Warriors of Chaos versus Dwarfs. Round one of 3500-point friendly tournament. 29th August 2015.
I made an aggressive infantry list to prove to my friends that I can win without any artillery. This is my first experiment with Battle Chronicler so forgive a couple of wonky moves.
Dwarfs – me, with help from friend and WE/Lizard player "Ickle"
- Josef Bugman
- Thane BSB with Strollaz Rune, Slowness Rune, Master Rune of Grungni
- Runesmith with Rune of Stone, two Runes of Spellbreaking and Silver Horn of Vengeance
- Runesmith with Rune of Stone, two Runes of Spellbreaking and Fiery Ring of Thorri
- Runesmith with Rune of Stone and Master Rune of Valaya
- 63 Longbeards with Shields and Stubborn Rune
- 38 Miners with Steam Drill
- 37 Miners with Steam Drill
- 38 Bugman’s Rangers
If the Runesmiths seem like overkill, that's because I had wanted to put them in the Miners and Rangers to give armour piercing all round before being informed by the oppo that I couldn't due to them not sharing the same deployment rules. I knew this and I'm not sure why I made that mistake.
Warriors of Chaos – led by Jason with help from HEs and OnG player Martin
- Sorcerer Lord on Manticore: “Hortense” build (has 1+ armour save and 3++ ward save, re-rolling 1s, with Crown of Command to grant Stubborn.)
- Exalted Hero BSB with Mark of Khorne and 1+ armour save
- 30 Warriors of Chaos with halberds and Mark of Khorne
- 30 Warriors of Chaos with halberds and Mark of Khorne
- 5 Knights of Chaos with ensorcelled weapons and Mark of Khorne (I think)
- 5 Knights of Chaos with ensorcelled weapons and Mark of Khorne (I think)
- "Normal" Chaos Chariot
- Gorebeast Chariot
- Mutalith Vortex Beast
- Dragon Ogre Shaggoth
I dropped my gyrocopters, starting by putting two of them in the front-centre of my deployment zone, while Jason dropped chariots and knights on his left flank. I had to put down my Shieldbeards before he committed any of his core, but obligingly he faced them with one of his Warriors units anyway. I put the Beards on my left flank, away from his fast, killy stuff. He put his Chimera and general on Manticore to the Warriors’ right (my left).
I put my Rangers 12” from the Warriors’ front, near a small wood on the left table edge. My Shieldbeards Vanguarded up next to them. Ancestral Grudge rolled the middle result, giving my characters hatred against his, but that made no difference to the game.
His battle line, from my left to my right, went: Chimera, Manticore Sorcerer, Knights (in the back), Shaggoth (also in the back), Warriors, Warriors, Vortex Beast (in the back), Chariot, Gorebeast Chariot, Knights. I had Rangers and a Gyrocopter to the left of my Shieldbeards, with two more Gyros out to my right.
The start of the game. Yes, shamefully, most of my army is subbed, with Ogres as stand-ins for Gyrocopters.
Dwarfs Turn One
Ickle and I won the roll to go first. We advanced the Shieldbeards to the Warriors and moved our gyrocopters so as to make nuisances of themselves on our right flank. The Rangers didn’t move and shot his Manticore. We were never going to kill the Lord with his absurd saves, but killing the mount weakens him in combat and the range on his inspiring presence. We got two wounds.
Warriors Turn One
The leftmost Warriors, Manticore and Chimera all charged the Shieldbeards and made it. He moved his rightmost Warriors and Knights forward, understandably hoping to get my flank, but he had too much ground to cover for them to be a realistic threat for at least a couple of turns, especially with the Gyrocopters making a pain of themselves. He arranged his other units to prepare for the arrival of the Miners, moving his Chariots, monsters and leftmost Knights so they were staring at a large blank space behind his lines. Obviously I’d been considering that as the miners’ ambush site, but not any more.
In the magic phase, he cast Final Transmutation on the Shieldbeards. When he generated this spell I knew immediately I wanted to get rid of it, so I didn’t even roll my dispel dice but cashed a Spellbreaking Rune. Unfortunately I rolled a 3, so the wizard kept it.
