It's yellow eyes where bursting out of the ugly head of the Vermin Deamon. Wherever his piercing stare gazed, death would follow. "Hsss, magister, prepare the troops.." the Deamon hissed to his acolyte. Countless of rat warriors prepared their formations, as they would ambush an assaulting army of the cunning Dread Elves. The Deamon licked his stinking lips, smelling the blood-ridden air, and slowly a wicked smile formed on his face. Today he would rip the souls of these foul creatures apart within a manifestation of magical destruction.
"Orders?" The calm and disciplined voice of the captain of Praetorian Guard managed to draw the attention of Lord Drakon. "You advance at the flanks with our African auxiliaries, we push forward with our phalanxes". With a nod, the knights and African shamans mounted their steeds and took off. "Forwards!" the order was given, and in a steady pace the Spartans advanced. Lord Drakon knew that behind these impassable rocks a deadly Vermin Swarm was waiting, and was determined to break their lines. When both armies were only a few miles away from combat, the menacing creatives from the Sea were pushed forward. Trumpets sounded and all Spartans turned their helmets towards the lowered arm of Lord Drakon, who with a loud voice shouted: "Release the Krakens!"
After fighting in the shade against the Infernal Dwarves, the Spartans regrouped and faced another USA general, this time Xaire fielding a shooty Vermin Swarm list.
160 - Cult Priest, General, Nabh, Shield (Willow's Ward), Alchemist Alloy
260 - Cult Priest, Battle Standard, Nabh, Essence of Mithril, Aether Icon Obsidian Rock
520 - Oracle, Wizard Master (Witchcraft) Light Armour, Destiny's Call, Magical Heirloom
572 - 33 Legionnaires, Nabh, Spears, Full Command, Academy Banner
558 - 32 Legionnaires, Nabh, Spears, Full Command, Academy Banner
370 - Divine Altar
305 - 5 Dread Knights, Standard, Banner of Blood
225 - 5 Acolytes
225 - 5 Acolytes
135 - 5 Harpies
390 - Kraken
390 - Kraken
390 - Kraken
This could be the strongest iteration of the Spartan horde so far, without any points invested into ranged damage. It fields two deadly Spartan phalanxes, fully upgraded with the cult priests. It is reinforced by maximized Krakens, and has an excellent support delegation of 2 acolytes, knights, and harpies.
The enemy brought:
850 - Vermin Daemon, General
460 - Chief, Monstrous Rat, Shield, Battle Standard, Heavy Armour (Ghostly Guard), Paired Weapons and Tail Weapon (Hero's Heart)
290 - Magister, Wizard Adept, Witchcraft, Binding Scroll, Sceptre of Vermin Valour
581 - 41 Vermin Guard, Standard Bearer (Banner of the Endless Swarm), Musician, Champion
418 - 43 Rats-at-Arms, Spear, Standard Bearer (Rending Banner), Musician, Champion
140 - 10 Footpads, Musician
460 - 6 Vermin Hulks, Champion
90 - 2 Rat Swarms
90 - 2 Rat Swarms
340 – Dreadmill
340 – Dreadmill
240 - Verminous Artillery, Lightning Cannon
200 - Verminous Artillery, Plague Catapult
With two large infantry blocks than can take time to break, supported by deadly ranged damage from the artillery, dreadmills, and deamon magic, it was going to be a tough battle. The toxic breath of the chief on monstrous rat is dangerous for my knights, and his swarms can move through his own units.
As soon as my Spartans or Krakens closed the gap and ended in combat, things should be balancing back to my side, but the question remained if I would be able to close the gap quickly enough, before being shot to pieces.
For magic I had the following spells:
- Raven's Wing
- Twisted Effigy
- Bewitching Glare
- Crippling Fatigue
- Fate's Judgement
- Unerring Strike
- The Awakened Swarm
- The Stars Align
- The Wheel Turns
- Deceptive Glamour
We had the Encircle deployment, and Capture the Flags scenario.
The enemy won the roll for the side and picked the north side. As I wanted to deny him using the ruins, I deployed as far forward as possible in the center, with a left flank of fast troops. He responded with cornering at the other flank, where I would have trouble to push my army through the impassable terrain. However, it also provided some cover for my advancing Krakens.
Turn 1 - Spartans
I advance as fast as possible, but realize my Spartans were a bit too close to the impassable terrain so for the Kraken to pass I need to wheel a bit. With a little better preparation I could have been faster here. Lesson to spend very careful time in deployment while thinking to first two turns. I place my right acolytes far forward to potentially bait the enemy towards my lines, or create opportunities in my next turn.
In magic I manage to give the left Spartans 3D6 random movement for extra speed. Twisted Effigy is binded and 12" fly move on the Knights is dispelled.
