Assaulting the Ebony Tower - A tournament report. Game 3

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  • GAME 3 – Undying Dynasties

    The last game of the tourney was against Serge, a veteran gamer who brought a small yet very efficient list:

    Serge wrote:

    LORDS/HEROES:


    Pharaoh, Commander of Terracotta army, Vanquisher Eternal, Mask of Teput

    Death Cult Hierarch, Level 3 Path of Sands, Book of the Dead, Soul Conduit

    Death Cult Acolyte, Level 1 Path of Sands, Dispel Scroll

    Tomb Harbinger, BSB, War Banner

    Tomb Architect


    CORE:

    6 Chariots, Full Command, Flaming Banner

    4 Chariots, Full Command


    SPECIAL:

    Battle Sphinx, Breath Weapon

    Battle Sphinx, Breath Weapon

    27 Necropolis Guard, Halberds, Full Command, Stalker’s Standard



    I had never faced a Terracotta Necropolis Guard Deathstar (TNGD for short), but I’d heard enough stories to know that this unit cannot be underestimated. It didn’t help that the last game of the day would be played without a secondary objective, meaning that I’d have to actually kill some undead to get points!

    The good news were that the TNGD is slow, and that there were only 20 bow shots in the army. So the battle plan was simple: outdeploy, outmaneuver, kill everything around the deathstar and then (eventually) move in for the kill. That last part is where I expected my plan to blow up in my face, as has happened countless times before. An important detail of the plan was to isolate units, and pull them out of formation. The only way I’d be able to commit would be by making sure that the NG wouldn’t be able to countercharge me in return.


    Magic: Dryad Matriarch got 0,3 (Wilderness), Druid got 0,1 (White), Hierarch got 4,5,6 (Sands) and Acolyte got 1 (Sands)


    So the good news was that there were no movement spells for the UD: redirecting the deathstar becomes a lot more difficult when you’ve got two movement spells to dispel per turn.




    Deployment resulted in me outdeploying the UD, which pitted two units of Kestrels and the Forest Guard against the small chariot unit, the Briar Maidens, Heath Riders and Wild Huntsmen against the two sphinx and the NG, while in the centre the Thicket Beasts squared off against the chariots, with all the small and squishy units more than 32” away from the chariot shooting. My opponent decided to take the first turn, and battle was joined!



    TURN 1 – Undying Dynasties


    The undead battle line moved up in unison, no surprises there. Magic started with a particularly high casting roll of boosted divine judgment on the Briar Maidens. I used up all my dice to dispel that, letting everything else through, including Shifting Sands on the Briar Maidens. Shooting put a wound on the leftmost Kestrels.



    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The left flank redeployed a bit, with the Briar Maidens staying more than 18” away from the sphinx (for fear of the Breath Weapon), and the Wild Huntsmen relocating more centrally. The Kestrels moved up towards the small chariot unit, as did the Forest Guard. The Thicket Beasts entered the charge zone of the big chariots, tempting them to charge.


    Magic opened with the phoenix rises healing the wound off the kestrels and putting a White token on the Thicket Beasts, then all my attempts to hurt the big chariots from afar were ineffective (Redwood shaft failed to cast and the Curse of the wildwood was dispelled). Shooting proved to be equally ineffective, not a single wound was scored by the Sylvan Archers.




    TURN 2 – Undying Dynasties


    The chariots took the bait and fell into the Thicket Beasts, while the sphinx and NG continued their slog towards my lines. The small chariots tried to swift reform, but failed its Ld and reformed instead, keeping the kestrels in their front arc. Magic saw me use my scroll to stop yet another Divine Judgment, then I used my dice to stop the Ancient Glory, letting through the Cursed Blades on the chariots.


    The impact hits of the chariots proved to be quite ineffective: 9 of them were dealt, but between rolls to wound, armour and ward saves, all of them were ignored. In retaliation, the thicket beasts dealt 11 wounds on the chariots and received a single wound back. The chariots were disintegrated, allowing my Thicket Beasts to pivot to face the sphinx’s flank.



    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Seizing the opportunity, thicket beasts and a unit of Wild Huntsmen tag-teamed on the rightmost sphinx. The Kestrels and the second unit of Wild Huntsmen moved into position to flank the smaller chariot unit on the following turn, with the Forest Guard offering themselves as bait. The Briar Maidens spotted a blind corner in the sphinx’s charge arc, so moved in for some poisoned shots. Finally, the skirmishing part of the army moved about to create threatening situations, while the Heath Riders were shoved right in front of the Sphinx and NG to stall them a bit.


    Magic was yet again ineffective, but shooting succeeded in putting two wounds on the unengaged sphinx!

    In combat the combined efforts of the Wild Huntsmen and the Thicket beasts made short work of the T8 beastie before it got to strike, although the NG crew managed to kill two wild huntsmen in the process. So two units down, 3 to go!




