Who 8 my wings? - a Dwarven tale GAME 5

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  • To recap, we’d so far gotten a draw against the Russians, two big wins (Canada and Mexico), and a small loss against the Italians. The field being very tight, this performance had left us on table 3 with a clear shot at the podium! Standing between this goal and our team were the good folks from team Frozen Lions (Team Finland and friends). They are no strangers to international events, and regularly vie for the same spots as team Belgium.

    Once again my dwarves had a pretty comfortable pairing matrix, especially considering that the final secondary objective was Hold the Ground, something a Dwarf King on a Warthrone is normally well suited to. And I say normally, because I was drawn against Pyry @Byybel and his Dread Elves:




    So basically a list based around three big combat blocks, with decent shooting and magic support, an AP6 cowboy and then a couple of Assassins threatening to pop out where they’re least expected. That’s a lot of bodies to go through with shooting, and a lot of close combat attacks for the Shieldwall to deal with. The issue these kind of lists seem to have is that Black Cloaks can be zoned out and kept from approaching their prime targets quite easily, and the Forge Wardens seemed like the perfect unit for that job.

    The battle plan here was simple: keep the black cloaks honest, forego the objective on the first couple of turns to get a maximum number of cannon shots into the Altar, then force the combats wherever possible; I was expecting the Dwarves to get battered, but figured that through steadfast and good grinding ability I’d be able to come out on top in terms of points.

    The deployment was Encircle, and I was fortunate enough to win the roll for sides: while this meant that the DE would get the first turn, I was more worried about not having good lanes of fire or of the DE blocks deploying too close to my lines. So I gave Pyry the big flanks, and then deployed in a denied flank manner, using the Hold Guardians (who got +1 S/AP) and the Forge Wardens as anchors in the center. The black cloaks deployed near the hold guardians in the weak flank, as there were no good scouting positions on the left side of the board. The Rangers occupied the left flank, with good lanes of fire to close to half of the board. Using Vanguard, I reformed the Forge Wardens and sent them to the north, careful to stay more than 34” away from the Outcast: they would be important in keeping the Cloaks at bay, and I couldn’t risk them taking any early casualties!



    For magic, the Temple Legate picked Word of Iron and Glory of Gold, the Outcast Altered Sight, Ice and Fire, Perception of Strength and Unity in Divergence. I got double rune of Revocation, Resilience and Gleaming for the runic spells. The Dread Elves grabbed the initiative and the game was on!

    (disclaimer: apologies, a PrtScn mishap meant that for the first couple of turns I copy-pasted the deployment picture instead of the correct turn picture. I tried my best to reconstruct that using paint!)

    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    The elves moved up to claim the center of the board, a comfortable distance from the king’s block. The black cloaks had to respect the 21” bubble around the Forge Wardens, which meant that they couldn’t get close enough to the Hold Guardians to shoot them. In a surprising move, the Acolytes with Prince moved up and stood right in front of the Hill, tempting my Hold Guardians to charge them.

    In the magic phase the Warlock Outcast forced through a highly cast Unity in Divergence on the Dwarf Warriors, which prompted the use of my Rune of Devouring. The spell thankfully only killed three dwarves after a below average roll. I also had to let a small Word of Iron through on the Acolytes, giving them all the nice spell-related bonuses. Shooting put a single wound on the Hold Guardians.

    TURN 1 – Dwarven Holds

    After some thought, I decided to decline the Acolyte bait. While they were a lot more points to be had for me if I managed to break them on the charge, the 4++ save and the incoming attacks meant that they would probably be able to stand their ground, and I’d be getting an Altar in the flank in return. With the HG anchoring the entire battle line, I figured that risking that on turn 2 was ill advised. Instead, I backed them off the hill, making sure they had a sliver of LoS from behind the hill towards the center of the board. The Dwarven Warriors were pushed forward as bait for the militants, with the Greybeards ready to countercharge, while the Forge Wardens swift reformed to a better position, since they had no targets in range.