In combat, the Warriors and monsters threw out a lot of damage, killing roughly 20 Shieldbeards. We were helped in a big way by our parry save, which improved to 5++ because we’d received a charge. In retaliation, the Shieldbeards killed ten or so Warriors, maybe a couple more. We were helped by the Runesmiths’ armour piercing rules and, of course, by the Runesmiths themselves. The Thane wasn’t fighting, having been sent to the back of the class for declining a challenge. The Fiery Ring of Thorri traded breath weapons with the Chimera. Being Stubborn, leadership 10 and having a re-roll, the Shieldbeards obviously went nowhere, just as planned.
Dwarfs Turn Two
Both Miners units passed their rolls to appear, and, with Ickle’s advice, we decided to avoid Jason and Martin’s thoughtfully-prepared trap and put them on the board at our rear-left, staring down Jason’s left flank, with the rear of a Knights unit clearly in their sights. They moved forward and we continued to "I swear too much" around with our Gyrocopters, with one flying over the combat and the other in a redirect position on his rightmost Warriors.
This Gyrocopter steam gunned the Warriors, but only managed one kill, I think.
The Rangers charged the Chimera. Though the Shieldbeards were down to 6+ and 6++ saves due to the loss of Shieldwall in the second turn of combat, they were helped immensely by having killed a good number of Warriors last turn – with a horde of just 30, losing a rank drastically reduces lethality. Thus the Shieldbeards, who were nowhere near losing any attacks, didn’t take too many casualties, and did a respectable number of wounds in return. The Rangers, hitting on Strength 7, cut the Chimera to pieces; with their three ranks, plus their flank charge, our wounds and our BSB, we won combat pretty convincingly. The Hortense Lord, being Stubborn, passed his break test, but gratifyingly the Warriors didn’t; Jason should possibly have taken a general with better leadership than 8. Being stuck in combat with Hortense, we couldn’t pursue. In the movement phase I could’ve moved my Gyrocopter behind the combat so as to cut them down as they ran, but I genuinely didn’t think we were going to win so resoundingly.
Chaos Turn Two
Jason moved his leftmost Knights away from the Miners. He then rallied his Warriors and set about rearranging his disappointed ambushers into some semblance of a second-wave battle line. The rightmost Knights charged a Gyrocopter that had been sitting in redirecting position in front of his Warriors. I screwed up the positioning here a little: a little further to the left and the Warriors would’ve blocked the Knights from charging. Oh well.
Having seen the fragility of his Warriors’ leadership, Jason had the clever idea of charging his Battle Standard Bearer out of the second Warriors’ unit and into a second Gyrocopter, which was sitting in the middle of the board and within the Hold Your Ground range of my Shieldbeards fight. I was checking the charge arcs of my other Gyrocopters, wondering if I could combo-charge him next turn, but as you’ll see, such schemes turned out to be redundant.
He tried Plague of Rust in the magic phase and I dropped another Spellbreaker, again rolling a three and failing to make Hortense forget a nasty spell.
But never mind: Hortense wasn’t a problem for much longer. Jason’s BSB failed to wound my Gyrocopter and then, for three successive and crucial rolls, the dice gods lined up perfectly for me. I hit and wounded him twice and then Jason rolled snake-eyes for his save - this was literally the only roll that would've killed him since he had a 1+ armour save. In the first of several episodes of decisive and horrific bad luck, a Gyrocopter killed an Exalted Hero in close combat and Jason lost his BSB.
This fateful snake-eyes roll was the first and perhaps most important of many pieces of game-changing bad luck for Jason.
The Rangers and Runesmiths killed Jason’s Manticore, and though Hortense was still alive he clearly didn’t fancy his chances and decided to quit the combat, in another unfortunate roll. Either the Rangers or the Longbeards – can’t remember which – pursued and caught him, overrunning into the Shaggoth. The other of these units charged it at the start of our next turn. The Warriors failed their panic check for allies having been beaten in combat or being fled through
by a fleeing ally – one of the two – and elected once again to hoof it.
Rangers and Shieldbeards overrun into the Shaggoth as Miners descend from the hills. Martin, self-involved High Elf that he is, paints a Phoenix.
In the last combat, the Knights took two wounds from the Gyrocopter, which ran – in hindsight I quite clearly should’ve fled with it, but I guess I had bigger things on my mind.
Dwarfs Turn Three
The Gyrocopter that didn’t flee march-flew over the Knights, dive-bombing them, and parked in front of the second Warriors unit in redirecting position, just like his more cowardly mate. In another dose of implausible luck Jason stuffed his Knights’ saves and the bomb killed three. The running Gyrocopter continued to run, while the third charged the fleeing Warriors and finished them off.
