A nicely summarized Fantasy Battle tournament by A Dark Elf army player (AndyP from Warhammer.org.uk). He faced off against High Elves, Warriors of Chaos, Bretonnians, Wood Elves and Dwarfs in a wide variety of battle scenarios.
[Sigmar: I like AndyP's reports they are down-to-earth and full of personality. He says it like he sees it so you know exactly how he feels. The reports are also well written and nicely summarized, he doesn't focus too much on the fine details but tells you what you need to know. All-in-all great reports.]
|source : http://warhammer.org.uk||credit : AndyP||4-Jan-2011|
INTRODUCTION - This one’s for the Venerable Bede.
A little while ago, circumstances conspired to leave me with some holiday time to use up and some holiday money to spend. I was wondering what to do with myself when I realised that I should probably fulfil an intention I had had for a fair few years now and attend the Giant Fanatic tournament in Denmark. Copenhagen to be exact. So, in true reverse-Viking raid style, I arranged passage on a vessel across the sea and prepared to burn all the monasteries, pillage all the loot and molest all the nuns I could find whilst over there.
One of the reasons that I had wanted to attend GF was the comp restrictions in place, most comped tournaments don’t affect me as I can usually take the same sort of armies that I would take to an uncomped tournament anyway. When I read the restrictions and find that I can’t take what I want – then I enjoy the challenge in having to change up my army a bit. Having played a few games of 8th edition with my existing armies, the games I have enjoyed the most have been with my trusty Dark Elves, so with no time or motivation to alter any of my existing armies to a new style I packed up the evil pointy ones and loaded them onto another flight. This is actually the 4th foreign country that the Dark Elves have raided so they’re used to all the travelling. Sadly I had to go via Easyjet, rather than by Black Ark.
The list I decided upon was based on one of my 7th edition builds, competitive in every phase and pleasing to the eye in terms of battlefield presence. The one big change was that the comp system only allowed a cauldron, a hydra or RBTs. I didn’t give a toss about the RBTs but I sadly had to leave Crutchy 5 heads at home. I replaced him with 6 cold one knights, about the same cost and potentially even killier if I could get a nice cauldron-assisted charge off. My final list was:
- Level 4: Shadow Magic, Lifetaker, Focus Familiar, Dragonbane Gem
- Death Hag BSB: Cauldron
- Master: Pegasus, Ring of Hotek, Dragonhelm, The Other Trickster’s Shard, Lance, Armour, etc
- Level 1: Metal Magic
- Assassin: Throwing Stars, Rune of Khaine
- 20 Spears: Full Command, Flaming Attacks Banner
- 20 Spears: Full Command, Extra Leadership Banner
- 5 Dark Riders: Banner, Musician
- 10 Crossbows: Full Command
- 5 Harpies
- 5 Harpies
- 12 Black Guard: Full Command, Banner of Murder
- 5 Shades: Extra Weapons
- 5 Shades: Extra Weapons
- 6 Cold One Knights: Banner, Musician, Gleaming Pennant
So, for a DE army, quite a lot of models on the table. No oversized infantry units as I’m yet to be convinced that they’re any good, apart from some specific cases.
Dark Elves vs High Elves - Capture the TowerEvery time a high elf player complains about having to face Dark Elves* I cry a little inside. As a DE player, I hate facing high elves. The ASF and (now) the re-rolls to hit means that I really can’t play a proper game of warhammer. All my fragile little elves die before they’ve even had their breakfast, forcing me to avoid combat and just ponce around shooting at stuff. The worst bit is that the high elf players then complain that all dark elf players do is ponce around and shoot stuff. It’s a nasty vicious circle.
* the lack of capitalisation for the inferior race is deliberate.
Thankfully I had an absolute gent of an opponent that meant a very enjoyable game was had. The gist of this scenario was that we had to end the game with as many scoring units as possible within 6” of the impassible tower. A scoring unit was anything worth 100+ points and 5 or more models. For this scenario, zero to ten points were available for killing ones opponents and another zero to ten available for achieving mission objectives.* My list wasn’t too bad, with six potential scoring units, meaning I could even lose one and still get maximum points.
* This is by far my favourite means of scoring a tournament. I really couldn’t give a toss if the person on table one has mathematically played enough games to be crowned the winner. It’s much better if all the games give as many people as possible something to play for for as much of the game as possible.
Martin’s list was tough for me to handle, a level 4 (life) and level 2 (fire?) were accompanied by a pedestrian BSB, two units of 20-25 spears and 10 archers made up the core requirements and then the majority of Martin’s points were invested in two large super buzz choppy units. One large block of swordmasters and one large block of white lions. Two elf pigeons were the only rare choices present on the table.
