Second game of the Night - Dwarfs! :: By My Axe! ::
Prince Saerith on Star Dragon - Vambraces of Defense, Great Weapon, Armour of Caledor, Talisman of Loec :: 622
Noble Naenor BSB on Great Eagle - Dragon Armour, Shield, Great Weapon, Helm of Fortune, The Other Trickster's Shard :: 216
High Mage Curu Olannon - Level 2, Annulian Crystal, Ironcurse Icon :: 180
Characters Total :: 1019
30 Archers, Full Command and Gleaming Pennant - 360
14 Archers, Musician - 159
10 Archers - 110
Core Total :: 629
30 White Lions, Full Command and Banner of Eternal Flame, Amulet of Light :: 505
5 Dragon Princes, Drakemaster with Skeinsliver :: 195
Special Total: 700
3 Great Eagles :: 150
Rare Total :: 150
Runelord. Master Rune of Balance, Rune of Resistance, Rune of Stone, Rune of the Furnace, Shield. 228
Thane. BSB, Master Rune of Gromril, Rune of Fire. 120
Thane. Master Rune of Challenge, Rune of Brotherhood, Rune of Stone, Shield. 117
40 Dwarf Warriors. Great weapons, full command.
30 Longbeards. Full command, shields, Master Rune of Grugni. 435
20 Rangers. Musician. 225
Canon. Rune of Forging. 125
Grudge Thrower. Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Penetration. 130
Grudge Thrower. Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Penetration, Rune of Burning. 135
34 Hammerers. Full command. 438
Organ Gun 120:: Pre-battle thoughts & deployment::
I rolled 1, 4 for magic. I didn't really care too much as his massive defense would mostly mean that I could cast Shield or nothing useful at all, however Vaul's would've been nice!
We had a friend set up the terrain and he decided to make a rather un-orthodox table (the result which I believe favoured the Dwarfs). The Dwarf player won the roll to choose sides (not that it mattered too much) and had to deploy first. Everything was pretty obvious, apart from my small Archers (who were placed awkwardly to guard against his scouts since I knew he had the master rune of 'siren song'. He ended up placing the scouts as flank protectors.
His Runelord went with the Hammerers, BSB with Longbeards and 'Siren Songer' with Scouts.
With +2 to start I promptly rolled a '6' and took first turn. :: High Elves Turn 1 ::
Full speed ahead! I took care to be just a little over 12" away from his combat blocks, to make charges unlikely and combo-charges nigh impossible. Saerith also blocked the Horde from Naenor as they were 8" wide. I placed an Eagle to block both the Lion's and the Prince's from charging his Siren Song scouts.
Magic was 5v8 and he dispelled a Shield attempt on Saerith.
Shooting was non-existant as everything marched. :: Dwarfs Turn 1 ::
No movement on his part, so straight to shooting!
Laser-cannon opens up with a misfire but a re-roll sees him hit the Dragon. Faeria only loses 1W though and Saerith saves with the Vambraces! Looking good...
His non-flaming Stone Thrower follows up, showing me that it's laser-guided to by landing a hit. Faeria receives the big one and is wounded. Rolling the dice for wounds, he comes up with a '6' and she dies.
To make matters worse, his Organ Gun follows up by targeting Naenor. It misfires as well but is allowed a re-roll on its first shot and he promptly scores 10 hits, which kills the noble Elf AND panics Saerith who flees through 2 Eagles (who pass their tests, luckily). I'm not entirely sure what his 2nd Stone Thrower did but it had no effect. He seemed to recall in T2 that he simply forgot to fire it amid the ecstacy of killing both my flying characters. :: High Elves Turn 2 ::
Not one to give up easily I quickly realize that to win this the Lions must go completely berserk. I march them up very aggressively. However, I need to disrupt his perfect placement so I place an Eagle to 'block' his Longbeards from charging the Lions. Another Eagle flies up in his Cannon's face (I didn't dare the 19-20" charge) while all Archers march up (the last Eagle was siren song'd but fled, leaving my DP to do as they please). Saerith rallies.
Magic is 6v8 and I throw it all at Shield on the Lions and get IF! The result is a '4' but Olannon escapes the void and instead takes a wound, killing a handful of archers in the process. I duly pass panic.
