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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:20 am 
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Hey Jimmy! Yeah shooty Ogres are a pain. I`m glad I got to face them as I understand a lot better what I can do against them and what I can`t do. Furthermore, all the mistakes I`ve made I`ll remember for a long time, hopefully avoiding them in important matches.

Originally I thought an OK shooty-list should be more MSU-ish to be effective, but after this game I`m of the opposite opinion: The main weakness of such a list is its low ld and big footprint. With 3 blocks (guts + leadies + maneaters) you can have all in LD9 + BSB bubble. Also, big units of shooters are scary because basic ogres fight hard enough to deter lots of units in combat. As I said previously, I think that the Maneaters are frequently a better candidate for an anchor than Leadbelchers. The extra WS, S and A really do make a difference, to the point where you need a quite powerful unit (intact, none the less!) to beat them. Also, stubborn is golden for an anchor, giving the guts enough time to do what they should be doing.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:54 pm 
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A couple of interesting thoughts on builds there Curu with regards to Lord choices. I think the two really emphasize different aspects: utility and durability respectively. I tend to think that in the hands of a better general (by this I mean you!) the first option (utility) is a better choice as you can get around the problem of durability by playing well and not needing the extra redundancy in defensive items. In particular with the Loremaster I think the shield is the better option for you. Yes that 4++ did save you in a recent game but in the end, I don't think it is enough to protect such a character. For instance, a unit of sniper Man Eaters will likely kill him either way, as will any combat character worth his salt.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:01 pm 
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To a certain extent I agree John, but the problem as I said is getting those points into something that is really valuable, for example the L2 upgrade. Remember that getting the shield also leaves S6 at home, which I believe is very unfortunate. Could you perhaps provide a complete character setup for us to evaluate and make a list of its pros and cons relative to the current setup? :)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:47 pm 
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I`ve started my Phoenix Guard, and given my recent list development (I have used Swordmasters as PG thus far), I need to paint quite a lot to get my army ready for my next tournament (roughly 1 month from now). Here`s how the PG will look:

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Even for me, this is dark. However the flames contrast very well with the black cloaks and white halberds simply takes a lot more time. The bases will be pretty bright and the unit filler (40x60mm) will be painted as a statue, so the overall feel of the unit should fit well with the army. I`m hoping to finish this unit this week actually (fingers crossed) so I can start with the cavalry ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:28 pm 
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I had to go through this whole Public Health thing for myself a few month ago, pal...

On the model: I, for myself, like brighter colors on my elves but I actually like the dark scheme on the Phoenix Guard. The dark cloak and the bright orange flames contribute to their background and make a good contrast on the model. Maybe you could add another layer of brighter gold or copper on the armor. It looks a bit dull as it is and I think the unit would look much more impressive from afar if the golden armor shines a bit more. I recognized that single models can look quite nice with less contrast but on the battlefield you have to overdo it a little for more effect. Hence my final accent is often white or something close to white. With metal colors I often use a bright silver for the final accent, even when painting gold. Just a hint of silver produces a nice shine on it.

But overall good concept.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:22 am 
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PG is looking very good.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:45 am 
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@Velmates - my entire army is kind of dark. I`m hoping to get photos up of a lot of it in a couple of weeks :) The armour is actually drybrushed with shining gold, but the lighting conditions weren`t spectacular when I took this picture. I`ve also resigned to the fact that in order to complete all the projects I want to (let`s face it: I enjoy playing more than painting) I also have to paint the vast majority of my models to tabletop standard only, leaving little room for details and nice-to-haves.

@Jimmy - thanks ;)

I`ve completed 12/20 PG thus far. Admittedly 6 of those is the unit filler, so 8 normal models left. Looking good for completion within the week!

With all the recent discussions I thought I`d add the draft as it stands per now and summarize the main feedback points. Next game (which is on Friday against VC), the following list will take to the field:

Prince on Barded Steed, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Giant Blade, Dawnstone, Ironcurse Icon = 268
Loremaster of Hoeth, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation = 330
Noble BSB on Barded Steed, Dragonhelm, Golden Crown of Atrazar, The Other Trickster`s Shard, Dragon Armour, Shield, Lance = 163
Heavens Mage, Dispel Scroll = 110
Characters = 871

5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows = 85
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows = 85
5 Silver Helms, Shields, Musician = 125
12 Silver Helms, Full Command = 306
Core = 601

20 White Lions, Full Command, Banner Of The World Dragon = 340
20 Phoenix Guard, Full Command, Razor Standard = 375
Special = 715

3 Repeater Bolt Thrower = 210
Rare = 210

Army Total = 2397


So the Star Lance is out, TOTS is in. 5 Reavers gone, 5 Silver Helms in. The TOTS has been included to better the Prince`s fighting capabilities against Ward saves, with the rationale being that Star Lance doesn`t offer a big advantage relative to a normal lance in most of my hard matchups. TOTS on the other hand makes the Prince quite a bit scarier. The Reavers made way for a small unit of Helms which can help clear the way for the bus (see my last game vs Ogres here for what happens when they get delayed: viewtopic.php?f=67&t=45081&p=872678#p872678) and provide cover when necessary.