Given the scenario, I knew I had to work this as best as I could as getting a big win in terms of stuff killed was unlikely. With the advantage in deployment, I was able to force Martin to split his troops to either side of the tower, with a spear block and eagle in support of each. I held back my shooters so that I could concentrate them on the swordmasters, who seemed like the best target for shooting away. The rest of my plan was to delay the white lions and other spears, kill the eagles and archers and use my combat troops on the spears supporting the swordmasters.
Martin won the first turn and started advancing, as can be seen in the picture below. The white lions are on the near side of the tower and the swordmasters are on the far side. You can see the quality of the supplied terrain that was on every table at this event - by far the best terrain of any event I’ve ever been to.
One of my shade units got immediately embroiled in a fight, as they were charged by an eagle. Thankfully the stand and shoot, as well as I5 extra hand weapons with hatred meant that I killed an eagle for free. In not-so-good news the swordmasters had been made toughness 7, thanks to life magic and poor dispel rolls by me. In worse news I was learning another facet of 8th edition the hard way - it’s quite tough to get out of the way of very wide killy units. I realised my deployment mistake with my cold ones. Now that they are never able to flee, by placing my cold ones in the middle of the line, I was making things very difficult for myself. I couldn’t move forwards or sideways or backwards and if those swordmasters hit the cold ones, they would hurt a lot. Worse still, the units behind would not be able to flee from any overruns or pursuits. Stupid Andy.
Despite my mistake, fate smiled on me a bit and I shot the spears on the Eastern flank (due to the beefcakyness of the T7 swordmasters making shooting pointless). From two units of shades, ten crossbows and lifetaker, I took down about 15 spears, rendering that unit pretty ineffective. had also reduced the move of the swordmasters, which bought me a bit more time on that flank.
The white lions kept advancing and looked very menacing, they also did a fine job of protecting the high elf wizards from any suicide assaults by my troops. I started to worry about that flank. I spotted a chance for redemption for the cold ones and decided to take the gamble. Martin had turned the damaged spears around to threaten my shades and dark riders, as the spears were in no state to threaten my black guard. They were however within a reasonable distance from the cold ones, who saw a get out of jail card and went for the charge. Wisely, Martin fled, which doomed his spears to being picked apart, but also doomed the cold ones to the choppy fate dished out by swordmasters. In a final act of defiance, the cold ones passed a leadership check and redirected their charge to force the surviving eagle to flee. Then they sat there and waited for the swordmasters...
The swordmasters hit, killed all the cold ones before I got to attack, then overran into the poor crossbows behind. Ouch. That wasn’t part of the plan. The white lions prepared to mince one of my spear units. So, both of the large killy units had made it to my lines intact and would now be able to do all sorts of fancy combat reforms to make mopping up easy.
The next few turns involved me sacrificing, diverting and manoeuvring for all my worth, trying to either draw the swordmasters into the black guard or just keep them and the white lions from killing too much more stuff. I half a unit of spears to the white lions (who decided not to pursue) and then all of another unit. I also lost my harpies and level 1 wizard. On the plus side, I got rid of the other eagle, archers and fleeing spears. The death of one of these units also caused the spear block containing the high elf wizards to flee.
My slow-moving cauldron got caught by the white lions, but only having 6 models able to attack, and my 4+ ward save meant that the death hag was holding out nicely. Landing my pegasus near to the elf mages also meant that I bought myself a turn or two of no magic, so I was also able to start turning my remaining shooting onto the swordmasters. Martin eventually needed a safe place for them to hide and put them into the cauldron fight too.* The brave death hag held out until the second to last turn, even taking a fair few high elves with her. The fight finished just in time for my shooting to take out the last remaining swordmasters.
* 8th Ed question: can multiple units fight a war machine? If so do you have to nominate all 6 fighters from one unit, or can you split?
As the survivors of my battered spear unit prepared to face the full spear unit of the high elves, the game turned big time. A hotek inspired miscast on Martin’s level 4, sucked the high elf into the warp and destroyed 80% of the spear unit. A short mopping-up charge later and I’d killed off the other mage, the unit and got my spear block close enough to the tower to score some points for that too. They joined the dark riders (who had avoided combat all game) and the black guard (who failed to fight all game) in getting me three scoring units near to the tower, compared to zero units for Martin.
I finished the game with 8 points for killing and 8 points for the scenario, giving me a respectable 16 out of 20 and a good start in the event. Martin was great fun to play and I hope I’ve done him justice in trying to explain what a difficult situation he put me under and how lucky I was to get out of it with a win.
