The Novi Sad ETC Chronicles: Game 1

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  • Game 1 – Team UN

    For the first round we got to play team UN which, as I mentioned before, had several players from our Belgian tournament scene. Some of them had participated in our pre-ETC training weekend, so we were a bit worried that we’d get some rematches: that can be good (you know what you did wrong) but also can be bad (your opponent knows what he did wrong/right). In any case, I was lucky enough to play one of the non-Belgian players of team UN: Marcos, a very friendly Spanish player from Madrid.
    We got around chatting a bit and it turns out that he plays in the same clubs and events as the players from team Spain and Argentina, so I made a point of not underestimating him!

    He had brought the following Vampire Covenant list:


    Marcos wrote:


    So all in all a well-rounded vampire list based on a very powerful magic combination, with several single models that could cause headaches to my army. Our deployment was Frontline Clash and the first scenario was to be Capture the Flags, which meant that I’d have to try and go behind enemy lines to reach the zombie units that would probably hang out in the back.

    Going into the game, I had estimated this match as favorable for my Dread Elves: with no shooting and a vampire lord that is not a particularly good fighter, all I had to worry about was the magic. When I saw the spells that my opponent chose I kind of reconsidered my initial optimistic outlook: He had all the snipes (Touch of the Reaper, Hasten the Hour, Marked for Doom), and then Grave Calls, Pentagram of Pain, Breath of Corruption and Spectral Blades! The only upside was that the dreaded Necromantic staff was nowhere to be seen, so I’d only have to worry about two invocations.

    We rolled for sides and I won, opting for the side that had a small hill just outside the deployment zone. I figured that it would be a decent place to park a Kraken or a flying monster and threaten the advance of the varkolaks and the such.Marcos seized the opportunity to drop everything for first turn. This gave me a lot of options in counter-deploying, and I organized my battle line with two things in mind:

    a) I had to keep the Barrow King away from my Blades of Nabh. I had faced this build in a tournament before and he managed to munch through all of my core infantry without so much as a scratch. With the scenario being flags, I’d have to try and avoid that at all costs.
    b) I needed to avoid the Varkolaks going behind my lines with their 28” initial move.

    So this is what I came up with.






    TURN 1 – Vampire Covenant

    My vanguard move managed to bring the middle dark raiders within range for frenzy-baiting the Vampire spawn. These were turned sideways and too far away from the generals Ld, but they still managed to pass the test on their own. Then the Barrow King declared a charge on the offending fast cavalry. Not willing to draw him near my lines that fast, they fled and got away.On the flanks the varkolaks maneuvered carefully, staying out of charge range of my fast support. The vampire’s unit surged forward, with the Vampire Spawn in close support. The Dire Wolves moved up and redirected my two central krakens.
    In the magic phase I had to use all of my dice to stop the Grave Calls on the Kraken. This allowed my opponent to get off a boosted Hasten the Hour on my corsairs, but the Pegasus prince saved the wound allocated on him. Finally, the vampire raised a new unit of zombies and then raised around 10 skeletons from his unit.




    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    One of the krakens took the dire wolf bait, while the rest of the army maneuvered into position. The fleeing Dark Raiders rallied and moved up to block the Barrow King and the Vampire’s unit. I then set up a trap using my Manticore as bait; I moved him forward towards the Vampire Spawn, but keeping the Blades of Nabh in a position where he’d only get 10 attacks from the spawn due to the unit’s alignment. On the flanks I continued denying the varkolaks any space, while the remaining krakens moved up, one occupying the hill, thus zoning the Dark Coach.Finally, the Prince relocated towards the center and the corsairs did an about turn and moved backwards towards my deployment zone.
    In the magic phase I only managed to get a Deceptive Glamour on the vampiric spawn, lowering their agility. The kraken predictably killed all of the wolves.




    TURN 2 – Vampire Covenant

    The vampiric spawn took the bait and went into the Manticore, while the vampire’s unit shunned my dark raider conga and decided to hide behind it and pepper me with magic. The Barrow King joined the unit once more. The dance of the flanks continued, with the varkolaks unable to find spaceto advance.
    In the magic phase the goal was simple: dispel the Spectral Blades. I did so, and had to let a Breath of Corruption go through on the Vampire Spawn unit champion. In the ensuing combat I directed all of my attacks into said champion, but failed to kill him despite pretty good odds! The spawn retaliated, using the toxic breath on top of their attacks; thankfully the 5++ aegis kicked in and managed to keep the Manticore alive on a single wound! The BSB passed his break test and pinned the spawn in place!



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    It was now time to spring the trap: the dark raider conga charged into the small unit of newly-raised zombies, in order to enable a charge/overrun cascade. The Kraken, Pegasus Prince and Blades of Nabh all fell into the vampire spawn, hoping to deal with them before they had the time to finish off my BSB!


    With the Spawn taken care of, my weighted right flank could afford to be more aggressive against the single varkolak opposite them. On the left the Dark Raiders found a blind spot between the Coach and the Varkolak and landed there.