Turn 1 - Vermin Swarm
In response enemy shuffles his troops, preparing to absorb the assault. Both swarms go to the flanks.
Magic is uneventful, while his cannon misfires (lose 1 wound) while the catapult has a full hit, killing 8 Spartans.
Turn 2 - Spartans
Acolytes charge the dread mill, and here I see another opportunity, as the Kraken (who had attribute on him) needed a 10 to make it as well. In case he did, I would like kill the dread wheel, and overrun into the next one while also potentially pinning the Ogres down for a turn. In hindsight it was not a good move, as the failed charge provided a juicy flank of the Spartans and blocked my whole left flank. So I have to advance a lot more careful and with blockades here. The random movement helps the other Spartans to get into a good position, together with knights and other acolytes. I set up the other flank to be able to counter-attack in case enemy charges the stuck Kraken.
Magic gets a twisted effigy off on enemy catapult, while a crippling fatigue to support the acolytes against the dread mill is barely passing the enemy dispel dice.
In combat the Acolytes show their potential and inflict 4 wounds, while only losing a single brother in the electric return damage. Although the dread mill needs to pass a low discipline test, it holds stoic in the face of destruction.
Turn 2 - Vermin Swarm
Not losing his nerves, the enemy keeps his calm and retreats a bit further while blocking my charges with his swarms.
The cannon hits a Kraken, inflicting 3 wounds, while a Fate Judgement also manages to inflict 2 wounds on another Kraken. With unerring strike disppelled, the Deamon still vanquish 8 Spartans with awakening the swarms beneath them. I need to close the gap quickly, as this sort of damage is not something the DE will be able to sustain for long.
In combat the acolytes kill the dread mill and now I come to a difficult choice. Hunt the other dread mill down, or charge the flanks of the hulks together with the acolytes. I now picked the dread mill, but a better choice would be to concentrate damage and pin down Ogres at both flanks. As a single unit of acolytes is not really a match for these combat monsters.
Turn 3 - Spartans
Time to close the gap and hopefully free the units at the left flank. Both Spartans make it in, so do the acolytes, but the Dread Knights fail their target by an inch. Unfortunately, the harpies fail their march test (I could have prevented this by wiser placement of the general cult priest in my turn 2) so the forward Kraken moves up to chaff the Rat-at-Arms and Deamon, as the right Spartans have become reduced to only 16 hoplites. I can greatly increase their combat potential again by reinforcing them with the Divine Altar, and place this one close to the unit.
I am warned by my fellow team that the match up of the acolytes and hulks is a dangerous one, so I focus all magic there. The hulks are blinded by a bewitching glare and crippling fatigue, so the acolytes to strike more effective into their flesh.
The acolytes for only 225 points a piece prove their worth against the right targets with the right buffs. The dread mill loses 3 wounds before it can strike, while again only managing to kill a single brave acolyte due to the excellent Aegis saves. The other acolytes excel as well, by gaining 3 more attacks with battle focus, and slaying 2 hulks outright while their horses inflict an extra wound. In return, they lose a single acolyte, and the enemy holds on steadfast and reforms to gain more attacks. Spartans dispatch the swarms without even rolling.
Turn 3 - Vermin Swarm
In this turn I feared a deadly counter-attack, but the enemy declared that he had no movement (always a good sign).
The ranged damage is also far less effective than a turn earlier, as the distracting of the Krakens works against the cannon. The catapult only kills a few Spartans, while I manage to stop most of enemy missiles due to low amount of magic dice.
In combat the acolytes kill 2 more hulks again, but this time, they are a lot more deadly in return as well, killing all acolytes. The other acolytes trade a wound with the dread mill, and stick into a draw.
Turn 4 - Spartans
Now it was the turn to finish the job, but I approach this critical turn in a very unwise manner. I just declare the charges, without really considering the order of the charges, and the effects of failed charges on the other ones. Because of this the Divine Altar automatically fails his charge, and the central Kraken and Spartans do not roll high enough. Fortunately the other two Krakens make contact with both large units, but if it will be enough to face the hordes alone seems a desperate attempt. Suddenly, I am in a terrible position. The hulks can charge the unprotected, and juicy flank of my Spartans, while the battle against the Vermin Guard seems shaky as well. Fortunately I can save myself with the reliable Harpies, but I now realize I did not block the enemy enough, as the BSB can move past the Harpies. I should be sharper with both charges and blocking.
But here come the amazing Witchcraft as a life saviour. I knew enemy wanted to dispel twisted effigy and random movement at all costs, so I saved the flying move spell for last. Drawing some of his dispel dice, I managed to get a big Raven's Wing on the Dread Knights, who can not protect the flank of the Spartans.
