Back in Warhammer 8th ed. I sometimes used a massive unit of 50+ Longbeards, but I wanted to be able to equip them with hand weapons and shields rather than great weapons, since they were so much more survivable that way. I started collecting the models I would need, and I finally got the others put together just before this game, which allowed me to include two full units of Greybeards in this game.
Rune Priest (general): shield, RoIron x2, RoBrilliance, RoMastery; RoGleaming, RoReckoning, RoResilience.
Thane (battle standard bearer): shield, RoIron x2, RoBronze, RoShielding x2.
Anvil of Power: RoShattering, RoStorms, RoResolve.
Clan Warriors: x36, shields, full command, War Standard.
Greybeards: x30, shields, full command.
Greybeards: x30, shields, full command.
King's Guard: x30, full command.
Rune Crafted Flame Cannon.
Rune Crafted Bolt Thrower.
Rune Crafted Bolt Thrower.
Vampire Count (general): wizard master (evocation), +3 learned spells, Von Karstein bloodline, heavy armor, shield, Razor Blade, Book of Arcane Power, Talisman of Shielding, Staff of Gerhard the Black.
Vampire Courtier: wizard apprentice (evocation), +1 learned spell, Von Karstein bloodline, Refined Taste, heavy armor, shield, spectral steed, Blade of Red Thirst, Lucky Charm.
Barrow Knights: x10, full command, Black Standard of Zagvozd.
Barrow Guard: x30, shields, full command, Banner of the Barrow Kings.
Spectral Hunters: x5.
Bat Swarm: x2.
Vampire Spawn: x3.
Skeletons: x40, spears, full command, War Standard.
Skeletons: x38, full command.
You may notice that the VC list above is the same as in the previous game I played against this opponent. He didn't have time to write up a new list and just used the old one again.
The fates chose to give us a normal deployment and two objectives to capture for our game, and we got started. I deployed everything as soon as I had the opportunity, and my opponent had the chance to deploy mostly in response to my deployment. But that gave me the first turn to let my war machines do some shooting.
I tried to deploy a little tighter this time around. I still had to deploy my clan shieldwarriors out on my far left flank on the other side of the building there. The war machines went into the woods in hopes that potential dangerous terrain tests would discourage my opponent from going after them too quickly.
The second unit of Greybeards went on the other side of the war machines to anchor my right flank.
Dwarven Holds Turn One: Confident in the melee combat abilities of the dwarven troops against the undead units, the dwarves advanced. The rune priest could not push any magic through the undead defenses.
Meanwhile, the dwarven war machines managed to fell a few swarming bats with their magical shots.
Vampire Covenants Turn One: The undead hordes advanced, intent on engaging the dwarves in melee. The vampire spawn raced around the right flank of the dwarven host, hoping to wreak havoc behind their lines. The vampires failed to produce anything significant with their magic.
The rest of the undead move towards the dwarven battleline.
The skeletal warriors kept good discipline as they advanced.
The barrow knights moved up on the dwarven left flank to face off against the shieldwarriors.
DH2: The greybeards on the right moved up to block the ghasts. I didn't want them to end up in the flank of the other greybeard unit. The shieldwarriors moved up to defend the wall against the oncoming barrow knights. I was still a little concerned about leaving them on their own. I knew they would stand up well for a while, so long as I kept the army battle standard in range, but that's something easier said than done. I was also concerned that I had both of my very-important characters in the King's Guard unit. I really didn't want them matched up against the barrow guard with their multiple wounds and lethal strikes. I decided to leave them in the unit, though, in order to see how they held up and how effective the barrow guard would be against them. I was well aware I was taking a real risk.
During the magic phase, the rune priest and anvil of power worked in concert to punch through the enemy defenses, significantly improving the combat effectiveness of the rightmost unit of shieldbeards. The vampire spawn had moved far enough on the dwarf right flank that the bolt throwers were able to fire into the unit's flank, killing one and wounding another. Meanwhile, the flame cannon burnt several skeleton warriors to a crisp.
Of special mention, I was able to hit the barrow knights with the RoShattering.
VC2: The barrow knights declared a charge against the shieldwarriors. We counted up how many dangerous terrain rolls my opponent would have to make, but he still wanted to make the charge. He rolled seven 1s! That was unfortunate. That was very unfortunate. It left the barrow knights with just a couple of models left in the unit, meaning that the vampire courtier with the Red Blade would have to do some serious work to keep the unit from simply crumbling to dust. The shieldwarriors would start the ensuing combat phase with 3 ranks, standard, and War Standard--5 points of static combat resolution--meaning that the vampire and remaining barrow knights (now down even a musician) had to deal at least 4 unsaved wounds just to win combat, in which case the shieldwarriors would have a Ld9 re-rollable break test. At that point, I was confident that the shieldwarriors would eventually destroy the barrow knights and vampire just because they would be so difficult to kill.
