Princip, better known as 'Black Venom', spied upon the approaching Caimans from a forest with a wicked smile. Ignorant of his presence, they would be dead before they knew it. He came to like his new young and cunning commander, Lord Drakon. Fearless while patient and calm, Lord Drakon, commander of the XIII Legion, was a different sort of noble he usually encountered.
He had introduced the teachings of Nabh to his legion, and the last months Spartan hoplites had been recruited to drill the legionnaires to a new level of discipline and deadly force. It was this vision, genius mindset and firm belief in Nabh that had attracted Princip to this expedition towards undiscovered regions. So show his Spartan bravery to the legion, Lord Drakon had come to battle with only his underwear and his hatred.
Enough of this, Princip reminded himself, it is time to perform his duty. He and captain Khaled had to create a diversion of the left flank of the enemy forces. They had strategically fortified themselves behind a large cliff, and in order to overrun their positions, he and Khaled with his corsairs had to lure the fast troops of the enemy towards them. After a deep breath, Black Venom experienced a rush of ephoria, and rushed into the darkness of the forest, ready for the kill.
After a long period of list building I am back into playing the actual game. Yesterday I faced my nemesis DeGroteBaas yet again, to get my revanche after he massacred me last battle, already several months ago. As I will be attending some small tournaments and other more serious games soon, I was eager to test out my newest list.
Lord Drakon - Cult Priest, Nabh
Khaled the Collector - Captain, Battle Standard, Manticore, LHAS, Talisman of Shielding, Beastmaster's Lash
Zlatan - Captain, Fleet Commander, Pegasus, LHAS, Death Cheater
Princip - Assassin, Bloody Murder, Paired Weapons, Bloodroot, Midnight Cloak
30 Spartans, Spears, S, Academy Banner
29 Spartans, Spears, S, Academy Banner
10 Corsairs, Vanguard
Divine Altar, Paired Weapons
WIP Spartans with Lord Drakon (all warfare is based on deception, he is actually in his undies)
The Spartan list has evolved with the Krakens + Beastmaster BSB from @SmithF glorious conquests, while also giving it a personal touch with the 2 x 10 harpies advises by @duxbuse and other elements that contribute to the PULL of this list. It has no magic and no shooting, but lots of interesting characters, extremely deadly Spartan legionnaires and large terrifying Krakens. It is a powerplay list, able to rush the enemy lines, or hold certain objectives, and overwhelm the enemy.
The enemy brought:
This is a picture of his Saurus Ancients on a tournament so not the exact same list, but very similar.
The enemy brought his typical Saurus list, the ultimate balanced list who almost always manages to rip my own balanced lists apart. His weapon beasts easily kill and redirect my expensive elite infantry, while his Rhomphodon raiders always manage to get into my backfield, killing my bolt throwers or getting into the soft flank or rear of my Spartans. In our last battle the two units charged one of the Spartans in the rear, and went through them like hot knife through butter. He always backs up his shooty elements with strong and deadly anvils, or dangerous monsters such as the Taurosaur who ate my dragon around 5 times, and the Carnosaur who often wreaks havoc on the counter-charge. I often struggle a lot against his list, and he had honed his skills with this list to perfection. Nevertheless, we both were very rusty, as this was our third game this year.
As discussed several times earlier in my blog I developed four different tactics based on battles throughout history and will try to apply them every battle to become a better tactician. These tactics will be further developed later on in the blog with battle diagrams in theoretical articles. These tactics are:
1. The Lance (Penetration of the Center)
2. The Draich (Single Envelopment)
3. The Trap (Double Envelopment)
4. The Wave (Refused Flank)
This tactics are again influenced by the objectives, terrain, and enemy deployment.
We rolled for Frontline Clash, and Hold the Ground. This would become a very interesting battle due to the large mountain in the middle of the board, while the enemy had 4 scoring units compared to my 3 units. Besides the central mountain, there were forests at both sides and three hills at the corners of the map.
As my enemy excells at defensive tactics, I knew this would be in his advantage, as it would take more time to get to his forces, or I had to split my forces. After considering the option to use the Trap (Double Envelopment), deploying the Spartans at one side and the Krakens at the other side, I decided to use the Wave, the Refused Flank. With the special deployment abilities of the Assassin, Fleet Commander and Corsairs, they would try to get into the enemy flanks and rear as soon as possible, creating a diversion of a part of enemies forces, while the main combat units would push to the right as one battleline and overwhelm the enemy.