The last acolytes destroy the dread mill and I reform them to face the BSB and warmachines. Both Krakens prove to be more dangerous than I had expected, winning both combats with about 6-8 wounds due to their stomp. Enemy holds both combats and failed to inflict damage as both are cornering his units. He is also not really able to reform well.
Turn 4 - Vermin Swarm
However, enemy does not need this to win, as he saw his opportunity arising with my placement of the acolytes after the win of dread mill. Now I realize the devastating mistake that I made in my euphoria of killing the dread mill. I placed them as such, that when the BSB charged them, he could overrun into the flank of the dread knights. Here I placed them clear ahead of the Spartans, but in the game it was only a fraction of a fraction only possible to see when fully zoomed, but I had made the placement mistake nonetheless. And the enemy could turn the whole game into his favour. He charged both acolytes and knights and make it. The deamon repositions away from the Krakens.
Ranged inflicts a wound on the central kraken, while giving the catapult re-roll to hit. The catapult fails to hit, giving me a crucial break from heavy ranged damage in this crucial turn.
While the BSB on rat easily dispatches the Acolytes, it does not make the roll to get into the flank of the Dread Knights, meaning that I am saved and he is doomed. The knights inflict some more wounds on the hulks, who kill 2 knights, but then the raptors finish off the last wounds and the danger at the flank is gone. The krakens again do more damage than expected and enemy manages to pass his break tests.
Turn 5 - Spartans
Now it is turn to finish off the enemy. Spartans, Kraken, and Harpies make their charges. Divine Altar reinforces the depleted Spartans to make them useful again. As it is capture the flags, my knights are not match for enemy BSB or Deamon, so they run away to preserve their scoring points.
In magic I get crippling fatigue off with a miscast (losing the spell) on the Vermin Guard, spelling their doom.
In combat the Kraken kills the BSB while the BSB kills the Kraken. The Spartans completely obliterate the Vermin Guard together with Kraken attacks, and these flee. Both overrun and Spartans get to face the deamon in a deadly combat. Harpies inflict some wounds on the catapult but fails to break it, and lose a single girl in the returning strikes. The lower kraken finally receives a wound, but still manages to kill more rats than to lose combat. Unafraid, the rats still hold.
Turn 5 - Vermin Swarm
Not able to do much, enemy just stands still, struck by terror of his incoming doom.
However, the cannon takes a last well aimed magically buffed shot, and shoots the Kraken to pieces. Enemy gets wheel turns on rat-at-arms vs kraken as well.
As I still have hatred bonus I tried to inflict damage on the Deamon, who easily killed my general cult priest (but only 160 points har har) but only manage to get 1 wound through. In return several Spartans are also killed in the stomp, and I realize it would have been better to take the duel with my general. I lose combat, but fortunately hold on just on the disipline of my Oracle. They reform into deep formation for rank bonus. The harpies inflict some more wounds on the catapult, who breaks and is destroyed. Again advised by a cunning team mate, the harpies face the deamon instead of the cannon. The kraken has a lot more trouble with hitting the rat-at-arms with the wheel turns (still inflict some damage though, I forgot to include it in the diagram), and lose a wound and combat with 1 or 2, but sticks.
Turn 6 - Spartans
In my last turn I conduct a beautiful and typical DE move by charging the fragile and weak harpies into the rear of the Deamon (as I still have a champion). The second Spartans with Altar charge the rat-at-arms to help out the Kraken hoping to the seal the deal.
In magic I have low veil of magic, but enough to shut down the cannon with a random movement while twisted effigy is dispelled. What a lore!
With the champion pinning down the Deamon, I win the combat with a good amount due to combat resolution, greatly helped by the rear charge of the Harpies! In the other combat the combined force of Kraken and Spartans is too much, and they flee off the table, panicking the foot pads as well.
Turn 6 - Vermin Swarm
In the last turn enemy is not able to do much, as his cannon randomly moves.
In combat I duel the Deamon with my Oracle, hoping to stop some attacks with her special armour providing a good Aegis save. Although she is obliterates by the furious deamon, the plan works and I still win combat, so he loses his last wounds due to the Harpies in his back. Imagine this, a Vermin Deamon killed by Harpies!
19 - 1
What a game! It was exciting to assault the enemy, and indeed a great learning army for optimizing my deployment and movement. I really liked the many combat dangers the acolytes, knights, spartans, and krakens provide. Another interesting element was the Divine Altar greatly reinforcing the depleted Spartans. This makes them very useful even after sustaining heavy damage. I made a lot of sloppy mistakes with movement, such as the third turn charge round, but fortunately I was also blessed by the gods for my fortitude, and enemy was not able to make some crucial charges.
The acolytes took on several enemies way above their pay grade, and took them out or greatly damages them to be finishing off by my other troops. The combination of their excellent attacks, good save and extreme movement, works well with my magical buffs and potentially altar blessings.
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