The Gyrocopter makes a successful dive-bomb.
We reformed one of the Miners units to five wide in order to fit through the gap between the soon-to-be-dead Shaggoth and the table edge. The other Miner unit marched infield and down the hill.
The Rangers and Shieldbeards mauled the Shaggoth, killing it decisively. The Rangers overran into the Knights, while I took the reform with my Shieldbeards and turned to face Jason’s Warriors. With the Miners approaching to their right, they’d make an imposing battle line with which to face Jason’s.
Chaos Turn Three
Jason charged his two chariots into the Gyrocopter, which, having astonishingly killed the BSB and a Warriors unit, was making a definite push for MVP. Combat proceeded as you’d expect (this time) and the chariots overran into the Rangers’ flank. I’ll admit to not having seen this coming, but I wouldn’t have done anything differently since the Gyrocopter had to move there in order to kill the Warriors, and chariots don’t really scare me. Anything that can’t disrupt infantry with a flank or rear charge receives a big mark-down in my book, probably to an irrational extent, but my confidence turned out to be well-founded in this case.
The chariots had crushed the Gyrocopter, but then suddenly contracted rubber-scythe syndrome. They killed a few Rangers, sure, but nowhere near enough. A punishing double charge with them had been one of Martin and Jason’s last plays that could break my battle line and maybe claw the game back, but, Stubborn under the influence of Bugman's ale, the Rangers held comfortably. Josef Bugman himself took two wounds from the softer of the chariots (the non-Gorebeast one).
Jason picks his targets for a chariot charge. He elects not to hit the Shieldbeards in the front and goes for the Gyrocopter, avenging his BSB. Later this turn, he’ll smash the Gyro and overrun into the Rangers’ flank.
Dwarfs Turn Four
We charged the five-wide Miners into the Knights, which I guess must’ve survived the Rangers, or maybe we completely forgot to resolve that side of the combat after settling the attack of the chariots(!). We also charged the Shieldbeards into the Chariots – their flank was just in our charge arc – even though it pulled them out of the line. We rallied the fleeing Gyrocopter and charged the other into the rear of the second Warriors unit (not sure how we managed this since it was clearly in front of them and I’m pretty sure that was last turn – can flyers like this fly over a unit and charge it in the rear even if they start the turn in front of a unit?! Surely not.) The ten-wide Miners continued their slow, inevitable slog infield.
In combat, the Rangers carved up the Knights and they and Bugman killed the lesser chariot. The Shieldbeards, at Strength 5 having charged, comfortably beat the Gorebeast and sent it running off the table. They were helped by another round of poor rolls from Jason – in two turns of combat, both chariots and their crews had embarrassed the Dark Gods. The Rangers and Shieldbeards once again turn to face Jason’s army, with the Miner units only a turn or so away from catching up – a solid line of Dwarven infantry with only the Rangers and Shieldbeards having sustained any casualties, and still with more than half their strength remaining. The Miners hadn’t swung a pickaxe – not even those that found combat against the Knights.
Jason conceded at about this point, with only a Vortex Beast, a Warrior unit and two Knights remaining and two turns each still to play. I think we rolled a few dice for the Gyrocopter combat, with the Dwarven machine taking a wound and failing to dish any out. Not sure we fully resolved this though, with Jason having conceded.
End of the game: having massacred the chariots, the depleted-but-still-strong Shieldbeards and Rangers turn to face the Chaos second wave, with Miners approaching on either side to reinforce. A Gyrocopter harasses the Warriors’ rear. Only the Vortex Beast, Warriors and two Knights remain. There are still two turns to play, but Jason elects to concede.
I lost a Gyrocopter, was probably about to lose a second, and had lost almost half of the Rangers and Shieldbeards after many turns of bloody combat with both.
Jason had lost his Manticore General, his Battle Standard Bearer, his Chimera, his Shaggoth, his two chariots, a unit of Warriors and a unit of Knights, with a second having taken losses. Pretty sure that’s a massacre, and if it isn’t, it would have been if we’d kept playing. The Warriors would’ve surely killed some of whatever they chose to charge, but Stubbornness runs right through my army. Nothing would’ve broken and he’d have taken a counter-charge, possibly in the flank, from a horde of fresh infantry with Strength 6 in the first turn of combat. The Vortex Beast isn’t a very good combat monster and its magical attack would struggle against Dwarfs on Toughness 4, even if he could cast it against an army with this level of magical protection.