I had no magic, but the enemy had the Jade Staff (healing wounds and 5+ regen), two spells of Shamanism: Swarm of Insects (5D6 S1 hits) and Break the Spirit (all terrain becomes dangerous), and other magic missile, I think his special Saurus spell.
I started deploying with my Harpies behind the hill, then the Corsairs, afterwards the Altar, Spartans and Krakens. The enemy responded with a central deployment, although the weapon beasts were all located at the right flank outside of BSB range. Also his left Caiman, left a spot for the assassin to infiltrate the enemy lines, while the corsairs could push boldly and get the fleet commander into the soft skinks with enemy priest and bsb.
I win the roll for vanguards and the Corsairs get 12" forward, while the enemy responds with his Rhamphodons.
Turn 1 - XIII Legion
Here we go! The good thing from no shooting or magic is that my battle reports will likely be a lot shorter than they used to be, as there are only sections about movements and combat. In my first turn I start my refused flank, by getting the specialized characters into charge arcs while the Corsairs start retreating. At the right flank, I move up as fast as possible, while positioning 10 harpies in front of my Spartans to protect them from a round of shooting.
Turn 1 - Saurus Ancients
The enemy responds with a charge on the Corsairs, who promptly flee to safety and leave the Rippers (that's how I like to call Rhamphodon raiders and will continue to call them in the battle) in hot pursuit. The skinks prepare to be charged by the Fleet Commander, while the Caiman ignore the Assassin and send a killing squad of blowpipe skinks to finish him off. So far, the diversion is attracting the reaction I hoped for. In the center the combat blocks prepare for the incoming wave, and the weapon beasts get ready for a deadly salvo.
The enemy has a low amount of magic, and I manage to dispell the dangerous spells. A S6 missile on the fleet commander did no damage.
The usual extremely deadly shooting of the razorbacks miss or fail to wound, due to the distracting and high resilience, and only a single wound is inflicted. Great! The salamander is more succesful and kills 4 harpies, who flee out of terror back into safety for a later moment to shine.
Turn 2 - XIII Legion
With only 15" from the Caimain, I need to try it, and charge the first Spartans. I also charge the Assassin into the Caimans, other Spartans into razorbacks and all Krakens into the weapon beasts. The salamander and one unit of razorbacks flee out of terror, as no BSB is present. The closest Kraken makes it, and get into combat. Also the assassin and fleet commander get into combat, while the others fail. The corsairs and harpies are rallied.
The Assassin has 4 hits and 3 wounds, but fluffs his multi-wound attacks and only inflict 5 wounds while he gets 1 in return. The caimans flee 8, but assassin only 7. The skink champion happily sacrifices his life against the Fleet Commander, and the combat results in a draw. The Kraken easily dispatches the two razorbacks and stops just before the Saurus warriors.
Turn 2 - Saurus Ancients
Although the shooting of the enemy is paralyzed, the main strength is still intact, and I realized in my last combat that it was not such a good idea to get my Fleet Commander stuck in the skink unit, losing every turn based on combat resolution. With only 2 wounds left, the skinks could kill the assassin with some lucky shots, and the Corsairs are likely not going to survive an attack of the Rippers for more than a single turn. Nevertheless, I am happy with how the battle is proceeding, as my WAVE is unhindered and getting closer. The enemy responds with a charge on the Corsairs, who hold this time out of fear of being catched when fleeing. The caiman and second razorback unit rally, while the salamander flees off the table. Saurus fighting forces shuffle a bit back for incoming charges, and the second Ripper unit prepares for a flank charge of the Spartans.
Magic is neautralized due to the combat with the Fleet Commander, but enemy gets 5+ regen off.
Shooting of the Taurosaur fails to hit because of distracting, and the Rippers kill a single Spartan. Then come the dangerous shooting attack of the skinks with blowpipes on the Resilience 3 assassin without any armour. Enemy inflicts another poison wound, and I roll a 1''. One more wound left..
Assassin hunting the Caiman
In combat the Rippers fluff their attacks and only kill 4 corsairs, while I do one wound in return. The Corsairs hold their ground and fight another turn. In the big skink fight, I make a big mistake and say: I challenge, after which the enemy happily retreats his unprotected BSB and priest and lets me kill skinks. I lose combat but hold.
Turn 3 - XIII Legion
As I still need 10 to get my Spartans in the big Caiman block of the enemy I try again, but fail. Assassin and Kraken get into their targets (last Caimans and Razorbacks) while the rest of the battleline advances to be able to finish off the enemy in my next turn. I send one unit of 10 Harpies to hunt the blowpipes and save the assassin from certain death.