Dark Elves vs Warriors of Chaos - Battle for the PassA unique aspect of Giant Fanatic that I had not experienced at any other tournaments was the ability for players to have some choice over which scenarios they played. From a total of eight available, players could register on the website which five scenarios (if any) they would prefer to play. Upon sign up, I chose my five scenarios, grateful that I had a good chance to avoid my least favourite. I’m sure everybody can work out where this is going, even if they’re not sure how.
Naturally, being an idiot, I somehow managed to de-register myself from the event and delete my profile. Asger was kind enough to add me back in, but I decided to stay away from the technology and forgot that I would need to re-choose my scenario preferences. Battle for the Pass was not on my list of scenarios that I wanted to play. With an army that relies on coordinating lots of units to hit one target, I find that it’s very tough for my list in Battle for the Pass, especially if the opponent has got multiple tough combat blocks that I have to avoid.
Nikolaj had a Tzeentchian level 4, Nurgle Level 2, Nurgle Level 1 and a Tzeentchian BSB, two huge columns of great weapon armed Khorne marauders, a unit of eleven Chaos Trolls (yes, eleven), three free trolls* and a Hellcannon. Whilst I felt that I could deal with this army quite easily on a wide table, the narrow format made things a lot more difficult for me. My spidey sense told me that engaging in any sort of attrition fight with either of the marauder blocks or the big unit of trolls would be a fight I would regret getting into, but if I wanted some points then I might have to. I decided that my best chance of getting points would be to go for character assassination, then perhaps deal with one or two of the marauder blocks. The chances are that whatever I sent in to kill the characters would also bite the dust, so I’d have to be careful that I didn’t throw too much at it.
* the tournament allowed some armies a free unit of less-common troops. Dark elves got nothing. I would have settled for a sixth edition hydra
With Nikolaj having so few deployments, I had a bit of an edge there but the narrow battlefield was giving me headaches. What I really needed to do against this army was surround it, and I needed the width to divert some elements whilst I dealt with the other parts of the army. The final deployment looked like this:
Nikolaj’s characters were all grouped around the centre of his lines, so I made sure that my black guard with assassin were also there. Their (suicide) mission was to run right at them and (possibly with cauldron killing blow) kill as many of the characters as they could get hold of. My scouts went behind the chaos lines; ready to distract the hellcannon, marchblock the large troll unit and help to whittle down one of the marauder blocks. I made sure that my flaming spearelves were facing off against the large troll unit and way out on one flank. I doubted that they could take on the trolls head on (maybe with extra cauldron attacks) but if Nikolaj wanted to turn his flank to my spears to get in at the fight in the centre, I would be more than happy to have a go there, especially if the trolls were away from the general. I got the deployment of the crossbows and the cold one knights the wrong way round, meaning that I would have to advance the knights through the difficult terrain.
Nikolaj won the first turn and advanced at me. I weathered the magic with no real problems and the hellcannon shooting was mitigated by the fact that it failed it’s rampage test and trundled towards the shades behind it (who promptly moved out of charge arc in their next turn). Seeing that Nikolaj had moved his level 4, level 2 and BSB into one unit of marauders, this is where my black guard headed. My Pegasus hero flew behind the big central rock where he couldn’t be charged but his ring of hotek would cause all sorts of problems for Nikolaj’s casters. I also advanced aggressively with the cauldron, as the limit of six marauders at once would mean that the cauldron was not under much threat from the large chaos blocks - I was confident that the death hag and her assistants could kill 5 or 6 marauders before they could strike. I lost one knight as they walked through the difficult terrain, but I was keen to send them into the small unit of trolls, blast through and then be able to threaten the flanks of one of the marauder columns.
When my first magic phase rolled around, I realised I’d made a stupid mistake - my level 4 was too close to my hotek pegasus. I did have a fair few dice available, so I threw two power dice at a seemingly inconsequential miasma, which Nikolaj let through. My level 4 then swapped places with the level 1, away from the ring and let fly with a large pit of shades, killing twenty marauders from one unit. It’s a start, at least.
Turn two and it all went a bit awry. Nikolaj started his magic phase by casting Rot, Glorious Rot from his level 2. I failed the dispel by one and then cried as it his 6 or so units, causing virtually no hits on my larger units but killing my hotek pegasus rider outright, as well as the complete unit of dark riders standing nearby. At least the resulting hotek miscast saw the nurgle wizard losing 3 magic levels and not being able to threaten me with that spell any more. The follow-up casting of gateway on the cauldron was something I was fairly confident about, with my toughness ten, four wounds and a 3+ ward save. None of that helps when an eleven is rolled for strength. I took off my cauldron too. Just to top off a magic phase where he’s killed my general and BSB (total of 625 victory points), Nikolaj threw his last power dice at a flickering fire for my cold ones and killed all five remaining knights. Not good.