One more point has been discussed recently: dropping the Loremaster`s equipment to (maybe) save points for an L2 upgrade (this has also been the topic of John Rainbow`s recent list changes, see my input on it here: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=39174&p=873150#p873150), which I believe could make a big difference. To do this, the list needs to free up quite a few points: Dragon Armour => Heavy Armour on Noble is +6, Talisman of Preservation => Shield of the Merwyrm is +30, but I feel the Loremaster needs more than S4 ASF offensively. With the Sword of Might I could consider this, but that leaves a net gain of only +10 points, meaning I`d have to drop the Golden Crown of Atrazar (+10) and Ironcurse Icon (+5) and I still wouldn`t be home free (6 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 3 = 34 points...). Even if this had been enough, I feel I`m giving away too many of the utilities the characters feature to gain the L2 upgrade. Besides, as it isn`t enough, I don`t know what else I could drop.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:28 pm 
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Some more PG photos (only 4 models to go before the unit is done, the 2 at each flank that is):

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:10 pm 
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Decisions, decisions, decisions. Are my PG/WL champs essential? I`m becoming less and less sure of this. Dropping one of them would allow me to change the character setup as previously discussed. One of the main points of this is getting the fireward on the Prince. So little time, so many decisions. Here`s an overview of the 2 competing character loadouts:

Alternative 1 wrote:
Prince on Barded Steed, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Giant Blade, Dawnstone, Ironcurse Icon = 268
Loremaster of Hoeth, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation = 330
Noble BSB on Barded Steed, Dragonhelm, Golden Crown of Atrazar, The Other Trickster`s Shard, Dragon Armour, Shield, Lance = 163
Heavens Mage, Dispel Scroll = 110
Characters = 871


Alternative 2 wrote:
Prince on Barded Steed, Heavy Armour, Shield, Giant Blade, Dawnstone, Dragonhelm = 271
Loremaster of Hoeth, Book of Hoeth, Sword of Might, Shield of the Merwyrm = 320
Noble BSB on Barded Steed, Luckstone, The Other Trickster`s Shard, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Lance = 145
Heavens Mage, Level 2, Dispel Scroll = 145
Characters = 881

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:57 pm 
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I would like to know your thoughts about the Loremaster. Does he offer more than level 4 in this list? How are you keeping him alive? I would imagine that with White lions he is spending a lot of time in close combat. Off course 4+ ward helps but he still has only T3 and 3W...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:13 pm 
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Hey Mufasa! The Loremaster is an excellent choice because the only reliable, strong magic phase you can get regardless of opponent is based on redundancy. While Dwellers, Mindrazor and Purple Sun are all great spells, they all have matchups where they`re close to useless. As such, a more reliable and consistent approach is to base your magic strategy around getting many little buffs off. To this end, the Loremaster has an excellent choice of spells with Searing Doom, Spirit Leech, Burning Gaze and Foreball to threaten people at a distance (miasma and Iceshard double up in this regard as well!), with the other four being great combat buffs. A level 4 cannot do this, unless you build your list around High Magic in which case the redundancy part comes from the Lore attribute and is inherently defensive (i.e. it affects one of your own units) instead of offensive (i.e. it affects an enemy unit). Since force concentration is the name of the game, offensive focus is almost always better than defensive focus (see soulblight vs Wyssan`s for example, there`s a reason it`s the latter and not the former which is a signature). In this case, yes I believe he offers more than a L4 could have, in my list. That is not to say he is better in all matchups, nor that an Archmage would`ve been useless (important distinctions).

How am I keeping him alive? Well Lions are so scary that most people simply target them to reduce return attacks. The 4++ alone is enough to force most skilled opponents to ignore him. WS6, Iceshard x2, Miasma and the Ward save makes him deceivingly hard to kill, despite being T3 5+ base. Also, Lifebloom helps out greatly here.

White Lions spend a lot of time in combat indeed. He thrives here as well ;) He`s only died in 2 games: one was just bad luck (though this will happen every now and then since 4++ has high variance), the other was a lost cause regardless and I had to play it risky. See my last ~5 reports for details :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Thanks for the reply! I have been running Level 4 in the cavalry bus but I am tempted to try the Loremaster. I'm going to read your reports for sure.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Interesting comments about what to do with the characters. I took a look at trying to change the builds somewhat and I found I couldn't do much without removing the Dwanstone from the Prince. I think there might be some mileage from taking away the units champs but really it depends on whether you use them to challenge and protect the Loremaster/other members of the unit. Obviously such a ploy can be very useful in buying you a turn of combat against some opponents.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:40 am 
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@Mufasa - I used to run the L4 in the bus like this previously, but had a totally different list. Check out the earlier reports for this. Also, Furion has a blog which features this army setup ;)

@John Rainbow - yeah it`s all so tight. In the end I think I`ll chicken out here. Admittedly the Champions haven`t done a lot thus far, but I`m also fearful of dropping the Loremaster`s true ward. There`s just not enough time (lists have to be in by the 15th and I only have 2 games before that).

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:33 pm 
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.::. Battle Report - 2400 vs Vampire Counts (ETC comp) .::.

