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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:55 am
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I played another battle this week, High Elves against Empire. My list was similar my list from my previous 3000 pt game, I haven't painted anything new yet, but I did swap some things around to try and increase the hitting power of the army.

High Elves:
25x Spearmen FC
30x Spearmen FC
11x Archers
5x Ellyrian Reavers w/ Bows
20x Swordmasters of Hoeth FC
21x Phoenix Guard FC w/ Razor Standard
10x Dragon Princes of Caledor FC
Flamespyre Phoenix
Frostheart Phoenix
Eltharion the Grim w/ Lore of Metal (Searing Doom, Glittering Robe)
Archmage Level 4 w/ Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of High Magic (Apotheosis, Soul Quench, Walk Between Worlds, Arcane Unforging)
Lothern Sea Helm BSB w/ Sword of Might, Shield of the Merwyrm, Golden Crown of Atrazar

Empire:
16x Spearmen FC
16x Swordsmen FC
12x Empire Knights FC
12x Knights of the Inner Circle FC
10x Handgunners
10x Handgunners
20x Flagellants w/ leader
16x Greatswords FC
10x Pistoliers w/ Musician
Great Cannon
Helblaster Volley Gun
Steam Tank
Battle Wizard Level 2 mounted on warhorse w/ Dispel Scroll, Lore of Heavens (Comet, Thunderbolt)
Battle Wizard Level 2 w/ Lore of Metal (Searing Doom, Plague of Rust)
Emperor Karl Franz on Deathclaw w/ Ghal Maraz

Deployment:
Once again I had fewer deployment drops than my opponent, but they played a bit differently and I was less afraid of individual units so I wasn't too concerned. The Reavers took the right flank again with the larger spearmen block and the Phoenix Guard with all three characters embedded. The smaller spearmen block was in the center being an early drop and ended up being completed unsupported as the Empire Helblaster went down on a hill in the center of the board meaning that my new plan was to heavily weight the flanks and sweep into the center. With the Great Cannon on the Empire left, this meant the Elven monsters and heavy cav went on the left flank, along with the Swordmasters. The archers took up positions on the center-left to fire into the center if needed or support the left flank attack. The Empire deployment focused on crushing the Elven right before the left could sweep the field. The Steam Tank anchored the Empire right with the Flagellants and Greatswords. The Pistoliers deployed behind the Empire right and then vanguarded to be behind the center so they could take advantage of the empty Elven center. Handgunners and a Helblaster on a hill in the center were the cause for the Elven avoidance. On the Empire left a cannon was stationed on a hill with Karl Franz next to it. The far Empire left had the unit of regular Knights, while the Spearmen flanked the cannon on the side of the hill and then the Inner Circle Knights took the level ground with the mounted mage. Connecting the Empire right to center was the other unit of handgunners with the foot mage and the swordsmen.

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Turn 1 High Elves:
The Reavers moved up the cover the front of the Phoenix Guard a bit and to attempt to draw out a charge against a unit. The Phoenix Guard moved forward to stay at an 11" charge from the Inner Circle Knights, and the spearmen moved up to cover the flank of the Phoenix Guard from the inevitable flanking attempt by the other block of Knights. An overrun by the knights on the Reavers would get into the spearmen flank, but I hoped they could hold which would then expose the flank of the knights to the Phoenix Guard. There was a general advance on the left flank with the Phoenixes moving forwards, the Princes reforming to fit through a gap in the terrain, and the Swordmasters marching straight up. The archers also shifted forwards a bit to get better shots and the spears in the center shuffled right to support the heavily outnumbered Phoenix Guard.
Magic was disappointing, but I did manage to draw the scroll on turn 1. Eltharion failed to cast Searing Doom on the Inner Circle Knights, Soul Quench on the Handgunners was dispelled, and Arcane Unforging on Franz was scrolled.
Shooting killed two Flagellants.

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Turn 1 Empire:
Franz charges the Reavers who decide to hold. An overrun would send him into the Phoenix Guard alone, a fight I figured I could win, and restraining would allow me to either charge him isolated, or bypass him for something else. Elsewhere the Empire generally advanced, the right flank reformed to meet the Elven left and the left flank began setting up the hopeful destruction on the Elven right. The Helblaster moved to the right to bring the Elven left into range and the Pistoliers came over the top of the center hill. The Empire Knights moved up the flank quickly, hoping the forest or poor rolls would deter any counter charge.
Magic was a 7-7 phase due to some channeling. Searing Doom killed a Phoenix Guard while Thunderbolt and Plague of Rust on the Phoenix Guard were both dispelled.
In the shooting phase the Great Cannon shot the Phoenix Guard but overshot a bit and only hit 2. One failed to wound and the other was shrugged off by the ward save. The Steam Tank attempted to snipe the Frosty but instead misfired and took 3 wounds!
Karl Franz slaughtered all 5 Reavers as expected and restrained pursuit.