I charged the black guard at the character bus and just for good measure put a unit of shades into the rear. If I did succeed in killing the characters, then the block would still be steadfast, but I wanted to ensure that I would win the combat and that I would have two chances at pursuit if he failed the leadership 7 test. Naturally the Black Guard rolled like drunken chimps and moved a pitiful 2 inches (I think I needed a five or a six), leaving the shades to charge to their doom. The chaos BSB calmly made way the 10 inches to the back of the unit and butchered the shades.
In his next turn, Nikolaj sent his small trolls towards my crossbows with level 4, but didn’t fancy sending in his weakened marauder block at my spears or black guard, so turned them around to threaten the shades who were dancing with the hellcannon, The character block stayed still as a magical bunker but this was for naught as this magic phase didn’t do much damage (aprt from killing half my black guard) this turn. The large troll block worked to hunt down my (flaming) spear block.
In my turn three, the black guard couldn’t miss and finally hit the front of the marauders, with the assassin jumping out to ‘have words’ with the chaos level 4. Immediately after, my central spear block charged the flank of the small troll unit, with a nice pursuit path taking them into the lone chaos level 1, should I break the trolls. Realising that there was no escape, my flaming spear block expanded to be 7 wide and moved as close as possible to the front of the large troll unit, offset to one side. My intention was that the troll unit would not be able to wheel enough to bring all the trolls into combat and at least I would have to fight less of them. Was this a legal move on my part?
In my magic phase, I took up all of my magic dice in my desperate little fist and threw them at a mindrazor on the black guard. I didn’t get irresistible, but neither did Nikolaj manage to dispel it*. I sensibly skipped my opportunity to challenge and waited to see what Nikolaj would do. Realising that he had no way of escape, the Chaos level 4 challenged and the assassin stepped forwards. Six strength 10 wounds were followed by six successful 3+ ward saves. Feck.
* the now non-wizard nurgle sorcerer had a dispel scroll, but it was ruled that he couldn’t use it. It has since been FAQed that he would have been able to do so. At the time, neither of us knew one way or the other which way to play it.
To make matters worse, of the four strength 9 wounds I scored on the BSB, three of those were saved on a 4+ ward too. The now-useless level 2 was clubbed to death. On the upside, the level 4 only did one wound to the assassin, and the chaos BSB and marauders failed to kill all the black guard. I passed my stubborn check and would get another go.
The spears in the side of the trolls easily broke them (despite the fact that the chaos general and BSB were still alive: grumble, grumble), ran them down and pursued into the lone wizard. There wasn’t much else to my turn.
Next turn, the large unit of chaos trolls charged into the waiting spears, got badly burned and forgot how to attack. With four wounds each, equal ranks, me having a banner, him having charged. I won on musician. The trolls were using their own leadership and were ran down. Turning point in the game!
The lone chaos wizard was broken by the spear block, but I failed to catch him. No Biggy.
In his magic phase, Nikolaj’s level 4 miscast and rolled the lowest result. He avoided relocating relocating relocating to the warp (grrr) and the explosion left me with just the black guard champion and the assassin. Frankly I was lucky to have even them. Just to add insult to injury, the chaos level 4 passed the 3+ ward from the hit from the miscast. With Occam’s Mindrazor still working, the assassin tried again to kill the wizard, scoring another five strength 10 wounds. Naturally, this was followed by another five successful 3+ saves. The assassin just died out of frustration. When his two strength 9 wounds on the BSB were also ward-saved, the black guard champion joined the assassin in the sweet release of death.
In sheer desperation, the spear block that had killed the large troll unit charged the flank of the chaos character’s marauder block. It was a rash and reckless move and they all died for no gain. My metal wizard scored a few more points for me by melting the kneecaps off the fleeing chaos level 1, but that was my last real action of the game. Nikolaj’s last couple of turns were just mopping up, using his magic too kill of my level 4 and crossbow unit and hunting down my shades.
With no scenario points, Nikolaj had racked up an impressive victory point difference over me and I took away 2 tournament points to his 18. Despite the fact that the game was frustrating for me luck-wise and also quite a tough match up, it was still very enjoyable and Nikolaj was a great opponent to play against.
Dark Elves vs Bretonnia - Night / Dawn AttackNow this definitely was a scenario that I wanted to play and I was glad that it had come up in the randomiser. This was an improved version of the standard hidden deployment scenario. At Giant Fanatic, each of the tables assigned to the scenario were also kitted out with giant self-supporting screens that could be stood along the centreline of the table. This way, both Johan and myself could set up our armies simultaneously without knowing what our opponent was doing.