    In magic I boosted the Dwarven Warriors with Rune of Resilience, preparing for the impending grind.
    Shooting saw both cannons miss (one with a misfire) while trying to shoot at the altar, the Rangers dropped four militants.



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    The assassins both appeared; one in the militants and one in the Altar unit. The militants charged forward into the Dwarven Warriors, and the Altar attempted a long (11+?) charge into my lord’s greybeards (I think – memory is hazy here). The militants made it in, the altar failed. In the remaining moves the Acolytes and Dread Prince advanced behind the cover of the hill, effectively zoning the entire center of the board. The Black Cloaks reluctantly advanced towards the Hold Guardians.

    Magic was centered around boosting the Temple Militants; with the Legate too far to boost them, it was a question of dispelling Perception of Strength. I failed to do so, and suddenly the militants were S5 AP2 with +1 to wound! My opponent also cast Ice and Fire, dealing a couple of wounds to the Forge Wardens. Shooting put two wounds on my hold guardians, and nothing else of note happened.

    Combat was a whole different matter, though. The Assassin and his militant posse went bananas and killed an impressive 17 dwarven warriors! This meant that I was no longer steadfast, and I broke and ran away, getting cut down by the militants; the latter were now staring at my Rangers and cannon, and safely past the greybeards’ charge arc.



    TURN 2 – Dwarven Holds

    Losing the Dwarven Warriors was a setback, I hadn’t expected the Militants to be as effective in killing them. Now I had to find a way to contain the threat while also zoning the rest of the DE army. The Rangers swift reformed and managed to just about move past the militants’ charge arc, and the Dwarf lord went solo and stared at the unit’s flank. The Hold Guardians moved once more atop the hill, out of the Acolytes’ LoS, and the forge wardens turned to shoot at the acolytes without being seen (the joys of hitting on a 2+ always!).

    Magic was directed at the Hold Guardians and Forge Wardens, and I managed to put Rune of Resilience on the latter to protect with the following turn’s shooting and magic. In the shooting phase both cannons tried once more to shoot at the altar, both failed to hit and one misfired. The Forge Wardens made up for it by killing five warlock acolytes in one go, but the elven shock troops didn’t panic.



    TURN 3 – Dread Elves

    The Militants failed frenzy and charged my cannon, but thankfully were unable to reach it and stumbled forward a couple of inches. The entire right flank moved up to set a trap for my Hold Guardians: the Shadow Riders stepped in front of them to redirect, both Black Cloak units moved up to shoot at them and the Acolytes and Prince split up and threatened the HG flank. In the center the units were more cautious, keeping their distance from my greybeards.

    In magic Altered Sight was cast on the big Black Cloak unit, and Ice and Fire was also forced through into my Forge Wardens, killing five of them. Shooting went better for the elves, and the combined efforts of the black cloaks and the auxiliaries were able to ping off six wounds from the Hold Guardians, relegating them to a support unit essentially.

    TURN 3 – Dwarven Holds

    With the DE shooting now taking a toll on one of my big blocks, and another one completely gone, I figured that I had to go on the offensive. I noticed one slight error in my opponent’s plan: the trap was well set against the Hold Guardians, but his entire right flank contingent was within panic range of the Dark Raiders, and the BSB was too far away. So instead of backtracking once more with the HG, I sent them right into the elven fast cavalry. The plan now was to force as many panic checks as possible, hoping for something to fail. The king charged into the militants’ flank, and the Rangers pivoted, making sure that the militants would flee past them and off the board on the event of a failed break test. The Forge Wardens pivoted to bring the small black cloaks within their sights, and the Greybeards once more shuffled a bit, making sure that the DE wouldn’t be able to push into my center as easily.

    Magic was focused on the two combats now; Rune of Resilience was cast on my king, who was hoping to dodge the assassin’s blows, and the Rune of Gleaming went off on the Hold Guardians in preparation for next turn’s events. In the shooting phase one cannon misfired again, but the other one struck true, went through the Altar’s aegis save and dealt an impressive four wounds! The Forge Wardens attempted to kill the small black cloaks in one go but failed, leaving a single black cloak alive, who passed his panic check.