Turn 2 High Elves:
I didn't want the Knights to get to charge me, so the spearmen attempted to charge the Knights moving up the flank, and the Phoenix Guard attempted to charge the Inner Circle Knights. The spears made it in, the Guard did not. I believed this was going to be the game deciding disaster moment as now they were in the open with 12 Inner Circle Knights and Karl Franz both within minimum charge range of them. On the left flank everything advanced forward again, the Phoenixes getting to look down the length of the Empire line and the Dragon Princes and Swordmasters looking towards the Steam Tank. The spearmen in the center moved forwards a bit to draw out the pistoliers and maybe tempt the Helblaster.
Magic brought the phase that I needed to turn the game around a bit. Soul Quench killed 7 of the spearmen and then Arcane Unforging went off on Karl Franz with a miscast. The miscast wounded both Eltharion and the Archmage, but Ghal Maraz was destroyed! Remaining dice from the pool were lost by the miscast.
Shooting knocked off 2 Greatswords.
The spearmen charge against the Knights didn't go amazingly as they suffered 3 casualties without killing any knights. This was a tie combat, however, so both sides stuck around.

Turn 2 Empire:
No charges were declared. I found this surprising, but the Empire player wanted to stack the odds against the Phoenix Guard. To this end Karl Franz flew over the Guard and took up station behind them, while the spearmen and Inner Circle Knights backed up to stay out of Phoenix Guard easy charge range. On the Empire right flank the realignment continued, shifting to face the incoming Elves. The Steam Tank once again misfired and lost 3 of its 4 steam points, meaning it could no longer make it to the Frosty in melee. This meant it had to try to cannon the bird off the board. The pistoliers moved forwards to flank the center spear block and the Empire swordsmen advanced to threaten the other flank of the spearmen in the center.
Comet of Cassandora was dispelled when it was cast right behind the Dragon Princes and Phoenixes, and that was all the Empire dice.
Handgunners shot 3 archers off the board, the pistoliers killed 2 spearmen, and the other Handgunners killed 1 Phoenix Guard. The Steam Tank cannon shot the Frosty, hit him, but failed to wound! The other cannon doesn't manage to do any harm either. The Helblaster shoots at the Frosty, but low dice totals and made saves mean it doesn't take any damage.
In combat the spearmen kill one Knight, losing an additional 3 spears for another tie combat.

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Turn 3 High Elves:
The Phoenix Guard attempt to make up for their earlier blunder by charging the Inner Circle Knights. It's another 7" charge. No way I fail that twice, right? They failed. The left flank, though, was looking better. The Frosty and the Princes charged the Steam Tank while the Flamespyre moved behind the Empire line. The Swordmasters advanced expecting a bad volley from the Helblaster, but the Empire infantry was staying too far away to charge. In the center the spears failed their march test, so they just advanced a bit forward past the pistoliers to get behind the new Empire line facing the Elven left.
Magic was my hope to turn around the bad charges again. Instead, I got 2 dice. Not only did this endanger the right flank, but it weakened both Phoenixes at a really terrible time for them to be weakened. Apotheosis healed Eltharion so that he could face the coming charges at full strength.
Combat saw another Knight fall to the spears, and their casualties drop to 2. This meant yet another tie combat. The Steam Tank, however, took 3 wounds from the combined charge bringing it to 6 total.