Johan didn’t have any major-sized lances, so it was difficult for me to predict where his main attack would come from - that would basically be dependent upon the position of his lord and BSB. Knowing then that I didn’t know much, I went for a conservative approach, weighted to my Western flank that would allow me a bit of flexibility in my early moves.
from top to bottom (west to east): Cold ones, Pegasus, Harpies and Spear Unit, Spear unit with Level 1, Cauldron, Black Guard with Level 4, Crossbows, Harpies, Dark Riders.
Johan’s deployment looked like this.
I scouted one unit of my shades behind the fence by the central building, ready to advance on the trebuchet in the forest (strength 5 template weapons really really scare elves) and the other unit into the far eastern corner of Johan’s deployment zone. With the horse-lovers (most likely) praying to the watery tart, I was confident that the shades could cause all sorts of havoc if I got first turn.
Johan prayed like a good Bretonnian and I put my plan* into action. The central shades ran out in front of the trebuchet. The only combat unit that could draw line of sight was the Level 4’s peasants, which would result in me getting a few whacks at the bint and also drawing her unit forward. My harpies flew forward to also threaten the trebuchet. The dark riders and other shades moved around the side of Johan’s flanking force and the shades started shooting the yeomen. Other units moved up cautiously, weary of insane-length Bretonnian charges.
* I say plan, but really, I only had one unit that I knew what to do with. Everything else I just made up as I went along.
In the magic phase, I successfully cast a movement-reducing miasma on the Bret Duke’s unit, to slow down Johan’s response to the shade situation. As a (very nice) added bonus, the level 1 wizard got an irresistible force melty spell off on the BSB’s unit of knights, killing 5 of them from a lowly D6 hits. Not bad going. The miscast wounded my wizard and killed a few elves, but who’s counting?
The scene of Johan’s first turn.
So, with two of his units reduced to a single model, Johan pulled an ingenious move out of the bag in order to even even the odds. Actually, the keener-eyed reader may well have noticed that it wasn’t just a move pulled out of the bag, but a whole unit of pegasus knights. As a dark elf player, I find this sneakiness* commendable and the tactic well worth stealing. The Pegasus knights took up position where the BSB’s unit had been. The BSB bailed into the Duke’s unit and the sole survivor from that unit ran off into a table corner.
* it should go without saying, but thanks to the rant-inducing nature of the internet I should point out that Johan was very apologetic about forgetting his peg knights and was happy to play on without them, but I insisted that he put them on the table where he would have deployed them.
The Level 4’s unit charged the shades in order to save the trebuchet. With the horse-mounted wizard on the end of the unit, I would only be able to get one shade in contact. I did do a wound to the wizard, as well as a couple of peasants, but lost two shades to the return attacks. Luckily, I held. The rest of Johan’s army advanced a bit but my early successes meant that he had a bit of shuffling to do to counter my moves.
The charge on the shades proved to be unnecessary on Johan’s part as the trebuchet misfired and was easy prey for the harpies in my next turn. I advanced my black guard aggressively to take advantage of the bret level 4 being pinned in place. Hopefully, when they finished with the shades, I would be in a position to deal out some pain.
On the far western flank, my cold ones were facing off against a small unit of errant knights. Knowing that he had 1” charge advantage, I decided to just go for it anyway and declared a charge. I needed to be lucky, but who cares about the odds? If I got lucky and broke through that flank, I could turn and cause all sorts of headaches for Johan’s main force in the centre of the table, his lord wouldn’t know where to turn. Of course, if I got unlucky and he broke through, then those errants could cause all sorts of headaches for my centre forces.. etc etc. Taking an ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ attitude, I granted the cold ones extra attacks to ensure that if I did make contact, it would be very hitty, very hurty contact.
Naturally, I rolled something craptacular like a triple 1 and utterly failed the charge.
In the magic phase, my level 1 tried to melt the Duke’s unit of knights and this time the Bret sorceress was ready. The silver mirror did its strength 6 hit and I took my wizard off the table. My shades were finished off by the peasants. Once again, my carelessness of moving cost me when Johan was able to march his level 4’s unit right out of the front arc of the black guard. I must remember that this is much more possible now in 8th!
Johan’s errants proved to be much more mobile than my cold ones and crashed into the front of my unit. It was very much a case of handbags at dawn as neither side did much damage to the other. In fact the fight continued for several rounds unit the large unit of peasants joined in at the same time that all the cold ones decided to fail their armour saves. I lost my unit, but Johan later lost his peasants and half of his knights when my nearby spear unit turned around and chased them both away.