On my request, I finally got to face an extremely hard VC list. I was eager to test my High Elves going up against it as I haven`t faced VC in a very long time. Anyway, without further ado:

Prince on Barded Steed, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Giant Blade, Dawnstone, Ironcurse Icon = 268
Loremaster of Hoeth, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation = 330
Noble BSB on Barded Steed, Dragonhelm, Golden Crown of Atrazar, The Other Trickster`s Shard, Dragon Armour, Shield, Lance = 163
Heavens Mage, Dispel Scroll = 110
Characters = 871

12 Silver Helms, Shields, Full Command = 306
5 Silver Helms, Shields, Musician = 125
5 Reavers, bows = 85
5 Reavers, bows = 85
Core = 601

20 White Lions, FC, BOTWD = 340
20 PG, FC, Razor Standard = 375
Special = 715

3 RBT = 210
Rare = 210

Army Total = 2397

His list:
Vampire lord: lvl 4, the lore of the vampires, red fury, aura of dark majesty, beguile, great weapon, Charmed shield, talisman of preservation, sceptre of stability, the other tricksters shard: 505

Wight king: bsb, nightshroud: 150
Necromancer: lvl 1, the lore of the vampires, dispel scroll: 90
Necromancer: lvl 1, lore of Death, book of arkhan: 90
Necromancer: lvl 1, lore of Death, scroll of shielding: 80
Cairn wraith: 60

34 Crypt ghouls: crypt ghast: 350
33 Skeleton Warriors, hand weapon, full command, banner of swiftness: 210
5 Dire Wolves: 40

10 Hexwraiths: 300
10 Hexwraiths: 300

Terrorgheist: 225
--------------------
2400


// Pre-battle thoughts and deployment //

Hexwraiths are fast and dangerous. The biggest problem about these is that they`re fast cav and thus extremely flexible. The rest of the list poses ranged threats in the shape of Spirit Leech and the Terrorgheist. I was hoping to get a good couple of turns worth of magic here before combat hit home: Shem`s Burning Gaze and Fireball are strong against Hexwraiths. His plethora of arcane defensive items did look dangerous though. Also, the RBTs would be tasked with killing off the Wolves before combat hit home: If I failed this, it would be easy for him to chaff away a unit at a crucial point.

Magic: he opted not to take SL but got Caress and Soulblight. Thus I wouldn`t have to count on BOTWD for my characters that much. I got Comet but opted for Iceshard instead after contemplating this a bit. I would`ve kept Thunderbolt and Chain Lightning I believe.

Image

He won roll-off for vanguard but it didn`t matter: I didn`t want to lose the Reavers instantly so I moved them backwards anyways. I managed to grab first turn and ahead we went!

// HE T1 //

Everything moved backwards, Silver Helms stayed put to counter an aggressive Terrogheist. One unit of Reavers go wide, party to be available late-game, partly to taunt his Hexwraiths. Magic was 5 + 1 and he channeled one. I started off with 2D6 Burning Gaze and got a terrible result of 4 (+2 bonus for 6) after BoH. He dispelled on 2D6. This was a terrible start to the game so I had to start gambling straight away: 4D6 at L3 Fireball failed to cast after three 1`s showed up. He hadn`t even spent a single arcane item and I had done no damage to him: Not looking good.

Shooting sees RBTs combine to kill 1 unit of Wolves, luckily.

Image

// VC T1 //

No Hexwraiths are taunted. Everything moves up, Terrorgheist in range of screaming an RBT, Hexwraiths at double-6 charge from the bus. Magic is 10v5, the result is pretty bad: a huge cast of boosted Vanhel`s (6 + 4 + 4 + 3 if memory serves) pretty much forced me to spend the scroll or engage very quickly. I chose the latter but still had to let Caress through, which killed an RBT.

Shooting saw the Terrorgheist killed another RBT. All panic tests were passed.

Image

// HE T2 //

Phoenix Guarda charge Hexwraiths. I figure I have to lock down this unit at this point to hopefully get a favourable combat in the center. With static and a bit of strong magic I can even win and slowly trickle them down. It`s not ideal, but it`s not terrible either. Nearby Reavers move up to block Ghouls + Skellies, Lions behind and Cavalry lining up as well. Small Silver Helms charge Terrorgheist.

Magic comes up 2v1. I start off with failing to cast miasma on the Hexwraiths on 1D6 and he dispels Iceshard. Shooting sees RBT failing to hurt Wolves (needing 6`s due to hard cover and long range). This was looking bad. Silver Helms scored a wound on the Terrorgheist for none in return and it lost another 2 due to being unstable. PG loses one and a Hexwraith pops (it should`ve been 2 as I won by 3: 2 ranks + banner + charge vs 1 casualty), BSB reducing the unstable effect.

Image

// VC T2 //

Bad goes to worse as his Skeletons charge the Reavers. The Skeletons incorporate a Wraith, which causes Terror. The blocking Reavers fail their re-rollable LD10 terror test and my Lions are very exposed. Ghouls + Skellies charge them. Whoops! Remember what I said initially about RBTs having to deal with Wolves? Well, the remaining unit blocks my bus. Magic is very low and I contain it all, luckily. Shooting sees Terrogheist roll very low and no Helms die.

In combat my opponent makes way with the Vampire Lord next to the Loremaster and 2 full support rank of White Lions and challenges with the Wight King. I oblige with the Mage, hoping to save the scroll for another turn. This combat is the only chance I have at getting this game, after his risky make way move. I target the Vamp Lord with everything I can (8 S6 attacks) and my opponent is suddenly super-surprised: he was expecting to face 3 S6 and 2 S4 attacks: he didn`t know the Loremaster sported a great weapon and he didn`t consider Martial Prowess. I got lucky with the dice and scored 5 wounds. He picked up 5 ward save rolls and to my huge relief, 4 of them failed! The Vampire Lord was killed and his units apparantly lost their impetus: the Wight King only scored 1W on the Mage, the unit scored 2W on the Loremaster but more crucially: he fluffed SO MANY attacks on the Lions and only a single model died! He lost a few to crumble. Meanwhile, the PG held up, losing the combat but passing the break test and the Helms, adding insult to injury, finished the Terrorgheist.