    The king accepted a duel against the assassin and took a wound (multiplied into two) before he was able to beat the assassin to a pulp and make his retinue flee off the board. In the Hold Guardian fight the charging dwarven elite were only able to kill two Shadow Riders, but they forced them to flee. Panics ensued, and the Acolytes fled away. This left me with the Prince to worry about, but I figured that it would be ok; the Riders’ flee path would take them in front of the Altar unit, so it would be a 1-on-1 fight. Queue a failed restrain check, and my Hold Guardians went chasing the elven fast cavalry, exposing their flank to a very angry-looking altar block. To add insult to injury, the Riders fled 12” and were in the perfect position to redirect my Greybeards on the following turn!



    TURN 4 – Dread Elves

    Without hesitation, the Altar unit flanked the Hold Guardians. The Shadow Riders failed their rally check, and carried on fleeing, but the Warlock Acolytes managed to rally. The Obsidian Guard sprang into action and were used as emergency chaff to prevent the Greybeards from charging into the Altar unit. The Dread Prince decided not to charge into the Hold Guardian fight, since doing so would mean that he’d be facing two cannon shots on the following turn. The Black cloaks to the right now turned their attention to my Forge Wardens.

    In magic Perception of Strength failed to cast on the Altar block, then I let through Word of Iron and dispelled Glory of Gold. The shooting phase started with the Auxiliaries putting two wounds on the Forge wardens, then the lone Black Cloak killing another and forcing a panic check, which I promptly failed. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it allowed my Wardens to put some distance between them and the bigger black cloak unit, that was then left without any viable shooting targets.

    In combat the HG unit champion issued a duel and smacked around the legionary champion, while the Assassin struck first and put two wounds on the unit: the resulting casualty meant that the Temple Legate was no longer engaged in combat, and that in turn meant that the Altar couldn’t punch through the Hold Guardians’ defenses as easily. Another wound was suffered, but the single hold guardian in base to base contact struck at the Altar and managed to inflict the last unsaved wound! The Dread Elves had won combat by 5, but the Hold guardians passed their rerollable test but failed to reform!

    TURN 4 – Dwarven Holds

    With the Altar dead and the Hold Guardians still swinging, it was time for countercharges. The Rangers pushed the Shadow Riders away, opening up the way for the Greybeards and King to charge the Obsidian guard in the front and flank respectively. The Forge Wardens rallied.

    The runic spells were once more focused on the combat, and I managed to force through Rune of Resilience on the Hold Guardians and Rune of Revocation on the altar unit. In the Shooting phase the cannons tried to kill the lone Black cloak but failed, the closest cannon suffering yet another misfire! Clearly the result of DE sabotage!

    In close combat I elected to do the Hold Guardian fight first, rather than the Greybeard/king; the king had a possible overrun into the altar unit, but it was quite far and failing it would leave him exposed and block the Greybeards. So instead I opted for the HG, so as to know whether the unit would hold or not prior to reforming the Greybeards. In that fight, the HG unit champion dragged the Assassin into a duel, where he suffered a single wound for a wound back. The rest of the DE attacks resulted in a single unsaved wound on the Hold Guardians, who retaliated killing 3 legionaries. This time the HG had lost by 4, and still managed to hold their ground; they reformed to face the legionaries, who in turn couldn’t do much due to the proximity of the fleeing Riders.
    The obsidian guard attacked first against the Greybeards, killing an impressive 7 of them and wounding the king once. The dwarven elite retaliated, killing all the elves. The Greybeards reformed into a more compact formation, threatening the Legionaries’ flank.



    TURN 5 – Dread Elves

    The Dread Prince charged into the flank of the Hold Guardians to help the spears out, and the acolytes and black cloaks all moved towards my backlines and the depleted Forge Wardens. The Shadow Riders rallied.

    In magic the presence of the rune of revocation on the Legionary unit meant that I could stop every spell that mattered. Shooting killed four forge wardens, and the lone black cloak tried to kill the cannon but only managed to inflict a single wound to it. The five black cloaks in the middle of the board took pot shots at my greybeards, dropping another 3 of them.