- Jointly awarded to the Rangers and the Shieldbeards who played a perfect game of hammer-and-anvil. The Shieldbeards soaked up a three-way charge by two monsters and a Khorne Warrior horde with characteristic Dwarven stoicism, while the Rangers massacred everything they touched, including a Chimera, a Manticore and a Shaggoth. Strength 7 on the charge is nice.
In a non-Strollaz list I'd have Hammerers, but I can see why Ironbreakers are much less popular - Shieldbeards fill their role almost as well, especially with good character support, and don't swallow Special points.
Most Surprisingly Valuable Performer:
- My Gyrocopter, who no one would’ve guessed would kill an Exalted Hero BSB in combat, granting a crucial advantage in the process. Also finished off a fleeing unit of Khorne Warriors. Probably earned its points back five or six times over, without exaggeration.
- I’m giving this to the Vortex Beast, who thought he was on a weekend stroll and was entirely ignored by me to no ill effect.
- I’ll name a couple of runners-up, one being the Miners, since they killed nothing, but they had an impact on the game in forcing Martin and Jason to make moves (it’s still unclear to me whether those moves were sensible).
- Another runner-up would be the second Warriors unit, purely because they have such awesome killing potential, which was almost entirely wasted apart from scratching the paint on a Gyrocopter. However, they did affect the game because I had to commit Gyros to annoy them, so there’s that.
Jason must have disturbed a sacred burial ground at some point in his life because this game proved that the poor man, known in our group for failing leadership rolls with unerring consistency, is officially cursed. He had a really tough run of luck on several key rolls, each of which kicked the momentum further in my favour. After the loss of his BSB, his general and then his Warriors failed two leadership rolls, giving up his magic phase and allowing me to run rampant through the midfield. Breaking Hortense in combat was the only way I was ever going to kill him and pinning nasty units with him had been one of Jason’s key tactics, so losing the BSB’s protection against poor leadership rolls was a piece of game-changing luck for me. Crushing my Rangers with his chariots was one of the last moves he had to claw his way back, and then the dice failed him again. There’s a point at which bad luck stops being funny, and there’s a point at which it undermines my own enjoyment of the game because it’s harder to argue one's own good play brought the victory.
So in the spirit of identifying things that Ickle and I did right, I think we gave ourselves the opportunity to get lucky in the deployment phase. I’d never fielded a list quite like this before and Martin and Jason admitted to not fully understanding how it worked; they’d expected at least two blocks of infantry to go down in normal deployment. When we saw fast and hard stuff go down on one flank – a conventionally sensible deployment choice, of course – we exploited this by putting our main anvil unit a good distance away. The upshot was that almost half of Jason’s army, including his second mainline infantry regiment, had no bearing on the battle whatsoever. Had we allowed combat to occur closer to the centre of the field, the BSB would’ve been in play, and the crucial routs that won us the game would probably not have occurred. Running the BSB out was a clever risk to make him useful, but it was only necessary because Martin and Jason assumed combats would occur in conventional places instead of being confined to one flank. I guess a Strollaz/Miners list is as much about movement and positioning as it is about aggression.
Speaking of the Miners, they did almost literally nothing. Two of my four infantry blocks – the cheapest two, admittedly – and not a single kill to their name. They’re too damn slow. The Shieldbeards and Rangers did all the heavy lifting – I bet Bugman watered down the Miners’ post-battle beers out of spite. They did scare Martin and Jason enough to make some moves with their monsters, knights and chariots, and it’s tough to know if those moves were valuable to me. They seem silly on the face of it, and it did line up the Shaggoth and the knights for some sweet overruns. But even had this not been the case, Jason and Martin would still have had a tough job getting all that stuff into combat.
This, I think, was what really made the difference, even more so than Jason’s godawful luck: two big Warrior hordes, four monsters, two knight hammers and two chariots sounds terrifying on paper, but there’s only so much space on the board and in base contact with two infantry blocks. If most of a list can’t get to the action or participate when it arrives, it can’t win.
We're playing a knockout tournament with 3500-point armies, with each of us bringing two lists, and this battle was the last to decide the semi-finals. Next I've got Martin's nasty OnG list, which knocked out my Vampire Counts. In the final, the winner of that match will face either Ickle's Wood Elves or Martin's High Elves.
Edited by RSJ87, 01 September 2015 - 10:43 AM.