to snipe the druid. In my magic phase said druid put Chilling Howl on the Engine, and cast the Forest Embrace on himself for some cover. In the closing turn of the game, the Engine elected to try and shoot at my druid, but the penalties on to-hit and to-wound made sure that the elven mage survived unscathed!

    When all was said and done, the Secure Target objective was in elven hands and the Infernal Dwarves had suffered more casualties than the sylvans, resulting in a 16-4 win!


    The pre-game/deployment/opening sequence of this game is one that I’m really happy with, as I believe that it really made life very difficult for the infernal dwarves right off the bat! The sacrifice of the Forest Prince, while it cost me dearly in terms of points, made sure that the rest of the army would survive long enough to score the big points by killing the ID hard hitters.

    I think that this game illustrates quite nicely what I love about the big Forest Eagle units, and how they can accomplish that no other SE unit can. Their footprint and large height means that against pyromancy or other magic-missile intensive paths you can block line of sight to your other, more fragile and expensive units. They also work wonders when it comes to blocking line of sight of flyers(as seen here with the Kadims), thus effectively chaffing them. Finally, you’d be surprised by how often elite units fail to kill all 5 of the blocking eagles, and are forced to take a test to restrain pursuit. In a way, the eagles can still pull off the tricks that we used to frenzy bait enemy units back in the legacy game’s early versions.

    In discussions with other SE players, our army’s vulnerability to pyromancy and other magic missiles in general is often brought up. I think that our best tool against such builds is active mage-hunting. Having played Wood Elves for a big part ofthe 7th and 8th edition, when spells were an even bigger issue and the enemy had a lot more casting dice, I remember coming to the conclusion that the only way to reliably shut down a magic phase is to kill the mages.
    The same strategy can work wonders in the current game, especially with an army capable of a lot of first-round close combat damage such as SE. Looking back at my five games, the common denominator is that the enemy wizards were always engaged in combat by turn 2 or 3, allowing my troops to avoid the worst of the magical damage and depriving the enemy of precious combat buffs. Worst case scenario, a wizard engaged in combat cannot cast magic missiles, so even if the assassination attempt fails you’ve bought yourself a turn of respite.

    In the end, with the 16 points that I gained from this game, plus another stellar performance from all of the team mates, we managed to get the maximum points for the final round, bringing us to a perfect final result with 5/5 wins. This meant that the Belgian Chocolates (our team) had won the tourney for the third consecutive year!

    As I said in the beginning, Tanguy ran a very smooth and enjoyable tournament as always, and we thank him for it! This year the event was bigger than ever, with a total of 14 teams and a very high level of players and well-designed lists. While the games were all hard-fought, there were never any problems and I think that the organizers’ demeanor and correct judging when required plays a huge part in this. In the end, no team managed to claim one of the “Bounties” that were announced beforehand:

    -A free round of trappist beer to the team that would stop our team on its tracks
    -A free round of (you guessed it) trappist beer to the team whose player would beat the current record for fastest 20-0 victory (played, not conceded). For the curious, the actual record is 70 minutes and is held by none other than @Luthor Huss !

    So the event was a huge success, great fun, and the perfect start of the 2019 tournament season. Our next stop will be the Luxembourg Bash Masters in March, where we’ll have to defend last year’s title against an array of seasoned tournament veterans!

    I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed playing these games!

    Until the next time,


    4,768 times read

Comments 10

  • john doc -

    excellent report and very amusing. Good job

  • Inquisitor Zorn -

    Nice Smith, please give us a unit rating feedback :)

  • BondageGoatZombie -

    Thank you, great report as always. Will you be playing SE again next tournament?

    • SmithF -

      I'll be indeed bringing the SE to the Luxembourg Bash Masters, and potentially to the ETC if I'm selected.
      So lots of SE action for this blog!

  • humblr -

    [quote]the common denominator is that the enemy wizards were always engaged in combat by turn 2 or 3[/quote]
    Having their wizard in close combat so early on, especially when you see how close and tight your opponents were playing... It shows some misplay from their part.

    • SmithF -

      But isn't this true in any game of T9A? One of the player has to make mistakes, so that the other can win? :D

      I understand what you mean, but this has also something to do with the playstyle: a couple of my frequent gaming buddies have remarked that I always try to find and exploit enemy mistakes and that my lists usually reflect that.

      I'm not sure that the armies I faced can keep their wizards safe from 5 flying threats for more than 2 turns, all the while retaining part of their usefulness.

  • Bobo -

    A joy to read as always.... and always a lesson or three, even for me. ;)
    Thanks for taking the time.

  • PrinceCharming -

    5 mins too long to break the record grrr i was close! Hahha

    • BondageGoatZombie -

      Is your list on the forum somewhere? And maybe some conclusion after the tournament? I'd be very much interested.

      Or why don't you follow Smith's example and post reports too :)