    In combat the flaw in my opponent’s plan became apparent: the charging Dread Prince, much like the Temple Legate BSB, were engaged with the HG unit champion that was valiantly fighting in a duel against the Assassin. They were thus unable to fight, and it was up to the assassin and legionaries to handle them. The Assassin failed to wound once more, getting cut down in return, while the rest of the legionaries only managed a single wound to the HG. The retaliating attacks were enough to keep the Hold Guardians in the fight, and the elven infantry prepared for the incoming countercharge.



    TURN 5 – Dwarven Holds

    The counterattack was sounded: the king fell into the legionaries’ flank and the greybeards into their front. In combat the Rune of Resilience was once more cast on the Hold Guardians. The nearest cannon managed to kill the single black cloak with a volley fire, and the Rangers put all of their shots into the Warlock Acolytes on the hill, killing two of them. The Forge Wardens and the remaining cannon tried in vain to kill one more to drop them below the 25% threshold.

    Combat went well for the dwarves. The Hold Guardian champion fought the Prince in a duel, but without the Ruthless Efficiency the effective R6 proved to be too much for the elf, who failed to wound. The combined attacks from the king and the Greybeards were enough to kill a bunch of elves and force the survivors to flee. Everyone pursued, catching the Legionaries with the BSB and panicking the Shadow Riders nearby, but the Dread Prince managed to escape pursuit.



    TURN 6 – Dread Elves

    The Greybeards were now about to get sandwiched by the Acolytes and the Auxiliaries on each flank, and they promptly did so. Both the Prince and the Riders rallied. Magic was dispelled (only Perception of Strength really mattered) and the Black Cloaks finally managed to kill the cannon with their last volley. The smaller black cloak unit took aim at the Forge Wardens and dropped them down to two remaining models.

    In the crucial combat, the Warlock Acolytes dealt three wounds to the Greybeards, and the auxiliaries added another one. In return, the greybeards and my BSB went crazy, killing all three of the Warlock Acolytes and two auxiliaries! The elves had won combat, but the Greybeards held and reformed.

    TURN 6 – Dwarven Holds

    In the closing turn of the game the only thing left to do was to try and get some more points, and ensure that the greybeards would survive the game. Magic resulted in Rune of Resilience and Rune of Gleaming getting cast on them, and the surviving cannon misfired once more while trying to kill the Dread prince sitting atop the hill. The combined shooting from the Rangers and the two remaining Forge Wardens managed to kill the five black cloaks.

    In the final combat, the Auxiliaries failed to wound and suffered a couple of wounds in return, losing the fight and fleeing away. They outran their pursuers, bringing the game to a close.



    The Dread Elves held the secondary objective but they had been bloodied by the dwarves, resulting in a 12-8 Dwarven Holds win!

    AFTERMATH

    What a game to end the W8MW tournament! The back-to-back fiascos on the first two turns had me worried, especially when I was left with a temple Militant unit in my backlines. I have to commend the Hold Guardian for their performance, tanking a flank charge by an Altar Star (yes, with the altar on one wound, but still). Once more, the Forge Wardens performed admirably, keeping the Black Cloaks off my back for most of the game and dealing crucial wounds on the Acolytes to prevent them from threatening my blocks.

    The cannons were comically bad at hitting stuff, but the one time they hit was worth it: the altar star couldn’t be allowed to hit my lines at full health, which is why I directed all of my firepower at it. Had this happened earlier, I may have been able to contest the objective, but as it were I was obliged to take my time – R3 dwarves is not something that I was looking forward to!

    The rest of the team had already finished their games before me, so when we tallied up the points for this one we knew what the round’s result would be: it turned out that the Belgian team had bested the Finnish, for a convincing 99-61 win!

    Tournament conclusion and list overview coming soon!

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Comments 2

  • toots -

    great stuff amigo. gutted to see the DE losing but hey-ho

  • falanor -

    Well played! Question for you: given how much trouble perception of strength poses to you, would you use the devouring rune on that instead? It means it goes through the first combat but then you are free...

    Is Unity in Divergence a bigger problem?