Halfway through the game, disaster struck for Johan when a hotek-inspired miscast killed a bunch of peasants and then the level 4’s unit panicked (they had strayed too far from the general and BSB) and ran right in front of my crossbows, who wasted no time in charging them down. The flanking double-entendre of the errant realm moved to avenge the Bret witch but were put off when they got close enough to read the small print on the card that had appeared next to the crossbows.
Next turn the crossbows were able to dive into the building and spend the rest of the game fighting the grail reliquary. Late in the game, my hotek-toter, having been made redundant in his primary role, went for a glory charge on the pegasus knights, who were guarding the sole survivor of the BSB’s unit. I figured that with charging, S6, hatred and the re-roll wards item I had a good chance of breaking through and picking up points for both units. Of course I fluffed my attacks and broke. The only saving grace was that my flee path was parallel to the board edge and I had the whole length of the table in which to fail my rally tests, which I did.
The final main action of the game (and the dramatic high point) came when Johan’s lord’s unit, after having blasted through one of my spear blocks, charged into the cauldron, which was blocking the path to the black guard. I knew it was coming, so put killing blow on the cauldron and hoped for some sixes. The death hag failed to kill the Duke in the challenge*, but the duke failed to kill her! I had another go at killing the Duke and failed again. This time the Duke killed the Death Hag, but the rest of the unit could not finish off the regular hags...
* this was before the new FAQ where war machine crews can’t challenge
“err, what’s the initiative of your Duke?” I enquired. When I found out that it was the same as my hag, I opted for killing blow again and went for it. No sixes this time. We were both shocked when the hag survived again and I would get one more chance at killing blow. In the final turn of the game, I rolled that magical six and Johan let out a howl of anguish that turned into a howl of joy as he rolled the six required for his ward save. Not wanting to take any more chances, the Duke killed my final hag and the game ended.
Even though I had quite a commanding battlefield presence at the end of the game, Johan had done well to conserve the remnants of units and deny me points, also the killing and capture of my battle standard cauldron, combined with that ward save meant that he grabbed/denied a big handful of points at the end so the game ended up as a 12-8 win to me. A very enjoyable game against a great opponent.
Dark Elves vs Wood Elves - roll to see where your units are placed !I know that a lot of people are down on wood elves in 8th edition, but having played both with and against them under the new rules, I think they’re still a very potent army. In the right hands. They’re also a very mobile army with (usually) some repeat choices in the list, meaning that they tend not to be hurt too much by this scenario. Likewise, my list shouldn’t be too badly hurt by some iffy rolls for deployment. Shouldn’t be too badly hurt. Shouldn’t..
From west to east, Nicolai’s list had a unit of archers and a unit of waywatchers in what turned out to be a blood forest, a large unit of dryads with branchwraith, a bunker unit of eternal guard with a life level 4, a large unit of archers, an eagle, treeman, BSB on pidgeon, altar noble, 6 treekin and a small unit of dryads. Basically all of Nicolai’s stuff rolled for a central deployment or the choice of deployments.
On the other hand, my army conspired against me to separate itself out into a horribly disjointed mess. The Woeful Western Warriors consisted of a spear block, crossbows, level 1 mage and pegasus general. The Easterly Beasterly consisted of my Level 4, cauldron, other spear block, black guard, dark riders and harpies, whilst my cold ones and other harpy unit were left stranded in the centre. Awesome.
Right, emergency plan time. I scouted both units of shades into the north west corner, hopefully I would be able to put some early shooting pain into the small archer unit and delay the waywatchers as they tried to deal with my shades. My general would launch a suicide attack at the dryads. If I got lucky on the charge, I might break them. At the least I can sit (semi-) safely in a challenge with the branchwraith and make casting nervy for the level 4. My cold ones would plow through the forest and try and take out the large archer unit and break through there. I had no idea what to do about the treekin. I figured that the best I could do would be to delay their inevitable advance and try to drop some down a pit.
I think I won first turn and started to put my plan into action, with my pegasus general advancing behind the fence, whilst my shades did the “shoot me, shoot me” dance. On the eastern side, not much happened at all. I was not keen on advancing my black guard within range of that large archer unit nor the imposing treekin unit. I think my cold ones may even have gone stupid, just to really make my first turn a non-event.
Nicolai responded by moving to deal with the shades and shuffling his dryads across into the forest, daring my pegasus to charge. The treekin were obviously not as confident of smashing through my lines as I thought they should be, instead hardly advancing at all. This left the small dryad unit to advance alone, which gave my wizard and assassin something to shoot at.