Shooting is again non-existant as everything marched. :: Dwarfs Turn 2 ::
Remember the blocking Eagle? He declares a charge and I flee! He seems puzzled as to why I did this but realize that it doesn't matter whether one or two units make it into the Lions - they will kill a LOT anyway and as long as they're both in my front it doesn't matter too much. He needs to roll 10+ to catch the Eagle (and thus also overrun into the Lions) which he fails to do. I pass panic with Lions. However, the damage is done and his formation is now disrupted. Also, the Longbeards are 13" away from Saerith, allowing me at least a chance at doing something useful this game. The Hammerers move to try and mitigate the situation while his scouts move to flank protect better. Due to his movement, my only viable charge is against his Hammerers.
Shooting sees him blast the Eagle to smitheerens with his Organ Gun (10 hits...). His cannon targets a Great Eagle. His one thrower with LoS to the Lions rolls a scatter of '8'. As it lands perfectly on my Archers, he doesn't dare to re-roll it (3+ save and 5+ ward on Lions anyway) in case it'll bounce off everything. A handful of archers die. The other also targets Archers and kill some more. Panic tests are passed, many thanks to Saerith being alive. :: High Elves Turn 3 ::
I declare the charge with the Lions against the Hammerers. Saerith declares the 13" charge on the Longbeards and makes it! I realize that the Lions need to win big and fast so I move up Olannon as an Eagle to block his Scouts, making sure an overrun takes them into no-where where I can counter-charge massively. It's a thankless situation to be in but the Lions are my only hope now. The Dragon Princes and small Archers set up against the Scouts. The Eagle rallies.
Magic is 5v8. I throw it all at Shield, thinking that if I miscast and die the Lions have a 5+ ward which should help if the scouts thus get a flank-charge. I do not get IF, however my roll is quite high! He rolls miserably and fails to dispel!
Shooting - I forget about the few shots I have, being very eager to get in combat.
Combat sees his champion challenge Saerith. I kill him twice and pass my break test (I had 3 CR vs his 3 ranks + banner + bsb). The Lions go to town and when they're done, 18 (!) Hammerers are dead. His 12 return attacks score only 1(!!!) hit and one poor Guardian bites the dust. His Runelord fails to get by Shield of Saphery. :: Dwarfs Turn 3 ::
His scouts charge Olannon and that's about it as far as movement's concerned.
Shooting kills more archers (no more good targets) and puts a wound on an Eagle.
Combat - I declare Loec and kill his BSB. Again, I pass my break test (just barely!). The Lions manage to JUST kill off the remaining Hammerers, leaving the Runelord trying to roll insane courage, which he fails to do, despite the re-roll from the BSB (combats were resolved opposite of how I posted now). I pursue but fail to catch him - regardless he ran off the table. Olannon kills a scout but dies in return, he reforms to defend the flank. :: High Elves Turn 4 ::
Lions charge the nearest war machine (a Stone Thrower). DP go back to get out of Scouts' charge range. At this point I'm happy to play cat and mouse, leaving my Lions alone. The last Eagle moves to behind the hill, out of LoS from the cannon.
Shooting sees everything open up on his Scouts - killing no less than 7 after a few good rolls! He passes panic.
Combat sees Saerith kill a couple again and pass his break test! The Lions easily kill the War Machine and reform to the flank of the Longbeards. :: Dwarfs Turn 4 ::
Scouts move in to totally block my Dragon Princes (there's no escape now, however I'm not worried!).
Shooting - a few more Archers bite the dust, the 14-man unit now completely gone. Panic tests are passed!
Combat - Saerith kills 3 more Longbeards but rolls a double '6' for his break test! I flee too far from the Longbeards to follow though. :: High Elves Turn 5 ::
Lions flank the Longbeards. Dragon Princes front-charge the GW scouts while Archers flank them. 'They're only S3' he said. I don't care about their power, I just want to break his steadfast
Saerith rallies but the Archers are too far away to screen him. I move my last Eagle to block the Warriors' from doing something fancy.
Shooting puts a wound on his Organ Gun crew.
Combat - DP and Archers win big and he flees. I chase with both, the Archers catching him! Lions again go to town and murder his Longbeards - the remaining handful are run down. :: Dwarfs Turn 5 ::
He elects to back his Warriors. We do a quick calculation of victory points here and I'm ahead by a BIG margin. He needs to kill off a LOT to even be close. However, last turn's event saw his Organ Gun having a clear line of sight to Saerith...
Shooting - a cannonball sees the Drakemaster remain as the only one alive. The Stone Thrower fails to hurt anything.
