XXXVI – Restyler

One of the aspects of the 8th edition of Warhammer Fantasy that I yet haven’t really accepted with my High Elves is the apparent need to increase unit sizes. It’s not that I dislike the mechanics, like steadfast and horde formation – for horde armies (like Skaven) it adds a new flavour. But it does not feel elfy. Steadfast is a good counterweight against them Cavalry charges that were so much more powerful back in 7th. And while I like cavalry and do enjoy all mounted forces, the fact that cavalry took sort of a punch in the face, is not necessarily a bad thing. The bad thing is listening to those saying that cavalry is always a big no-no in all situation. But this big-unit-trend seems to be the common trend in army building. And yeah, its simple yet effective…

Most of the time I still have kept unit sizes close to what I had used in the previous edition. Muttring bitterly I slowly have progressed towards bigger units with my elves, and even made a few experiments with the elite infantry choices in a horde formation. While they do have their own tactics to them, they most of the time involve less finesse and are more about picking a target and locking on until you hit it to bits, while avoiding small chaff units that try to get in the way. It gets dull. Quickly.

Most fun I have had with lists very much like Seredain’s, over at Ulthuan.net; a cavalry prince and his posse of Knights with a sprinkle of supporting MMU infantry and chariots.

Now, the new High Elf book is a very, very good book. It can do all sorts of lists very well. All cavalry, all infantry, hordes, flying circuses and so on. I have not had so much fun with Elves ever. No unit seems absolutely terrible, which is seen in the number of supporters even the less popular choices have. (Of course a few things stand out in power, but its perfectly okay to leave them at home.)

Where does these two thoughts converge? A good book and unit sizes. They converge in something I have been following over Ulthuan.net with an interesting eye – namely, MSU.  For instance as seen in the workings of Swordmaster of Hoeth. I feel this is not the trend of a chosen few, but actually something of a growing phenomenon. Why?

For me it is part about using movement and tactics to overcome your opponent – challenging myself with new strategies and tactics. It is also about enjoying the hobby part. A large number of different units, but small in size, gives me variety to the models I paint and collect. It also is based on fluff. I believe that High Elves’ forces are diverse and need to work in a cohesive manner using the common special abilities of the different parts of the army to best the foe  the internal machinery where each unit is a cog in a great machinery.

It *is* relative to the meta. Having two scores of small units can give death star toting players something to sweat about. It might be terrible for some against someone else.  But if the guy over at the Empire forum who beat the ETC champs and made it to the top 5 edit: “ended up at 17th out of 120+” at a competitive tournament is more than a anecdotal piece of evidence – why not try it. If Warhammer Fantasy is in decline because people think it is about moving four groups of 50 beardy infantrymen around with some rocket science behind them  and painting all them 50 can be quite a torment, why not show them its not. It is at least a new experience.

But for me the *fun/challenge* part is good enough for now.

So after running down the (b/p)logs for a few weeks, and scouring the rest of the internets too, I had a game of Fantasy coming up against my buddy’s Beastmen. This lad is very much a painter, and does not worry too much About his Win-Loss ratio. Previously I had intended to pit my vamps in the making against him, as they ought to be well enough match up against him for a fun game. Now, instead, he would have the honour of facing my MSU list (or is it Swormaster’s?). This list could also be the list for an upcoming super soft/friendly tournament at the Åland Islands later in the spring if I really actually make it there this year. Tuned in at a Swedish comp of about 15 it should be soft and good for both occasions.

*************

My list looked like this:

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Loremaster of Hoeth (Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation)
BSB (Great Eagle, Starlance, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone)

12 Archers, musician
12 Archers, musician
5 Silver Helms, shields, musician, standard
5 Ellyrion Reavers, Spear and bow
5 Ellyrion Reavers, Spear and bow

10 Swordmasters of Hoeth, musician, champ
10 Swordmasters of Hoeth, musician, champ
10 Swordmasters of Hoeth, musician, champ
10 White Lions of Chrace, musician, banner
5 Dragon Princes, musician, banner (of the Eternal Flame)
Tiranoc Chariot
White Lion Chariot

Bolt Thrower
5 Sisters of Avelorn
5 Sisters of Avelorn
Great Eagle
Great Eagle

*************

So this is what I will keep myself busy with. (Let’s see how long I can focus on this? 🙂 I did do the cavalry prince for quite a while though..) This is something for playing the main rulebook scenarios, randomly selected. Some good arguments in my group has been made for using all the the scenarios, even the more disputed ones. More scenarios is more variation. This has a few banners  so should manage in Blood and Glory. It has a unit in the core section that is small enough to fit inside the watchtower.