Turn 3 Empire:

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Karl Franz and the Inner Circle Knights did as expected, charging the Phoenix Guard. The Steam Tank misfired again, attempting to go for the explosion. Instead they took 2 wounds but gained 2 steam points. 3 Dragon Princes were ground under the wheels. The rest of the Empire line continued to shuffle around.
Comet was cast behind the dragon princes and phoenix. It was now a race to see if they could kill the tank and escape.
The pistoliers killed 5 spearmen and 2 more archers dropped to handgunners. Only one Swordmaster died to the Helblaster after some bad luck with shooting, and the Great Cannon misfired going after the Flamespyre.
In combat the Steam Tank took 1 more wound while it burned 1 Dragon Prince away. The spearmen again managed to kill 1 Knight, losing 2 spears, for yet another tie combat. In the crucial fight of the game, Eltharion challenged Karl Franz to a duel. He managed to do 4 wounds to Deathclaw without taking any in return after tanking a lot of hits with his buffed ward save. In the rest of the combat the Phoenix Guard cut down 4 knights while losing 2 Guard. This sees both Empire units break from combat and run. The Guard try to chase the Inner Circle Knights, but fail to catch them.

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Turn 4 High Elves:
The Phoenix Guard charge the fleeing Inner Circle Knights and they run farther. The Guard redirect into the Great Cannon and make it in. The Spearmen in the center charge the Handgunners in the flank, who flee. The Spearmen fail forward a bit. The Flamespyre charges the Helblaster to keep its fire off the swordmasters who march forwards to escape the Comet zone and also ensure combat with Empire infantry in the following turn.
A small magic phase sees Apotheosis heal the Archmage, but an accidental miscast on 4 dice puts a wound back on Eltharion.
The Frosty kills the Steam Tank and the Dragon Princes reform a bit. The spearmen combat takes a dramatic turn with them killing 3 Knights at the loss of only 1 spear. The Knights break and are run down. The Flamespyre only kills one Helblaster crewman and it holds. (Rules Question: Can you thunderstomp artillery crews? We played it as no, but I'm not sure). The Phoenix Guard kill the Cannon crew and reform to face the Inner Circle Knights.

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Turn 4 Empire:
The Handgunners fail their attempt to rally, but the other units succeed. The Flagellants charge the Dragon Princes to deny them the charge, while the swordsmen charge the Elven spearmen in the flank in the center. The Greatswords back up a bit in front of the Swordmasters, and the Pistoliers move up to shoot the Swordmasters. The Comet comes in this magic phase, and puts a wound on the Frosty, kills a Dragon Prince, and 3 Flagellants drop. Searing Doom kills 2 more Phoenix Guard and the Pistoliers kill 1 Swordmaster with shooting. In combat the spearmen kill 1 Empire Swordsman at the cost of 1 spearmen. They manage to pass their leadership test to hold, but fail the test to reform. The Flagellants take 6 casualties, but kill 4 Dragon Princes with their flails of doom after rolling to get re-rolls to hit and wound and +1 toughness. One more Helblaster crew member dies, but the gun still hangs on.

Turn 5 High Elves:
The Archers charge the Pistoliers in their flank, who decide to flee, and the charge redirects towards the Handgunners forcing them to flee again. The Phoenix Guard charge the Inner Circle Knights. The Swordmasters and Frosty both declare a charge against the Greatswords, who fail their terror test and run. The Frosty fails forward, but the Swordmaster catch them and wipe them out. The magic phase heals Eltharion up a bit and also shifts the spearmen forwards with Walk Between Worlds. The Phoenix Guard kill off 5 of the Inner Circle Knights, 3 dropping to Eltharion's wonderful ignore-armor sword. One Phoenix Guard is killed in the counter, and the Inner Circle Knights break, retreating off the board. The Phoenix Guard turn around to face the rest of the enemy. Another Dragon Prince is killed by the Flagellants who lose 2 more soldiers. The Flamespyre finally kills the Helblaster, and in the center the Spearmen fail to kill and Swordsmen and after losing 1 spearmen, break from combat.

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Turn 5 Empire:
Karl Franz attempts to charge the spearmen, but fails forwards. The Empire Spearmen back up a bit to conserve some points. The Swordsmen charge the Spearmen in the center and catch them on their retreat, killing them. Plague of Rust goes off on the Phoenix Guard with a miscast. The Dragon Princes kill one more Flagellant, but the last Prince goes down.

At this point, due to it getting late, the game is called for a High Elf victory.