    TURN 3 – Undying Dynasties


    Both the Sphinx and the NG charged the Heath riders, who stood, passing their Terror test. The chariots charged the Forest Guard and then a faraway unit of Kestrels; both units fled, leaving the undead right in the middle of my trap.


    Magic was overwhelming now that the scroll was gone: the sphinx healed back both its wounds, and the boosted Cursed Blades was also cast. I failed to dispel the Divine Judgment, but a couple of good rolls for Ld meant that only a couple of dryads fell.


    The Deathstar/Sphinx duo made short work of the Heath Riders, the Sphinx overrunning towards my lines while the NG reformed to face the Thicket Beasts.




    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves


    The Chariots were charged on both sides, by Wild Huntsmen and Kestrels respectively. After much deliberation, I opted to stay with the thicket beasts, in order to see what the NG deathstar could do: the Bladedancers/Dryads, Briar Maidens and Wild Huntsmen (3 of them remaining) maneuvered into position for flank and rear charges. My fleeing units rallied, and the kestrels approached the NG too.


    A Beast Within was successfully cast on the Thicket beasts during the magic phase, bringing them up to S6, T6 and raising my hopes of survival in the upcoming battle.

    Shooting succeeded in putting 4 wounds on the sphinx this time (combined efforts of Briar Maidens and Sylvan Archers), leaving it with one wound remaining.

    In combat the Wild Huntsmen and Kestrels crushed the chariots and overran.




    TURN 4 – Undying Dynasties


    The NG deathstar charged my Thicket Beasts, while the sphinx turned and used its breath weapons on the Briar Maidens. A single wound went through their ward save. In the magic phase I had to choose between letting the Cursed Blades or the Ancient Glory through, and in the end I thought that +1 strength was easier to handle than reroll to wound. So the fight between S6 T6 Thickets and S6 T5 Necropolis guard was about to begin!


    So here’s what happened: with Hatred, poison and the vanquisher eternal, the T6 could only do so much to protect my unit: The pharaoh dealt 6 wounds on his own, the unit champions remained locked in a challenge and the rest of the unit put two more wounds on mine. In retaliation, I killed 6 Necropolis Guard and put a wound on the pharaoh and on the Harbinger. Despite the mask of Teput, the Thicket Beasts held their ground.




    TURN 4 – Sylvan Elves


    The signal for the countercharge was given, and the wild huntsmen and blade dancers hit both flanks. The Briar maidens couldn’t join the fray since the Sphinx was blocking them, so they settled for peppering it with poisoned darts instead. Magic failed me, the scroll was used to block my combat buffs. Shooting managed to finally drop the battle sphinx, leaving the Necropolis Guard to fend off everyone!


    Second round of combat against the deathstar then: this time the pharaoh didn’t have Hatred, and I managed to ward off his attacks. The guard took another thicket beast down, but in return my thicket beast champion cut down the NG champ, the Shepherd took care of the Harbinger, and the RnF Thickets killed the Death Cult acolyte that moved forward. Between the flanking dancers and Wild Huntsmen, 5 unsaved wounds were caused, while the the NG fighting to the flank dealt a wound on each unit. Stomps failed to wound, but the SE side still won by 8 CR points: enter steadfast, meaning that this would be halved, and then the discount for being a construct: 3 NG fell, leaving the unit at 15 models and my thicket beasts hanging on to their last 4 wounds.




    At this point the game was called due to time constraints again: we had taken a very laid back approach to the game, and we both took a lot of time for our turns due to being tired after a very very long day.


    We discussed about the possibilities of the following turns and we both agreed that playing a 5th would have cost me some points (probably thicket beasts/BSB and some of the flankers, but playing the full 6 I may have been able to actually get the entire deathstar. (Through attrition I’d taken out the BSB, the level 1 with the Cursed Blades and would be targeting the Architect next. A heavily depleted deathstar without hatred and without regeneration would be definitely manageable by my remaining forces).


    The final result was a 15-5 win, with the Sylvan Elves losing just 160 points for the redirecting Heath Riders!

    AFTERMATH:

    So after all was said and done, I ended up with 47 battle points, which awarded me the third place!

    The tournament was run smoothly, and we were all happy for getting 3 good games in. A big thank you to the organizers (Camille and co.) for taking the time to do this, and to my opponents Jérome, Loïck and Serge for three fun games!

    During the day I also had the occasion to chat with other users of the forum, getting to see @Haemoglobin 's stunning Saurian Ancients up close (he deservedly won Best Painted), and getting to meet @Skarloc who is a frequent poster in our SE subforum, a seasoned general himself, and was kind enough to lend me 3 Kestrel knights and a Citadel Forest for the tourney! (Thanks!)

    Overall, the Sylvans performed as I'd wanted them to, no complaints there; the combination of fast hard-hitting elements along with durable anvils gives solutions to a lot of problems, and things become even easier when dice go your way.

    With summer vacation and the ETC approaching fast, this will probably be the last report until the actual team tournament! So I hope you enjoyed this read, and I'll be happy to discuss with you guys either in the comments section or in the forums!

    Until the next time,

    Smith

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