(Is the ability to free reform into it necessarily a bad thing – I am asking in terms of list making. The need for a 20 large infantry block that can prevent this “ugly” move and maybe even deal, or soak up, a lot of damage is something that adds another dimension to list building, and pulls a straw away from massive blocks.  Right now I don’t take any side – but I would like to hear your opinions!)

In this game of Dawn Attack I faced (correct list with swe-comp will be updated tomorrow):

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Steve the Minotaur Lord, Many-limbed fiend, gnarled hide, slugskin, ramhorn helm, HA, 2HW, shield
Frank the Battle Standard Bearer, Horn of the great hunt, 2HW, HA
Slugtongue (Lore of Wild)

3 Tuskgor chariots
Gor herd, full command, shield, 20 gors
Gor herd, full command, shield, 20 gors (ambushing)
Ungor herd, FC, spear, shield

5 Centigors, full command
5 Centigors, full command
Minotaurs, full command, 2HW, 6 minotaurs
Bestigor herd, full command, 20 bestigors

Comped at 15.5 swedish.

***********

I expected something a bit different, but instead was facing something of a MMU Beastmen. With nil experience with an MSU list I did not know if it was better or worse for me. Slugtongue could do a lot of damage to my battle line though.

Rolling for magic he got Devolve (Ordinary Ld test or take a wound; association to 40k and the old Doom of Malanthai made this feel worse) and Savage Dominion (the ability to summon a monster).

The Dice Gods decided that I should Deploy First

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The Beasts arrive from the darkness under the canopies,

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And Slugtongues woes and starvation take their toll. Many units were affected;
1-3: the unit is unaffected
4-5; D3 wounds no armour save;
6: D6 wounds no armour save;

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but little real damage is done.

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Their coming is expected by the Asur who take the initiative and strike with bows and move into position.

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Moving ahead of the army the Reavers attempt to pass through the enemy battle line. They are too vary of the enemy movement and are unsuccessful. (Should have been more aggressive but now I was an inch or two short of passing through the charge arc of the chariot and the centigors. *Doh!*)

Winds of magic blow weakly (1+1), but yet the Loremaster attempts to summon the fiery wrath of Aqshy
. The weak stirring of the wind is easily calmed by the Beastmen shaman.

The onslaught of arrows cut down a chariot in the centre, and turn the gallop of some centigors who flee from the battle field. But the rest of the battle line press on determined to slaughter. The bushes make sounds of ambushing beastmen, but none is yet seen. The other unit of Centigors rally.

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The winds of magic are still calm (2+2), and while Slugtongue brays for Devolving – the minds of the Asur and their allies are armoured against the call of Chaos.

The Elves run through the lines of the Beastmen unexpectedly under the cover of a charge of the Dragon Princes and the Lion Chariot against a Beastly chariot each. The Dragon Princes’ target flee, but the Lion Chariots foe holds foolishly.
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The winds of magic blow with still only a breeze and nought is weaved of it by the Loremaster. A hint of awaken might be felt under the skin of the Elves.

The Reavers and Sisters of Avelorn instil fear in the hearts of the Centigors (left) with their arrows. And the bolt thrower cuts down a few Bestigors. (The Elves are shooting as if I was playing the Hobbit – Aim! Aim!) The White Lion Chariot crashes into the Chariot  and it is shattered. The nearby Ungors laugh at their unfortunate kin.
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In the picture above, in the upper left corner you see the Silver Helm unit I had moved in thought that it would be safe. But, alas, no. Had I tilted it slightly more clockwise it would have been, but now they only showed their elven buttocks to the… ehrm… hungry Ungors. Whose appetite for… Elf horse meat is insatiable. They, rather rationally flee, and end up in front of the Bestigors who then, in turn, also realise they are starving (Slugtongues fault?) and attempt to charge them. Again they flee, and barely pass out of reach.