Turn two and I really felt lost, no idea what to do. I decided to stick to my foolhardy plan and charged the general into the dryads. Of course, the challenging branchwraith had the annoyance, but I was banking on the challenge to stop all the return attacks from the dryads. Before the combat could be fought, I managed to get one spell cast during the magic phase - a cheeky miasma on the archers in the forest. The damage from the blood forest did nothing of note, but it did move the forest away from the dryads so that they lost their stubbornness. I scored a cheeky wound in the challenge, plus one wound on the unit from stomp* but took one wound in return. Still I won combat. Unfortunately, the dryads held and next turn they would get their BSB re-roll.
* I know that some people say that stomps can be used in challenges, but I went with the interpretation I feel is most likely
I continued trying to advance through the centre, with my eastern spear block and cold ones moving up through the forest to attack the large archer unit and hopefully pin down the level 4’s bunker. At some point mid-game I horribly mis-calculated what I would need to roll for a charge from the cold ones, declared the charge and then was horribly shocked when Nicolai pointed out my maths error. That cost me a cold one to a stand and shoot and also cost me a lot of respectability. The following turn my two surviving cold ones made it to the archers, only to get wiped out by the unarmoured elves. That was unexpected. And disappointing. Also during the mid-game Nicloai had been dithering with his treeman as well as his treekin so tired of working out whether it would be a threat or not, my level 1 mage just threw all his dice at the melty burny spell and toasted the big tree.
Eventually, my general rolled enough sixes to kill the branchwraith and set about the task of whittling through the dryads. At one point, Nicolai charged his eagle into the side of my pegasus rider, which caused a nervy break check for me this time, but I passed. At this point, I made my biggest mistake of the game. My crossbows had advanced to the fence in order to get some targets to shoot at. With the wood elf eagle stuck n the side of my general, it was now an easy flank charge for my unharmed crossbows. By charging in, I could have gained a rank, flank, charge, banner and maybe a wound or two to add to the combat resolution. Instead, I chose to shoot at the wood elf BSB instead. Naturally, he was well protected with trinkets and I achieved nothing. Next turn, the wood elf BSB charged into to my general and broke or killed him. Bugger.
After this, the game kind of tailed off. My attack (such as it was) was broken and I put my resources into trying to mitigate the loss. Kicking myself for not charging earlier, I charged with my crossbows into the wood elf BSB right at the end of the game and only succeeded in giving Nicolai another handful of victory points.
When the dust settled, Nicolai had beaten me by a fairly decent margin, but thankfully that only worked out as a 8-12 loss. It could have been much worse.
Dark Elves vs Dwarfs - [Sigmar: no photos and somewhat abridged]
Okay, as we’re nearing three months after the actual tournament things might be getting a little fuzzy, so please excuse any inaccuracies.
After a game where I didn’t really feel that I’d had much of a chance thanks to a bit of bad luck and my own ineptitude, I was a bit downbeat to see that I was facing dwarfs. Regular readers might recall that I hate the hairy little race of mud-feckers that are the dwarfs. High weapon skill, high-toughness, good armour with nasty armour, powerful shooting and worst of all, The Anvil of Doom. It has to be in my top three most hated things in Warhammer.
Of course Steffan’s army had an anvil, as well as a BSB and another dwarf hero type (who knows what, they’re all the same), three big blocks of troops, a large block of miners, a small block of rangers and a cluster of warmachines (cannon, organ gun and rock lobber iirc). Of course, as well as I, Steffen was in possession of a deadly golden gun. Toted by a rat of dubious backstory, each golden gun could fire three highly-accurate strength 4 shots every turn. Bad for elves, not quite so bad for dwarfs.
I set up with my usual anti-dwarf strategy in mind, namely to try and grab points by killing war machines and the small units as well as maybe picking on one of the larger blocks. I’d tie up the anvil if I could in order to stop it killing units of mine at will. Other than that, I’d try to avoid any direct confrontation with the big blocks except with a boosted black guard unit.
The game started pretty poorly for me, with a shade assassination attempt on Steffan’s golden gun proving unsuccessful. My cold ones failed a re-rolled stupidity check once again and stumbled forwards. Instead of getting a nice first-turn charge on Steffan’s ranger unit, they inadvertently offered up a flank charge to the great weapon wielding stunties. Figuring that with dark rider’s usual life expectancy against dwarfs I was better off keeping the cold ones alive, I charged my dark riders into the rangers flank in order to hold them up for two rounds of combat and give the cold ones time to escape. Not that this was worth doing in the long run, as the only organ gun shot that I allowed Steffan to take at the cold ones did ten hits and deleted the entire unit of six in one go.