Image

// HE T3 //

Small Helms flank charge Skeletons, big Helms charge their blockers. Reavers rally, other Reavers move up. Magic is box cars and his scroll comes out, Iceshard goes up on his Ghouls AND Lifebloom goes off, healing the Loremaster back to 2W. Shooting is non-existant as everything is in combat barring an Ethereal unit.

In combat the Lions continue their great display and kill off a lot. Wight King can`t kill the mage because I pass my regen rolls and the Skeletons fail to kill the Loremaster again. Silver Helms make an impact as well and he loses big. Ghouls pop and I reform Lions. PG break but he fails to catch me.

Image

// VC T3 //

Hexwraiths flank Lions in a desperate attempt to contribute enough static res to keep him alive. The other unit moves through Reavers and kills them. Magic sees him get off Soulblight on the Lions, scroll comes out. Combat sees the Wight King score a killing blow on the mage and the challenge is ended. I kill a lot of skeletons and win, despite Hexwraiths (BOTWD helping my out here). It`s not big though, but now my bus is ready to help out.

Image

Bus charges Hexwraiths. PG reform to conga. Magic is big and I get a couple of vital spells off. Combat sees me win huge and everything pops. He`s left with a single unit of Hexwraiths who elect to charge PG. He fails to bring them below half strength and I counter-charge with the bus, Prince cleaving him apart. They pop and the game is over! I had lost 1.5 units of Reavers, mage and 2 RBTs as well as PG banner. A 20-0 victory to the High Elves!

// Evaluation //

This victory has a bittersweet taste. I originally though this was an ok matchup for my list. I no longer think this is the case, I believe it is a pretty bad matchup to the point where it might be one of the worst, if played by a capable player. The only reason I won this game was because he made a huge mistake with his Vampire Lord (who could`ve opted to make way corner-to-corner with the Loremaster instead and thus killed him with 5 WS7 S7 Red Fury attacks and TOTS) and I got lucky. I was all set up to lose (and it probably would`ve been big as well, likely in the neighbourhood of 0-20) before this.

The threat of this VC list is so multi-faceted that it`s very hard to deal with everything: the infantry units are numerous enough to simply swarm whatever I can field and the Vamp Lord is, as always, a real powerhouse. Nightshroud on the Wight King is a huge headache, although admittedly this match saw him neutralized to a great degree (he was in the front rank so couldn`t make way to an optimal position and the challenge with the mage saw me luck out). The Hexwraiths have a T1 threat range (relative to deployment) of 28", which is huge. Also, being fast cav there is no way I can catch him - even with M9 swiftstride - if he doesn`t want to be caught. The Terrorgheist, while relatively weak in combat, forces me to dedicate a portion of my army to it. Indeed I got lucky here as well with 5 Helms being able to take care of it, but it did its job of taking away my chaff-clearing abilities together with Caress. If the Vamp Lord had killed the Loremaster (or even just survived), this would`ve been my final chance (charging the big bus at him) but the Wolves kept me from doing so.

Lastly, against most lists double LD10 Spirit Leech is extremely dangerous. BOTWD helps me out here, but still the magical presence is extreme: double Vanhel`s is very hard to cope with and ensures that his infantry can get to where they want, when they want. Very dangerous.

In hindsight there`s probably a few things I could`ve done better. I`ll have to analyze the game further before making some points, but I`m convinced that this is a matchup favours the Vampires.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:48 am 
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Very nice report and what a turn of events. I've thought about your list and one things keeps coming up: How do you deal with Regen? Is this not common in your meta or do you just look at it like a unit with a 4++?
So far I've been very happy with my sisters, they would have also helped against the hexwraiths. Do you consider adding some or is your shooting capabilities to a minimum with the current design?
Thanks again for a good battle report.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:40 pm 
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I've been starting up a vamps army (no games yet) and looking at this list it didn't initially look that hard. No bus so the vamp can be redirected (in principle) and no large-target redundancy so I'd expect the terrorgheist to go down really quickly against any army with non-bolt thrower war machines and a little bit of shooting/cav. And no core spam to just absorb damage.

So I'm guessing what makes this list are the hexwraith blocks, which presumably prevent redirection and offer a really high threat range. Yes they're vulnerable to magic missiles, but at units of 10 they have some built in resilience.

It's good that you're relatively safe against them (4++/2++ infantry) but as the report shows they still present a huge threat to everything else.

