Assaulting the Ebony Tower - A tournament report. Game 2

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  • GAME 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    Loik is the resident KoE general of the Tour d’Ebene club, and a veteran of many tournaments. We talked a bit about the new KoE rules (long story short: he isn’t too happy about them, and will be writing a long letter to Tulmir explaining why :D ) and then he went on to explain his army:

    Loïk wrote:



    LORDS/HEROES:


    Duke on Warhorse, Grail Oath, Virtue of Renown, Crusader’s Helm, Shield, Blade of Strife, Token of the King

    Paladin BSB on Warhorse, Questing Oath, Great Weapon, stuff (possibly the Orriflame?)

    Grail Damsel on warhorse, level 4 path of Heavens, Dispel Scroll, Ring of Ruin

    Damsel on foot, level 1 wilderness


    CORE:

    10 Knights of the Realm, Full Command

    11 Knights of the Realm, Full Command

    10 Peasant Bowmen, Skirmish

    10 Peasant Bowmen, Skirmish


    SPECIAL:

    10 Knights Forlorn, Hedge Knights, Skirmish

    10 Knights Forlorn, Hedge Knights, Skirmish

    3 Pegasus Knights, Devastating Charge, Skirmish


    RARE:

    8 Knights of the Grail, Full Command

    8 Knights of the Grail, Full Command


    This time the scenario was Secure Target, with regular deployment. I picked side, opting for the one with the buildings (always a good thing against knights). We exchanged deployments, with me outdeploying Loik by a fair amount: in the end he went with a central deployment, with forlorn knights on either flank and peasant bowmen deployed as a screen in front of the knights.




    Magic: Grail Damsel got 0,1,4,5 from Heavens, the Wilderness Damsel got the signature, Dryad Matriarch got 0,6 from Wilderness and the Druid 2,5 from White Magic.

    I won the roll for the first turn, and went first. Letting KoE play first is never a good idea, all the more time for them to put you in a tough place.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The Archers entered the house on the left, the wild huntsmen stayed relatively wide and out of range of the peasant bowmen. By placing his bowmen as a screen, my opponent had involuntarily given me a turn of protection against charges, so I tried to make the most out of it: the centre of my force inched forward, with the forest guard pushing more aggressively towards the two Realm Knight blocks. The Briar maidens moved full speed ahead, entering the forest occupied by the Forlorn, and tempting them to charge. The rest of the fast contingent stayed relatively back, but in close support.


    Magic opened with a successful guiding hand raising the Forest Guards’ movement to an impressive 8. The rest was easily dispelled. Shooting was directed at the two forlorn units: the left one suffered 3 casualties by the archers’ volley, failed its panic test and fled. On the right, the Briar Maidens dropped another 3 Forlorn, but these stood their ground.



    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    Not being ones to shy from a challenge, the Forlorn Knights charged into the Briar Maidens, aided by the Pegasus Knights. The Maidens took potshots at the KoE skirmishers while they moved in, killing two. In remaining moves, the Knights of the grail approached my lines, one scaling the hill and edging slightly to threaten my wild huntsmens’ advance. The fleeing forlorn rallied, while the two Realm Knight units were kept at bay by the threat of the movement 8 Forest Guard.


    In the magic phase Loik spotted my plan’s weakness: I needed the kestrels to live to be able to countercharge once the maidens were dealt with. So he directed first a Lightning Bolt, then a Fireball and finally a Lightning Storm at the rightmost unit, which forced me to use my dispel scroll to be able to weather it all. I was reluctant to use the scroll so fast, but losing a unit (or potentially two) would mean that the Pegasus knights would crush that flank with ease. Shooting cost me a Bladedancer from the rightmost unit.

    In combat the Briar Maidens hit first, killing three forlorn knights. The return attacks (2 forlorn, one Pegasus knight) all missed or failed to wound. This meant that, unexpectedly, the Briar Maidens won combat! Both units passed their Steadfast Ld test, but interestingly the Pegasus Knights failed their test to combat reform!




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Last turn’s good luck gave me an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up: the Kestrels fell into the Pegasus knights, while the Forest Guard flanked the two remaining Forlorn. To pull this off, I had to declare long charges on the screening bowmen, to cause them to contract and create some space. The Thicket Beasts and Dryads both failed their respective charges. In remaining moves I moved the second Kestrel unit in a sacrificial position, to prevent the Realm Knights from charging the Forest Guard on the following turn. This would also force the Grail Damsel to forego any magic missile spell for the following turn, since she’d be engaged in combat.