One of my spear blocks took a painful hit from the rock lobber, costing me about half of the unit and pretty much rendering it useless. As well as being useless, they were also blocking the charge path of my black guard onto the miners that had just entered the table and chased off my pegasus rider. If I didn’t deal with the miners, then they were going to cause a whole host of problems and prevent me to getting to grips with my objectives in the dwarf lines. I took advantage of the generous 8th edition charging rules and declared a possible, but unlikely, charge with the battered spear unit onto a dwarf block still 16 inches away. Any roll but a double one would have been sufficient to take the spear block out of the way of the black guard and allow me to make the charge I wanted to make.....
Can you tell where this is going?
One double six later and my spear block were across the table engaged in a fight they had no hope of winning. It was a charge that would probably have been a 20” charge in 7th edition. We were both a bit shocked as I moved my spears across the table to their doom. Much to both our surprises, I managed to draw the combat. Not only that turn but the brave/stupid spear block held on for multiple turns after that, delaying any dwarf advance on that flank. They eventually died, but it was well worth the sacrifice, even if I didn’t mean it.
With extra attacks from the cauldron, the black guard and assassin made very easy work of the miners, leaving the two or three survivors to run off the board as they reformed to face the next dwarf block in line - the hammerers, I think. My luck was really boiling this turn, as a nice-dice pit of shades dropped the anvil of doom out of the game* (it also cost me three magic levels from the miscast). Muttering “do I have to do everything around here?” my level 4then took aim with his lifetaker and nailed three shots into Steffan’s Golden Rat. Steffan was generous enough to fail his ward saves and his rat was removed. This pretty much ensured that the worst I could now do was a draw. So it was time to push for the big win.
* if any dwarf players feel that it’s a bit harsh that an anvil is auto-killed vs the pit, take heart that I managed to drop my own cauldron of blood into a pit in my last game with the DE.
As mentioned, the black guard were now facing off against the hammerers and dealt to them the same fate that the miners had received. Although I took a few casualties, it didn’t take long to chew through the elite dwarfs. Next up on the list was a block of longbeards with the dwarf BSB - a much tougher nut to crack. With the hero in there and the dwindling numbers of the black guard, it was a bitter bloody fight, eventually ending with the dwarf BSB and ta solitary longbeard as the only survivors of the fight. Still, the black guard had done well to get as far as they did.
The game petered out, with my harpies taking out the rock lobber but both of the other dwarf machines surviving. My (originally) level 4 even managed to end the game with a net magic level of minus 1. Truly a great achievement.
Thank to the death of the anvil and the two dwarf blocks I did manage to kill, my losses were cancelled out and I was able to use my scenario points to grant me a minor/mid sized win. Despite my dislike of playing dwarfs, Steffen made the game a great deal of enjoyment to play, with many jokes shared on both sides. A great way to end my first Danish tournament.
So five good games, with a particular highlight against Johan in game 3. I would have liked to flatter myself with a bit of a higher game score, but that wasn’t to be. A combination of a lack of experience with 8th edition, no practice with the rules pack, high quality of opposition and (of course) a little bit of bad luck held me back a bit.
Along with about half of the field, I got hit badly on my painting scores due to not having matching movement trays on all my units. A lot of folks were caught out by this, but I was kind of expecting it. I did have some matching movement trays but, in my opinion, the way I displayed my army looked better and I’m not keen on making my army look worse in order to get a few more points.
I really enjoyed my time at Giant Fanatic, as a tournament there were lots of neat little touches that made the event feel like the GTs of old. I really like the way that the team tried their best to add extra little things. I heard about the text message round announcements on the Bad Dice podcast and thought that they sounded a bit gimmicky. However, they actually turned out to be really useful, especially if you’re like me and usually take a a look at the round draw, walk away and then promptly forget what you just read. It’s nice just to check your phone again. Also if you’re like me and can’t remember your opponent’s name come the end of the game, you can surreptitiously check again.
In all, I’ll more than likely try to attend GF again (possibly learning to play first). The tournament was great and the Danes were more than friendly as hosts.They made sure that us foreign types knew where to go to get food and drink and took us out to the bar on Saturday evening. Also, I’d definitely like to see more of Copenhagen* and maybe extend the trip out a bit on either side.
* why is it that lots of cities that appeal to ‘weekend break’ tourists close all their museums on a Monday? Don’t they realise that people might actually want to visit stuff whilst on holiday?
So, I hope you enjoyed reading this belated report. Sorry if I’ve missed anything/anyone out.