I think high elves have the tools to deal with these well...but your list lacks them. Sisters and reaver bow complement magic missiles very nicely here, BotWD tanks them and the CavPrince has a magic weapon. Here you have 2/4 but bar (sort of) the prince none of them project their presence. I don't see a place for the reaver bow in your list (too situational anyway for this style of play) but now that this report brings it to the fore I'm surprised I didn't notice it before: 3x RBT and no sisters seems like lost synergy to me. For a straight points swap you could get a single unit of sisters to help everything else deal with trolls, abombs etc, and to help the loremaster deal with hexwraiths. IMO they offer a similar threat type (5 S4 (AP?) shots at BS5 vs 6 S4 AP shots at BS4 but double range), but bring something new to the list. I know some people (John Rainbow is the name which springs to mind first) consider such small units to simply be too vulnerable...but at 70pts thats fine for me, and any attention on them is keeping your combat blocks intact, and when compared to RBTs sisters are less vulnerable to cannons which is surely a bonus. Even if you consider sisters to be worse in some match ups, surely they're worth it for when you inevitably face throgg or regen-themed undead or hexwraiths - even a small single unit of 5 could cause you problems - if they stay out of arc/range/dispel your LM then they're probably not worth allocating your prince to deal with but could wreck your backline!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:57 pm 
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@Dragon fire - Thanks ;) Regen isn`t really a big problem in ETC. The worst problem is probably a gutstar, where my shooting is usually focused on winning the chaff battle regardless and anything short of a proper bowline should do the same. I don`t know why others find regen to be that commonplace - is it solely Throgg (which isn`t allowed under ETC restrictions) and his Trolls that are giving you headaches or is it something else? Of course DoC Nurgle are all over the place but they have a 5++ regardless so it´s not that much of a difference. There are a couple of monsters like the HPA and the Chimera, but they are few and far between.

@Ferny - It doesn`t look hard on paper, which is in itself a good sign of a strong list. Indeed the Vamp was redirected here, only my Reavers failed their terror test! Again, the problem with the list is the multi-faceted approach. If you focus too much on one aspect, another will tear you apart. Indeed the Hexwraiths are the main problem. As for High Elves having the tools to face this list - sure we have! We have loads more than many others with Phoenixes, Reaver Bow, Sisters and magic missile spam available. The problem is that it dictates an overall build completely different to mine. I can`t just quick fix this by grounding the BSB and giving him Reaver Bow + PoS and adding 5 Sisters in place of an RBT.

As for the Sisters missing out, the reason is simply that there are a multitude of matchups where they are completely useless, where an RBT is anything from good - invaluable. On the other hand, Sisters are hardly ever must-have, at best they are nice-to-have. With 24", Hexwraiths can march up against them and Vanhels through them. Now what to do? If you place them in-between your blocks so he can`t do this without risking much, he will simply place the Hexwraiths behind other units and cast boosted vanhels + book of arkhan to get his infantry in play. Do note that his infantry will beat mine if he can focus 2v1, which is a lot easier for him than me despite my M9 bus, because of the constant Hexwraith threat and the Terrorgheist, combined with two casts of Vanhels. Again, the problem here is multi-faceted and thus very complex to deal with. Anyway, back on the Sisters topic. Here are a number of matchups where they are close to useless:
- Armoured Empire
- Bretonnia
- Star Dragon HE
- Dwarfs
- Beastmen
- Tomb Kings
- Chaos Dwarfs

That`s a LOT of matchups where the RBT is just hands down superior in just about every aspect. Now, a different list focus, perhaps dropping the bus and beefing up the shooting with an L4 Shadow Archmage could probably benefit from one or two bigger unit of Sisters, but these lists play fundamentally different.

In theory they`re a good addition and I have used them quite a bit in place of yet another RBT previously (see my early 8th reports) but there are just so many matchups where they`re plain bad, unfortunately. As for regen-themed undead, I haven`t faced this since the book was new and I don`t rate it as a strong build. I don`t think people use it any longer at all in ETC setting and regardless I`d much rather face it than a solid bus/hexwraith spam/screamer list even without Sisters.

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Do you see this list much? To my mind the terrorgheist looks out of place in it. Having faced them a few times I truly hate them, and rightly so - they're powerful! But just a single monster with no bus looks very vulnerable to cannons/stone throwers (OK, DoC, WoC hellcannon, Empire, Dwarfs, Brett Trebb, TK skullthrower (never really seen them)?, OnG machine spam, Skaven machine wierdness)...it's really only elves x3, beastmen, lizards and VC who come to mind who don't have some sort of war machine response to this. Because what else would you shoot at? Hexwraiths are ethereal, you could cannon snipe and hope for failed LoS and take out a few skellies on a pass. Stone throwers are better here because they will also be able to target the units, but I'd take out the gheist before all else. Based on this list I would imagine replacing the gheist with a third unit of hexwraiths would be more balanced in an all comers environment? I think you'd be really hard pushed to deal with this, even with your solid infantry ward saves!

I think you were very lucky to win this game (I say this cautiously - I don't intend to be critical!) as you acknowledge: he mismanaged the critical combat, losing the nightshroud benefits and not minimising return attacks on the therefore (relatively) vulnerable foot vamp. And even then he was unlucky with his ward save. Had that combat gone the way it really ought then the result, as you say, would have been near reversed. Likewise with the helms killing the terrorgheist - I think this was a good move and deserved to wound it and add some with res, but I think you were lucky to pop it here, an that the scream didn't make the combat agains thtis small unit go the other way.

Assuming no such human error, do you think your list can cope against his (or worse IMO, 3x hexwraiths as suggested above)? Maybe you can: the prince bus offers an impressive threat range, if he were on a flank, with his flanks covered by the BotWD lions/loremaster then maybe you could essentially castle up and force them to come to you do achieve anything (which they need to do anyway). If done well the hexwraiths shouldn't have anywhere to land inside of your castle and one unit will be pillow-fighting with the lions while a second is forced to avoid or die to the bus.

If your list can't cope with this, what would you do? Right it off as a bad match up? Play it out and hope for dice luck? Or hope that in your meta you simply avoid fighting it?