    In magic I managed to lower the agility of the Vampire Spawn once more, thus ensuring that they died automatically to the combined attacks of my prince, a kraken and 13 angry Blades. The Kraken now overran into the raised skeleton unit, already in combat with the Dark Raiders, and proceeded to stomp these to the ground. This gave it another overrun, this time into the Bat Swarms. The Dark Raiders reformed, still blocking the Vampire’s bunker.




    TURN 3 – Vampire Covenant

    With a kraken in their flank the undead started consolidating their forces to prepare for the second assault wave. The skeleton bunker reformed to bring the bulk of my forces to its front, and the flankers advanced a bit more towards the center. The Varkolak to my right moved back to protect the zombies’ flank.
    In the magic phase my opponent got the flux card No2, which was excellent news as it limited the spells I’d have to worry about. I let the Touch of the Reaper through on a kraken (no wounds were dealt thanks to Discipline 10) and dispelled Marked for doom that was targeting my BSB. Finally the last two dice were used to raise a new zombie block right in front of the kraken. The overrunning kraken smashed the Bat Swarms in one go, and then pivoted to face the skeleton block.




    TURN 3 – Dread Elves

    The elves sounded the attack this turn: the Yema Acolytes fell into the varkolak, with the Prince charging over the skeletons and into the zombies right behind. The victorious kraken charged the front of the skeletons: due to the different base sizes of the characters I would be able to only touch skeletons, thus pinning the vampire down. The left blade unit charged into the newly raised zombies, with a cheeky overrun past the varkolak into the (scoring) zombies’ flank. Finally, the rest of my army maneuvered. A medusa placed herself at 1” from the skeleton unit’s flank, making sure that my kraken would keep on fighting skeletons. Finally the middle Dark Raiders stepped in front of the necromancer’s zombies, ready for a charge on the following turn.
    In magic my adversary manage to stop the Crippling Fatigue, so the only spells I got through were Deceptive Glamour, lowering the Giant Bats’ movement in the process, and the Breath of Corruption on the yema champion.

    In combat things went really well for the Dread Elves: The charging acolytes tanked the Varkolak’s attacks and dealt 3 wounds back, forcing it to crumble. The blades killed all of the raised zombies, overrunning into the flank of the zombie unit in combat with the Prince. They rolled pretty well for that round, managing to kill the second zombies in one go too. They got a reform move, allowing me to further limit the skeletons’ reform. The kraken stomped at the skeletons and dodged all of their attacks, winning combat.



    TURN 4 – Endgame

    By that point the writing was on the wall: I had three blender units behind the vampire lines, the general’s unit pinned down and the Dark Coach and second varkolak were too far away from the action. My opponent tried to kill the Manticore BSB with magic, but I managed to save the wound caused by Marked for Doom, then flew him to safety.
    On my turn 4 I combo charged the necromancer’s bunker with my Pegasus (flank) and the dark raiders (front), crumbling the unit in one go. The kraken got a flank charge into the dark coach, ridding me of that menace, and leaving just the single varkolak who was being redirected by the second unit of dark raiders. On turn 5 all of my hard hitters were free to pile into the skeleton fight, which resulted in this:



    Needless to say, the unit popped, taking all the characters with it! With just a varkolak surviving, the game ended in a 20-0 Dread Elf victory!

    AFTERMATH:

    What a way to start the ETC! I feel like this game could have been way more difficult for me had the Vampire Spawn charge managed to kill my BSB (however small the probability of that happening). But ultimately, I think that what made things easy for my elves was the deployment strategy.
    I was worried that given the Capture the Flags scenario my opponent would corner, using terrain to cover a flank (that’s why I took the side with the impassable), forcing me to assault his lines frontally. Doing so would see me come face to face with 2 Varkolaks, a Dark Coach and an unkillable Barrow King. While maneuvering into position my adversary would have had plenty of time to kill my kraken with his superior magic.
    By dropping his infantry blocks centrally and using the varkolaks as flank guards, he played right into my army’s strengths and allowed me a safer game.

    The rest of the matches finished generally in our favor, one notable exception being our fellow Belgian mate @bolard using his Carnosaur to great effect and forcingour highborn elf general to concede a 1-19 loss in a very exciting game! When all was said and done, we had managed to score the maximum margin win: 100-60 for Belgium on round 1, and off to the high tables! There we would get to face team Austria, who had also gotten a convincing round 1 victory.

    Stay tuned for the second report, a most enjoyable game of chess against a familiar savage sage...

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Comments 4

  • Bobo -

    A thrilling report full of flair and stylish smash-n-grab as always. A pleasure to read, thank you!

  • Uthegen -

    Thanks for the report. Especially the thoughts on why you made certain decission

  • Marchosias -

    There is no kill like overkill! :)
    Thank you for the report, awesome read as usual.

  • Martins9thAge -

    How do you like to crush vampires eh jajajj
    looking forward to read the game against Eggs and see what happend there