    Magic proved to be uneventful this turn, starting with a failed casting of the Curse of the Wildwood on the Damsel’s Knights. Shooting was aimed at the Knights of the Grail on the hill, killing one of them despite their soft cover.


    The charging kestrel knights and Forest Guard made short work of the Forlorn, and forced the Pegasus knights to flee. The kestrels caught them in pursuit, while the Forest Guard reformed to threaten the Damsel’s knights.




    TURN 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The Damsel’s knights charged the redirecting kestrels, and my opponent subsequently used his peasant bowmen close by to block the Forest Guard from retaliating. Last turn’s charges had left my Thicket beasts uncomfortably close to the Duke’s Knights of the Grail, and the latter succeeded their 8+ charge and fell into the monstrous infantry. The BSB’s realm knights moved in order to provide the Hold your Ground rule to the charging Grail Knights.


    In the magic phase the Blizzard on the Kestrels was stopped, which resulted in a successful Curse of the Westerlies on the Forest Guard (and a reroll token for the duke!).

    The kestrels were forced to flee by the charging knights, getting cut down, but not before killing the champion and one of the rank and file knights. In the big fight, the Thicket Beast champion fought in a challenge against the grail knight champion: between the knight and the charging horse’s attacks, the Thicket beast died instantly without even succeeding to retaliate. The Duke swung with his 7 attacks, got a single Lethal Strike that was warded off. His knights fared better, killing a second thicket beast and leaving 3 plus the BSB to strike back. A single knight fell to the return attacks, and the duke was wounded once. The Thicket beasts held their ground thanks to being Stubborn.




    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves


    The Bladedancers flanked the Duke’s retinue, while the Wild Huntsmen on the left failed their frenzy test and fell into the Forlorn knights, their Grail counterparts awaiting to countercharge nearby. On the right flank, the Forest Guard charged the peasant redirectors, while Briar maidens, Kestrels and Wild Huntsmen circled around the Damsel’s knights. The unengaged Bladedancers moved up to threatenthe BSB’s advance.


    Magic proved once more to be ineffective, my opponent using his dispel dice to stop the Beast Within on the Thicket Beasts and all the other spells outright failing to be cast. The Briar Maidens’ shooting took two realm knights off their saddles.


    Combat started with the Wild Huntsmen blowing through the Forlorn Knights, then overrunning 12”, the exact amount needed to avoid the Grails’ flank charge! The Forest Guard beat the bowmen, letting them flee in front of the BSB’s knights. In the main event, the Duke failed to cause a lethal strike on the thicket Shepherd, and his S4 blows were shrugged off. The Blade Dancers swung before the Knights of the Grail, and thanks to the dance of the Whirling Blades they did an impressive 4 unsaved wounds! The thicket beasts added another, and the Shepherd put yet another wound on the Duke. In the end, the combat result was in favor of the Sylvans, and the general’s retinue fled. The blade dancers managed to impress yet again, rolling the required “10” to catch them in pursuit, and falling into the non-fleeing unit of peasant bowmen!




    TURN 3 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The last turn had not only resulted in a huge point swing, but had also left all of the enemy knight units out of position and in precarious spots. My opponent tried to mitigate this by performing a swift reform with the BSB’s unit, and moving towards the left flank. The knights of the Grail moved up to threaten both the dryads and the Thicket Beasts, while the Damsel’s unit performed a sneaky swift reform that allowed them to move past the forest guardians and the Kestrels, leaving just the Wild Huntsmen to threaten them.


    In the magic phase the same Huntsmen were the target of all the ranged spells, and they suffered two casualties to a Fireball. Combat saw the death of the bowmen at the hands of the Bladedancers, who reformed so as to charge the flank of the Grail Knights next.




    TURN 4 – Sylvan Elves


    The Dancers flanked the grail knights, hoping to repeat their previous success. The Kestrels shunned the Rear charge offered by the BSB and his unit, and opted to encircle the Damsel’s knights inside the forest, with the Heath Riders blocking their escape.


    Magic yet again failed to impress, the Beast Within on the flanking dancers failing to cast. Two more knights fell to the Briar Maidens’ poisoned thorns, leaving just 5 and the Grail Damsel.