Or is there a way to build more threats into your list? The loremaster is solid and the prince is solid (and fixed anyway), but is that enough. Obviously with this build the BSB stays mounted and reaver free, so that really only leaves sisters available to add to the counter. Could they bring enough to the party? Possibly not given the scenario you describe. Are they worse against other lists - yes. Are they hopeless, wasted points against them...not necessarily IMO. At worst they're 70pt chaff, which to a certain extent is what shadow warriors are reduced to in some match ups once they've vanguard blocked, and we've all suddenly decided we like shadow warriors (although most of us are struggling to find/justify the points for them, which maybe speaks volumes).

It might not be worth it anyway - if they're as easily neutralized as you describe then they won't help in this match up anyway...I just don't think they're a bad switch per-se. Mind you - I see a lot of trolls and have seen regen undead and abombs etc, so maybe flaming matters more to me.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:48 pm 
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A couple of weeks ago I was at a small 20 man one day tournament. I met a WoC army with a unit of 10 Trolls and another army of WoC with a regen chimera. I usually play under the ETC restrictions as well but I guess the meta i very important (I play in Denmark). Life magic is also featured every now and then. Beast of Nurgle are of course very popular but the difference between 4++ and 5++ is as you say not that big (and a BotWD units deals more easily with them compared to shooting).

As HE I find it hard to deal with trolls without anything flaming, a good round of shooting can remove 2-3 models which is really valuable when facing 10 trolls with additional hand weapons. For a unit of 10 Trolls which cost around 400 point and can ditch out 35 S5 attacks and have a 4++ needs to be more manageable before I take them on in combat. And the M6 makes them a bit harder to avoid when having M5 infantry blocks. Would you try to redirect such a unit all game? or is this not something you have considered?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:33 pm 
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@Ferny - first of all, let me clarify one thing: I`m not writing this army blog nor any of my reports for fame or recognition. I spend all this time on Warhammer because I enjoy the game, and more than anything I want to improve and become better. I`m mostly frank and come off as rude because I say what I feel, how I want in a direct a way as possible. My intention is never to be a dick of course, but I can understand if people feel this way, in which I apologize. Likewise, I expect people to be frank against me and call out whatever they feel is a mistake in my play. Criticism on my play is thus the best feedback I can get, especially when I make mistakes I cannot identify myself. Ok so let`s move on to the comments:

Do I see this type of VC much? I haven`t played VC in over a year, if memory serves. I have no idea what the meta is right now, but I`m confident we`ll see more and more of these kinds of lists popping up - Hexwraiths really are that strong and they have very few natural counters. I am currently unable to elaborate more on the VC part of things here due to a number of reasons, but suffice is to say that it`s a matchup I`m pretty sure is bad for me. One thing I can say though is that more Hexwraiths is illegal under ETC comp (technically Hexwraiths are max 20 models and Ethereal characters/units are max 3).

Ok so as to me winning this game: it boils down to one single thing. My opponent`s huge mistake of getting the Vampire in the face of too many S6 attacks. That`s all there is to it really. Had he played this combat perfectly, I would`ve lost 0-20 instead of winning 20-0, most likely. This is the part I`m struggling with the most: the 20-0 is truly bittersweet because I know I was supposed to lose, and lose big. As this game wasn`t a tournament, the actual outcome doesn`t matter at all. Thus I`m hoping to take away a lesson, so that the next time I meet a similar list I`ll have at least a better idea of what to do. As it stands now, I really have no idea how I should deploy or play against this kind of list, assuming no army changes on my part. Also your comments re: Helms popping TG - lucky indeed. Lots of luck involved in winning this so big, despite his mistake.

So can I cope with this list? Maybe. Against an average player I expect to win. Against an equally good player I`m not sure. I`m kind of inclined to say no, and most other skilled players I`ve talked to at the club seem to think this is a bad matchup for my list as well. Now, in this game in particular I`m sure I made mistakes, I just haven`t found them yet. I don`t understand this matchup yet, so it`s hard to identify them. Rest assured, I will return to this and provide a more thorough matchup analysis :)

@Dragon fire - Warriors in my experience typically shove 450+ points in lords and 500+ points in heroes. 450 + 500 + 600 for core tax comes to 1550. If they decide to spend the remaining 1k points partially on 10 Trolls, that is 4 less MC to face for example. I don`t rate 10 Trolls as much of a threat to be honest. Sure it`s M6, but it`s also stupid and thus the general`s pretty much locked down. That means the army overall will be slow, predictable, have a big footprint and a double vulnerability: if either the Trolls or the General is compromised, it loses a lot of its fighting potential. This begs the question, what does the rest of the list look like? The way I see it, it boils down to the list either having a weakness to ranged snipes (i.e. Spirit Leech, Searing Doom, boosted Shem`s Burning Gaze) or it´s lacking in combat potential.

Ok so let`s assume the Trolls all make it across the table and get a matchup against the PG. I now have the following spells which my opponent fears letting through: Miasma, Iceshard, Iceshard, Wyssan`s. Let`s assume 1x Iceshard and Wyssan`s go through. PG now strike with 16 attacks: 16 * (8/9) * (2/3) * (1/2) = 4.7 wounds. 8 Trolls strike back. 28 attacks, 9 hits, 6 wounds, 3 after wards. Add stomps and Trolls still lose due to static. Break test on LD4? I hope your General is nearby cuz you sure aren`t steadfast. Now, how did I let this combat happen in the first place? With the huge footprint this unit has, my chaff and superior mobility (and probably magic as well) and RBTs to clear chaff, a fight with this unit should happen on my terms. Even if it doesn`t, the example above shows that the Trolls can easily be in trouble.