In the center, the rightmost unit of skeleton warriors that had been hit with a shot from the flame cannon in the previous turn charged into the flank of the rightmost unit of shieldbeards. That had me worried, because with the added static combat resolution, it meant that the shieldbeards had to do a very good job of both not dying and hitting back decently hard. I had no pretensions that they would win that combat, but I needed them to be able to pass their break test. The other unit of skeleton warriors (these with spears and shields) charged along with the barrow guard into the dwarven king's guard. I realized that I had possibly moved my leftmost unit of shieldbeards too far up, but when we measured it, they could just wheel past the barrow guard for a charge into the flank of the rightmost skeleton warriors--provided the other shieldbeards preserved the dwarven right flank intact. I was also somewhat concerned about the fight in the middle, but I consoled myself with the fact that if the undead took out my general and army standard, at least the king's guard would be able to take out everything else! The more I thought about it, the better that center combat looked to be in my favor. The high-strength attacks from those king's guards would turn that vampire into mincemeat, and with the other vampire's fate already set, it would be only a matter of time until the undead hordes were crumbling without a master to keep them animated.
The undead magic was potent, raising several of the barrow knights, which meant that the unit was roughly about where I had expected it to be had my opponent rolled an average roll for their dangerous terrain tests. Still, as I considered the potential damage, I thought the shieldwarriors might lose the first round of combat, but they were still in range of the army battle standard and would prove even more difficult to kill in subsequent rounds of combat.
The vampire spawn flew over to hide behind the ruins on the dwarven right flank, fearing the ire of the dwarf war machines. The ethereal cavalry similarly feared to venture into the open where they could become easy targets. I was more than happy to have that flank basically pinned down. Now I just needed those shieldbeards to hold until relieved.
In melee, the barrow guard concentrated on the dwarven thane, seeking to tear down the army battle standard and spread despair throughout the dwarven forces. They only managed one wound, which multiplied to two wounds. The king's guard also lost a few of their number. But then the dwarves struck back, returning the hurt with interest. The vampire was down just one wound, but it was obvious that the king's guard would make short work of him.
On the right, the shieldbeards took the undead onslaught like warrior heroes of old! Losing four of their number, they killed the skeleton champion (who had been foolish enough as to issue a challenge to the dwarf champion), one other skeleton warrior, and dealt 4 wounds to the ghasts. The result was a break test for the shieldbeards on a 7, if I recall correctly. I think they passed the initial test, too, so they didn't even need the reroll they had available. I was happy. That combat could very well have gone very differently.
DH3: The other unit of shieldbeards charged into the flank of the skeleton warriors on the right. I was half-tempted to charge them into the barrow guard, but I decided against it. I wanted to shore up my beleaguered right flank, and I wanted to see what the king's guard could do on their own. In fact, I was so confident about the combat in the center of the battle that during my magic phase, I cast spells on the king's guard to try to burn through some of my opponent's dispel dice. The ploy worked. I was not able to cast any spells on them, but that just meant I was able to cast other, more important spells on the shieldbeard units: resilience on the right, gleaming on the left. Going into the combat phase, I was able to expect all three combats to result in defeats for the undead.
During melee, the king's guard beat the vampire master into the ground with their great hammers. Now you see him, now you don't!
On the left flank, the shieldwarriors took the charge, but between defending the wall and their improved shieldwall saves, they only lost two warriors. They killed none in return, but that left the barrow knights to crumble, crumbling even more at the end of the phase due to the demise of their master. On the right, the shieldbeards decimated the undead, after which even more crumbled into the dust as the vampire's will failed to continue to sustain their substitutionary locomotion. The ethereal cavalry failed their leadership test and crumbled, as well, leaving only a single model left in the unit.
VC3: Seeing that the attempt had failed to take out the rightmost unit of shieldbeards and leave the dwarven right flank exposed, the undead sent everything into the combat they could in a final effort to try to turn that flank.
Without his primary mage, my opponent threw five dice into the one spell the vampire courtier could cast, which I then dispelled. Without support from magic, the undead hordes were once again at the mercy of the dwarven martial prowess, which took a heavy toll across the board. The undead units in combat on my right flank all fell, allowing the shieldbeard units to pivot to face the flank of the barrow guard. The barrow knights were down to the champion and the vampire left but failed to inflict enough kills to save themselves from crumbling, and while the king's guard continued to lose a few of their number each combat round, they just completely outmatched their undead opponents. His units began to crumble again, leaving only the barrow guard and skeleton warriors still standing out of the entire undead host.
DH4: Both units of shieldbeards charged into the flank of the barrow guard, and both units rolled high enough to reach their target. At that point, my opponent conceded.
Edited by Swordthain, 10 May 2017 - 07:48 PM.