Assassin easily dispatches the Caimans this time, same for the Kraken who overruns off the table. Unfortunately the combat with the Fleet Commander Zlatan is less fortunate, after he loses combat on resolution again after only killing 2-3 skinks, and flees but runs 7 compared to 6 of the skinks. Losing morale as their captain is fleeing, the Corsairs fluff their attacks and get all killed by the Rippers. Very dangerous end, as this means both the Skinks and Rippers can counter-charge in their turn.
XIII Legion prepares for the final charge
Turn 3 - Saurus Ancients
This is indeed what the Saurus do, they charge the Rippers in both my units of Harpies, while the enemy wants to keep his priest close to inflict some damage, so only uses his BSB to try to catch the fleeing fleet commander (which he does). The skink blowpipes get within short range of the assassin and the Taurosaur positions for a deadly counter-charge, calculated that when 1 Spartan unit get stuck by the rippers, the enemy will be able to hold against the other and krakens.
Magic is again low, and I dispell Swarm of Insects.
This time the Taurosaur hits a kraken, and inflict a single wound. Then the dangerous moment comes as the skinks shoot from close range: and inflict two wounds! But I roll 3 + 3! The assassins lives to kill the rippers next turn.
In combat the first ripper unit easily kill most of the harpies, and some who escape are catched. Maybe you can clarify some rules for us here, as we though that in pursuit the flying rippers would do this not flying and would therefore be stopped by the hill, instead of getting over it and into the centre of the field. Then the second combat happens and something extraordinary happens. The enemy kills 5 harpies (so only 1 alive), while inflict a wound of the unit. With the charge, he win combat with 5, but I roll 4 for my discipline test and this lone cheap bad a€€ harpy holds her ground! This means the Spartans can charge into the Caimans in my turn and the battle is nearly won!!
Turn 4 - XIII Legion
Finally within reach, all units charge. The Spartans into the Caimans, the Krakens into the Saurus (who flee off the table), the Assassin into the Rippers, Altar into the Rippers, and second Spartans into Carnosaur. Only the second Spartans do not make it.
Assassin and Altar easily kill the rippers, while the BSB on Manticore inflict 3 wounds on the Taurosaur, and breaks him off the table without pursuing him. Then come the Spartans. They are within Altar and Academy range, so strike at full power. They also have the cult priest so they regain their killer instinct. It starts well with Lord Drakon inflicting 2 wounds himself. Then 28 (1 died) attacks of the Spartans. 28 hits after 7-8 re-rolls (nabh here very important). Then around 15 wounds, but also 8 1's which I can re-roll, and get 4 more wounds. 19 WOUNDS total, killing 6 Caimans instantly, and the last one runs for his life, captured by the Spartans.
Turn 4 - Saurus Ancients
The battle is won, and enemy charges his Carnosaur and Skinks into my Spartans. Before he concedes he wants to finish one last job though...
The skink team gets close to the assassin and inflict 4 wounds, and Black Venom fall dead to the ground, killed by poison himself. After this, the enemy concedes the game and I take all points.
Satisfied Lord Drakon looked around the battlefield. His plan had worked excellently, and his forces had overwhelmed the Saurian defenders. His nakedness had inspired the legionnaires, who completed their transformation to Spartans in this battle. The Nabh phalanxes had benefitted a lot from the terrifying Krakens in causing terror in the enemy lines. His trusty second in command, and eagle bearer, Khaled had kept the lines intact and single-handedly dispatched the dangerous Taurosaur. Although he had not received news from Captain Khaled and his Corsairs, or the new talented assassin, they had done their job in refusing the left flank. He turned around to his glorious Spartans, shouting:
Spartans! What is our profession?!
20 - 0!
It was amazing to overrun the enemy with the first time I tried the WAVE, but it felt if my list was made for this battle. I really enjoyed playing with the assassin, while the Krakens are an exceptional addition to the Spartan battleline. The Spartans remained ace in battle, while I was also really satisfied with the 10 man harpies. That 1 harpy standing his ground gave me the 20-0 so early, as I could punch through and break the back the enemy. The enemy BSB not close to his weapon beasts and Saurus while the Kraken inflict a lot of terror test was definitely to my advantage. To be fair, I was very lucky with my discipline tests, while my enemy was not. Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with this victory as he normally manages to massacre me or give me extremely hard battles. I really liked the list, and I am looking forward to my next battles with it.
That 1 last harpy shouting: This IS SPARTAAAAA!
Follow the adventures of Lord Drakon with his deadly Spartans at: XIII Legion Spartans
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