    In combat, the Bladedancers bounced due to the knightly saves: none of the knights fell, in return the two knights fighting on the flank killed two bladedancers. I lost combat by 1, failed my rerollable 8 test and ran. This allowed the Knights of the Grail to reform and subsequently charge the Wild Huntsmen that I had placed in a position to countercharge on the following turn (under the assumption that the dancers wouldn’t bounce like that).




    TURN 4 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The victorious grail knights charged the Wild Huntsmen, while the Damsel’s knights tried to punch through by charging the Heath Riders right in front of them. The BSB’s unit moved on the objective on the left. In the magic phase the lone damsel cast the Beast Within on the Grail Knights with irresistible force, getting a wound for her troubles.

    The swings of the wild huntsmen still managed to kill two knights, but the remainder did short work of the elven elite. They reformed to face the Thicket Beasts. On the other side of the battlefield, the charging knights of the realm suffered a casualty going in (Dangerous Terrain), and then whiffed with their attacks. This allowed my Heath Riders to hold their ground, sealing the fate of the knight block



    TURN 5


    By now time was running short, so we’d be each getting just one more turn instead of two. With that in mind, I flank charged the Damsel’s unit with the Forest Guard, and then backtracked with the Thicket Beasts, the Dryads and the Sylvan Archers, surrendering one of the objectives but hopefully conserving the points of the units.

    In combat, the Forest Guardians did what they do best, killing three knights and leaving just the banner and the Grail Damsel alive. They didn’t do any damage in return, and were subsequently cut down in pursuit.


    As for my opponent’s last turn, he went for a long charge with the Knights of the Grail against the Thicket Beasts, which connected. The Wilderness Damsel died in the process of casting the Beast Within on the Grails, and it was down to the last combat phase: when all was said and done, a Thicket Beast still stood on one wound, plus the BSB: being Stubborn, they passed their test and held their ground, ending this game on a high note for the Sylvans!




    Result:

    16-4 Victory for the Sylvan Elves


    Post-game:


    During the game, both myself and my opponent had the impression that the KoE were having streak after streak of bad luck: The Briar Maidens holding their ground on the initial Pegasus charge, the Duke and Grail Knights bouncing off the Thicket Beasts, Knights failing more saves than expected and so on. After re-reading the report, I started realizing that the results were mostly right on statistical average, which shows how durable Sylvan Elves can be in the right circumstances: I went back and did some math-hammer, confirming that almost every combat went as it was expected to go on average. (with the exception of the late game charge on the Heath Riders and the fluffed Blade Dancer charge) Don’t get me wrong, I’ll settle for average anytime of the day, but this exercise made me feel a bit better about how the game unfolded.

    So, what influenced the outcome? Three things, in my opinion:

    • The use of Peasant bowmen screens, against an army with very low shooting output. It allowed me to move with impunity for two turns, which is more than you can ask for against all-cavalry armies.
    • The thicket Beasts’ resilience: I knew the moment the Duke charged that they’d be holding their ground and that I’d be probably able to grind the knights down in the following turns. While Ordnance on Lethal Strike is excellent against monsters, it is a lot less impressive against Monstrous infantry with a 5+ ward save.
    • The Briar Maiden/Pegasus/Forlorn fight: this gave me the foothold I needed, and allowed me to close the distance while remaining safe from Lance charges. Getting bogged down inside a forest vs Sylvans is rarely a good idea, and this game nicely portrays this.

    What didn’t work? I’d have to say Magic: even though I got decent amounts of power dice (channeling on 3+ helped there), I consistently failed a spell per turn (we’re talking about not making an 8+ on 3d6, at last once per turn). While it didn’t hurt in the end, it would ha ve helped a bit at times when things became a bit dodgy.

    So the second victory put me on table 3, facing off against the dread Terracotta Undying Dynasties!


    PS: I promised Loik I’d convey his message of how the KoE are in a bad spot, although him ending up in 5th place of the tournament doesn’t help in supporting his claim! :D I can agree that there is probably an imbalance between the choices, and certain options are a lot better than others, but at the hands of a good general they are a dangerous adversary, as my opponent managed to show with his final standing.

    Stay tuned for the third game!

    Smith

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Comments 1

  • logick -

    Thank for the battle report, I hope we will meet again on table for the revenge!