Thoughts:
The deployment was a bit risky with an essentially abandoned center, but the superior speed of the High Elves meant that the Empire couldn't concentrate their forces to overwhelm one flank and then engage the second. The Empire deployment on their left focused on trying to crush my right, but there were a few mistakes made there that prevented it from working. Moving their knights close enough for my spearmen to charge was quite decisive. That fight lasted a long time, but my spears eventually ground the knights down. My failed charges with the Phoenix Guard I thought would cost me the game, but it ended up allowing me to use some more magic. Getting Unforging off on Franz was huge. Destroying Ghal Maraz massively weakened his hitting power, though I may have preferred to destroy his Ward Save so that I could kill him before he got the chance to attack. The Phoenix Guard unit with the Archmage in it had incredible staying power that outstripped even what I had expected and definitely caught my opponent off guard.
Luck was also not with my opponents on shooting, it could have been far far worse. The Steam Tank also didn't end up being that devastating, primarily because it did a lot of damage to itself. The Empire army was a bit hampered by small units too, they didn't hold up very well against the larger Elven blocks. A few more characters I think could have helped the Empire too, some Captains to provide the leadership benefits and some Warrior Priests to provide hatred.
My magic selection was interesting. I liked High Magic for the Ward Save buffing and the wonder that is Arcane Unforging. However, Metal wasn't as good against Empire as I had hoped. I never got Searing Doom off because my opponent wisely focused on dispelling it, so I couldn't counter the enemy cavalry with magic very well. Glittering Robe, which I had high hopes for, was also never cast because I realized that with an enemy mage casting Searing Doom right next to Eltharion, anything that Eltharion boosted with Glittering Robes would make them far weaker to Searing Doom by the enemy. I know some people like Death on Eltharion, but that's a pretty short range lore for a foot-caster. I'm thinking maybe Shadow might be a good lore to try for him next.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:01 pm 
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Green Istari

Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:26 am
Posts: 12705
Location: Otherworld
Hi CR, nice report, the photos really help!

Your list looks decent without rocking anything truly scary, like a Star Dragon or a cavalry deathstar say. As seen, 3++ PG plus characters are great but they can be a bit slow. I feel your list would have really benefitted from more shooting, mainly bolt throwers. They really help to keep units like Karl Franz honest. The Empire list lacks Demigryphs say, or characters to really beef up those knights, as you say. Karl Franz is strong though.

I slightly prefer the Empire deployment. I get the idea of neutering the Helblaster but without an Engineer it's manageable and your Spears are semi-disposable.

Drawing the Scroll on T1 was excellent. Did Karl Franz have much chance of Overrunning into an Infantry block? The Challenge vs Eltharion looked a bit unlucky for him, with those Thunderstomp hits coming to nothing. Similarly the artillery failing to stop the Phoenixes. They are resilient though and again, not enough artillery. Thunderstomp only affects Infantry, War Beasts and Swarms, not War Machines.

Overall I think you did play better, your attack was the better co-ordinated. More please!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:15 pm 
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Auctor Aeternitatum
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Congratulations on the win. You played better and the different units in the army worked together nicely. Which is what you need to win consistently with HE.

SA is correct, you can't thunderstomp a warmachine.

I think your deployemt was nice. It had a good idea behind it, though, as SA mentions, you could handle the empire shooting in other ways as well. What I think you could have done different, is actually what you did with your right flank. You were right in that it was a bit a race if you could overrun the left before the empire could overrun the right. You could have moved this more in your favour by staying back with your right flank and actually marching them towards your left flank to join up with the forces there. This, combined with the reaver unit who could have stalled some units T2 would have created a powerfull push in the centre while keeping his left (on your right) out of the battle for a good part of the game. Being this agressive put your units in harms way and gave you over (in part) to the luck of the dice.

Still, you noticed the magic that is Phoenix Guard. They can take a huge amount of punishment and not care about it at all. Even without characters they are LD9 so usually LD test are not a big issue. The razor banner makes them shred even medium armour units. With a high magic mage in there for a 3++ ward they are just plain nasty. I often run a 15 strong PG unit with razor banner and they are if a lot of games the most important unit of the table for me. They either hold the line while other units deal the damage or they shred stuff in combat with 15 rerolling to hit attacks.

I think you underestimate the value of searing doom on Eltharion. As you rightly say, he will almost always (try to) dispell it. But there is a lot of value in having a spell that must be dispelled. In general I consider a magic phase where I get one useful spell cast nice and a phase where I get more then that cast a great phase. After all, you will have 3 or 4 dice more then your opponent in an average magic phase. Which is one spell. You could even use this as a strategy in a magic phase. First cast a couple of other spells while you leave the threat of searing doom on the table. You could even decide not to cast it at all.

Thank you for sharing the report. It was an enjoyable read. :)

Rod

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