Chimera? It`s T5 W4 with LD5. Even a boosted Fireball is dangerous here. Searing Doom is scary, Shem`s Burning Gaze, Spirit Leech... Even basic RBTs can target it with a good average-wounds-per-shot ratio given its cost, if chaff has been cleared. I don`t rate this as a big threat either to be honest: the worst problem is its breath weapon but then again, in bringing a chimera you`ve taken a big chunk out of points that could otherwise have been chariots, characters, skullcrushers or a Hellcannon.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:42 am 
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Something that's been bothering me with his list...why would the vampire not have quickblood and why would he have the great weapon? Is this ETC? It's like taking a prince but not taking the +3S blade - it's too many points to not go the whole hog. Because if he had a magic weapon then you could be much more confident about simply marching the PG to meet the ghouls, the WL to meet the skellies and maybe keeping the bus back, deployed really wide for maximum charge arc to minimise risk of hexwraith shennanigans. It's tempting to even hold the loremaster back with the RBTs as hexwraith bait and to provide him with a field of fire. Is ETC open or closed lists? Would you know that the VL didn't have a magic weapon?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:54 am 
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ETC uses open lists, I knew exactly what he would field even a week in advance of this match(when we scheduled the game).

Here`s the ETC comp on Vampires:

ETC Vampire Counts Restrictions wrote:
Vampire Counts

• Zombies, max 3 units and 120 models
• Ethereal Characters (max 2)/Ethereal units, max 3
• 2nd Crypt Horror unit/11 or more Hexwraith models (max 20)/3 or more Death spells in the army/Quickblood (only if combined with Red Fury), max 1
• Terrorgheist (max 1)/9 or more Crypt Horror models (max 16)/one or more Banshees/Red Fury, max 2


I guess the GW is just a cheap way to get S7. Personally I don`t have the experience to judge whether this is the right choice or not.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:07 pm 
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:: The Hexwraith Matchup - Initial Analysis ::

There is basically only one guy in my army whom the Hexwraiths don`t want to face head on: the Prince. However, the Lions can wear them down through static and the BSB corner-to-corner in a countercharge hurts as well with his 2++. Essentially, the PG are (ironically enough) the weakest here. Slashing the Silver Helms is powerful and (apart from killing Reavers) the best thing he can go for here, I reckon.

The matchups I want here are as follows: WL and SH decimate Ghouls bigtime, especially given magical support. PG are probably best used to handle the bunker head-on as neither night shroud nor red fury are that good against them, as opposed to Lions where it really hurts.

What this means is that I should probably play the PG central here, with Helms on the big flank and WL near the table edge. This makes it very hard for him to get the openings he wants and I can hopefully stagger my units in such a way that getting a positional advantage is near impossible for VC - barring good winds and strong rolls on Vanhels. The problem in my last game was that the Silver Helms only partially blocked the field (the Hexwraiths wheeling around on my refused flank was what forced the issue and in this role PG are not the right unit to use). Let`s just experiment a bit with this: if the PG had been center, cavalry on the refused flank and Lions near the flank, the Terrorgheist couldn`t have moved up so threateningly, the Hexwraiths would be forced to stay put for a while longer and I would probably have managed to eliminate the second Wolves. This is huge, and probably my biggest mistake in the game: failure to accurately identify which units were threatening, how they were threatening me and what I could do about it led to an awkward position when he reached my lines.

I`m looking to do a more thorough deployment-based analysis to hopefully get some learning points away from this game. It`s important to remember that despite the result, this should be considered a big loss for me. As opposed to the 0-20 game I had vs Dwarfs where I really feel the analysis was easy, I need to spend some time here in order to figure out what I can do to improve my odds in this scenario. For now however, this initial analysis has provided some insight with regards to how I should handle this type of list. It`s interesting to note that this is not the first game where deployment/early-game movement decisions have been a bit off - playing with 2 blocks + bus is harder than it would appear. This is probably where I can improve my game the most.

As a sidenote, I did consider for a moment the possiblity of ditching the PG for a Frostheart Phoenix. There aren`t that many bad matchups for it and it greatly helps me in covering my weak spots: MSU skirmish based armies, Hexwraiths etc. It`s a great unit for sure, however the ETC restrictions quickly put this away: Book of Hoeth, Banner of the World Dragon, Frostheart Phoenix (rare) = 0-2. I`m not willing to give up BOTWD on the Lions and Loremaster is inferior to an L4 if neither can take the book, which again drastically changes the way the list plays. Besides, swapping PG for Frostheart and more Lions as well as making the L4 an Archmage pretty much makes this list a direct copy of Furion`s, and while he`s had success with it I`m not looking to copy-paste.

So what do you think? Could Helms on the refused flank with Lions near the table edge with PG in the middle be a better position from which to handle this VC list? How would he have played if I had deployed like this? ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Really interesting thread this Curu (and everyone else who has contributed). It's taken me ages to read and digest properly the last few pages!