The big moment comes up as his Organ Gun targets the Elf Prince. It scores 6 hits, which can go both ways! However, all 6 wound and I'm looking at 5+re-rollable followed by a 4+ ward. As my first 6 saves ALL fail, I know I'm in trouble. The second sees me save 2, leaving me with the Vambraces having to save 3. The first 3 dice dramatically come down '4', '4', '1' while the last is still spinning for what seems like an eternity... No help in this however, as it turns up a '3' and thus nets him 722 victory points! :: High Elves Turn 6 ::
At this point I re-calculate the points and figure that I'm still ahead by a comfortable margin, despite the Drakemaster dying. Now, having lost the Dragon T1 I really want to just win this game, so I elect to keep the Lions back (40 Warriors vs 25 Lions should see me win as I hit on 3+ re-rollable, however I just don't want to take that risk!). The Eagle however charges his Cannon.
Shooting sees me manage to kill off his Organ Gun!
Combat - the Eagle scores 1W for none in return but he holds. :: Dwarfs Turn 6 ::
He decides not to make a last ditch attempt at charging with his Warriors (it's late and we both want to go home, besides the chance of them winning against the Lions, breaking them and catching them in 1 round of combat is insanely small) so the last turn sees his flaming Laser-guided Stone Thrower target my Drakemaster. He hits, wounds, and I promptly fail my 2+ ward save, netting him another 200 points. I'm not worried though as I've already calculated this AND got the Organ Gun last turn.
The Eagle fails to kill off both crew members and the game ends!:: Victory Points ::
He had just short of 700 points left on the table, I had just over 1000. Both BSBs and Generals were dead but I had 2 more banners than him. A comfortable margin, and thus a win to the High Elves!:: Evaluation ::
Where to begin! Some very important rolls were definitely crucial in this game, however let's leave those aside for a moment and look at the tactics first:
My moving up T1 could probably not have been done a lot better. I'm not sure about the range of his Organ Gun but I'm pretty sure that Naenor could not have been on the hill (and thus had LoS) while being outside of its arc. Basically, T1 was fairly obvious. Had the flyers not died, I would've had a plethora of options in my T2 since all the Eagles were in so good positions!
Turn 2 saw me pull off a trick which worked admirably - the Eagle 'blocking' his Longbeards accomplished everything I could wish for! When I fled his charge, it was clear that he hadn't anticipated this nor thought about what it would imply. As it turned out, it was a real game-changer, allowing Saerith to gain 4" (from 17 -> 13) on them and thus get into combat. Also, the cat and mouse game between the Dragon Princes, Archers and his scouts started here and I believe my decisions at this early point were crucial to my eventual victory as I managed to predict his future moves and counter them - even before he made them (think of it like winning at chess late-game - sometimes you can win despite your opponent only making optimal moves!).
Turn 3 saw a necessary sacrifice of Olannon and a risky move from Saerith allow the Lions a perfect fight. Though the Lions were undoubtably the Elves of the match here (hence the title!), Saerith really put up a stellar performance - keeping the Longbeards at bay for a long time, even killing off his BSB before finally fleeing!
A note about his Warriors - they were extremely poorly placed relative to the Longbeards fail-charging up 4" and the Horde formation. He made a conscious decision early on to let them stay still. Though this might not have been the optimal move, and most certainly looks weird in the report, just imagine how much I could've blocked-fled with the big archers, not to mention the fact that it would've taken him forever with 6" marches to wheel that huge unit around to someplace useful.
Lastly I want to address some of the crucial rolls in this game. In no particular order, they were as follows:
- getting first turn
- stone thrower getting a '6' for wounds on Faeria
- Organ Gun getting 10 hits on Naenor (he only had 3 unsaved wounds when all was accounted for) and Saerith failing his sub-sequent LD10 panic test
- Saerith making a 13" charge
- Stone Thrower scattering 8" (though my Lions had a 5+ ward and 3+ armour save at this point)
- Saerith making a number of 8- and 9- break tests, holding out JUST long enough
Playing lists like this - where single events like a Dragon dying/surviving can hugely impact the game - these things are bound to happen! I don't like playing a high-variance game like this but I do believe that Dwarfs are a poor matchup for us anyway and this list changes other matchups from bad to managable or even favourable. As I just showed in this game, it's entirely possible to pull off a win despite of losing the Dragon T1. My list has the tools for it, and I do not believe that luck played a big factor here as the rolls were, in my opinion, fairly evenly distributed (you should SEE his accuracy rolls).
PS - shoutout to Brewmaster_D for convincing me to try Archers (I may have done this before!)
Even against Dwarfs I think they performed admirably - reducing the Rangers and killing the Organ Gun did more than I think Spears ever could've (bearing in mind how accurate his artillery was).
C&C welcome, as always