The remaining centigor charge the rampaging Lion Chariots flank bravely, but is cut down in its attempt. The Ambushers are delayed. Slugtounge and his buds press forward screaming. The devolving bray on the slightly stronger wind (4+2) is again resisted. Steve takes up the flank.
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A Silver Helm is drowned in the Boiling Flood.

(Elves turn 3.)

The Lion chariots appetite for destruction is only woken by cutting down the last centigor and it turns and charges the Ungors’ flank. The Tiranoc Chariot along with two units of Swordmasters gang up on the beastmen who pressed forward , using the opportunity attack from all sides. The Elves try to surround the Beastmen horde ready to press the charge where the tide is in their favor. Sisters of Avelorn are ready for the Ultimate Sacrifice to keep Steve from rampaging to the centre of the Elven force.

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A Great Eagle tries to harass the Minotaurs to buy the rest of the army time to move into charging advantage.

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Something is clearly culling the magic (4+1). But the Loremaster does what he can and tries to disadvantage the foe with Miasma (dispelled) and Iceshard Blizzard (pass through). The chill goes to the beastmen bones (-1 to hit).
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Arrows do little damage, but the Lion Chariot cuts down the Ungors as they flee, without taking too much damage. The combat in the centre is brutal and the beastmen are cut down without a single elf casualty. The fleeing Gors are run down by the chariot and the Swordmasters redress their ranks to take on the Bestigors following in the wake of their slaughtered vile brethren. DSC_0302

Steve the mightiest of all minotaurs will not be held back from the real fight by a few girly elves. And attempts an assault at the given two flanks of the two Swordmaster units. They both flee and Steve is again a turn away from battle. (And the ground around him is getting grows high in arrow-grass.) The bloodlust takes over the Bestigors who charge both fleeing Swordmaster units in turn who fall back towards their lines. The rest of the High Elf battle line follows calmly their strategic manoeuvres. Finally the Ambushers arrive – unfortunately, not quite where they were supposed to (1- opponent choose table edge). Minotaurs eat an honourably sacrificed eagle. Silver Helms are engulfed in the flaming flood.

The Loremaster repeats the chilling call of the winds of Azyr and chills the blades of the Bestigors.

Again the Asur charge at an isolated target, now it is the Bestigors turn to face the glorious skill behind elven steel. The Battle standard bearer challenges his beastly mirror image to one man combat and cuts him down, while the rest of the elves cut down his warriors before they even can strike. Minotaurs are to be held back by harassing Reavers.

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In the end only Minotaur remain. The unit is soon caught under the hooves of the Pegasus and the Dragon Princes. And only after taking down the Sisters of Avelorn, Steve sees combat. And a mighty one it is. Two chariots an Eagle and White Lions charge the monstrous beast and the combined might is not enough to cut him down, but at least he knows he is too outnumbered to take on all the remaining elves by himself. He runs and disappears into the forest
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In spite of a two mistakes in the movement phase the elves win decisively. Taking only a unit of Sisters, an Eagle and a unit of Reavers in casualty (225pts) the whole beastmen army was cut down. (Although I admit I had a unit of archers too much on the table. I intended to swap them for some Silver Helms but was distracted when I took them out of their boxes for some reason and kept both. *doh* EDIT: The plot thickens as my opponent also found a hundred points or so more in his list, than he should have had. A 2500 pt game after all. But then I was way too low on core, not that it matters too much…) It seems to work reasonably well for my play style this MSU style army and I am eager to try more – one point does not make a curve.

A very different game it turned out to be, and my mate said he did not feel too daunted by this elf army.

Now I just have to learn not to make too many silly mistakes in the movement phase. XP

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3 responses to “XXXVI – Restyler

  1. Congrats on the win with the new list. It has a lot of deployments and seems to give you lots of options to flee with. Also, not any one unit is worth a lot of points.

    At least you only have on phase to work on. If only I could make fewer mistakes in the movement phase… and the magic phase… and deployment. I just need to up my game overall.

  2. I really, really agree with you on the current High Elf book. The ability to make just about any list is so wonderful. I cried bitter tears when the 7th edition book presented Silver Helms as a Special unit. Now you can have a shooty, stabby (or shooty/stabby) or lancy Core and I find it makes me get really creative with a lot of things and makes me want to try out even more models and units.

  3. Pingback: Alive! – A Vampire Counts Ghoul Showcase | Poison Tail's project work-things·

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