I like your battle reports and the time you take to explain your thoughts both during the game and analysis afterwards. For a relative newcomer like me its definitely useful "tuition" for want of a better word. Thanks :-)

Your PG are looking good. What are you using for bases there? The flame effect looks good and I like the overall dark feel to the unit. Fits with the fluff for me as well. I look forward to seeing pics of your whole army as you mentioned.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:23 pm 
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Hey Gandalf, thanks for the kind words! It really is the feedback from the community which adds value to the army blogs, in my opinion. The ensuing discussions from questions/musings/BRs is where the learning happens ;)

I did a pretty heavy update on the army pictures post on Page 1 (direct link can be found here). Again, I`m hoping to get army shots soon. I finished the last 4 PG and all 3 RBTs today (including "Brad Pitt"). Pictures of the war machines will be up tomorrow. EDIT: the PG bases are from Micro Art Studios :) Google it, they have lots of cool custom bases.

This leaves "just" the cavalry to be painted. I hate painting these, it takes me forever and I don`t like painting horses. I have roughly 10 to paint I believe. Lastly, I need a handful of new movement trays as well. Luckily this shouldn`t take too long :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:54 pm 
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:: The Hexwraith Matchup - Concluding Analysis ::

My army is actually quite compact. Apart from the Reavers and RBTs, there aren`t really any vulnerable elements. This means that if I play compact, it will be very hard to isolate an element for my opponent.

In the Hexwraith matchup my objectives are as follows:
1. Top priority: contain the Hexwraith threat. If they get to slash the Silver Helms without presenting a charge, it`s bad news. Very bad news. To contain them, charge arcs by Lions and Helms need to be considered. Also magic early game prioritizes whittling them down. Burning Gaze and Fireball are the key spells here.
2. Second priority: win the chaff war. Isolation, force concentration, board control. I need to win this fight, if he gets 2 units in vs one of mine it`s likely game over. If I get 2 units in vs his bunker it`s looking good for me. Implicitly, this means control the Terrorgheist! If he cannot reach the RBTs, they`ll keep shooting.
3. Third priority: set up for a combo-charge on the bunker. All characters go in the same place and nothing save for the Lord really deals any damage. TOTS is nasty, but my Prince with some magical assistance is very scary for the vampire lord to face.

Most of this boils down to deployment. Of course movement and magic decisions early game play a big role as well, but deployment will set the scene without a doubt. I think that an optimal deployment looks more or less like this (given the same map and side):

Image

The rulers illustrate the huge level of control the cavalry influences. PG central means they can easily move to counter what they need. Overwhelming the Lions is next to impossible for his infantry without eating a PG counter as well and lastly, the Terrorgheist has no-where to land to threaten the RBTs. This deployment features way better board control and staggered unit protection. It also utilizes the non-bus cavalry well: the small Helms are positioned in an incredibly annoying position from which they can help protect the flank, wheel around and provide brutal combat res on the bunker or just act as a last unit of chaff (sacrificing them to get a unit of Wolves is of course also an option).

A very important thing to remember is that the number one priority without a doubt early game is to get those Wolves out of the game. Once they`re gone, I no longer need to care about RBT line of fire because positioning will be way more important than getting a Ghoul or two extra per round of shooting at this point.

I think this is what I can take away from this game. It´s a tough matchup, no doubt, but I believe it`s not hopeless. Just try and stay compact, keep out of combat as long as possible (= more magic missiles tearing up Hexwraiths) and make sure your units are supporting eachother properly with the ones strongest against Hexwraiths on the flanks.

As always, C&C very welcome :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:24 pm 
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The army is looking good. I particularly like the conversion on the Prince, very nice model and for me that Star Dragon deserves finishing! I think they effect on the dragon is excellent.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:06 am 
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Good to see your picture and plan - I think it looks good, like a more carefully considered (but not the same!) version of what I was thinking.

Ferny wrote:
Assuming no such human error, do you think your list can cope against his (or worse IMO, 3x hexwraiths as suggested above)? Maybe you can: the prince bus offers an impressive threat range, if he were on a flank, with his flanks covered by the BotWD lions/loremaster then maybe you could essentially castle up and force them to come to you do achieve anything (which they need to do anyway). If done well the hexwraiths shouldn't have anywhere to land inside of your castle and one unit will be pillow-fighting with the lions while a second is forced to avoid or die to the bus.


I think that is the way to do it...so what would the vamp player do? If I were the vamp player facing that I think there's still plenty of scope for manouver on your left flank. With the small unit of helms contained on your right, the terrorgheist can potentially stay out of range of 2/3 RBTs and scream the third RBT. Even if he takes shots from all three he should be able to suck it up for a turn at least. Reavers on that flank should be containable by hexwraiths, which could even offer hard cover to the dogs! Meanwhile he deploys his blocks centre-right and brings them up with his flank (your left) pretty secure. With your Princebus holding the centre of the table his left flank is then exposed to hexwraiths/scream if he advances towards combat or else if you wheel to face the flankers you're then exposing your flank to the oncoming vampire (but might not matter if the distance is sufficiently big. Is that explained well enough to make sense?

Where it goes from there I'm not sure. I imagine he'd be up reavers and RBT but you might be able to shoot down the terrorgheist or maybe dogs. In theory you should have the combat advantage (although nightshroud is a strong, strong counter to most of your combat threat - maybe target the bearer first? And also remember support attacks unaffected I think (unless different in ETC)). But to be honest, I'm not good enough at the chess game of warhammer to see where things might lead from the start I described.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:11 am 
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Curu are you saying that a compact deployment would permit you to target the wolves first with the RBT instead of the Terrorgheist?

Incidentally, I believe even an army like Wood Elves with no warmachines can deal with them. Almost no saves means bowfire reduces that 2D6+6 pretty quickly.

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