LVI – Curse of Undeath

After a long time I got in another Warhammer Fantasy game! With both a Lor d of the Rings game AND a Fantasy game in just a week it seems as if I am getting back on the gaming track. This time at the expense of the ESCA – but after 5 months of nearly non-stop 40k:ing its about time.

It all began to come together as I managed to converge with a f(r)iend for a beer a week and a half ago. We talked about the excitement of the new End Times – he had just bought the new Arkhan the Black and the Nagash book. A few hours and (less nerdy) topics later, we had dated our last mano-y-mano game to 9 months ago. Another was due – today.

2500 points High Elves (MSU) against the Undead Legions

This time I was sure about what army I was going to pick – and even the list. It was all about my MSU High Elves. Although I was very excited about the concept in the winter/spring I had only managed to get 2 games with the list prior to this, and both of these against a Beast(of a)man. Now, knowing the stage, teh opponent and the audience I got rather uncomfortable. See, this same Undead (not too much a reference to his presence) guy used to use me as a beat puppet back when I just had began playing for many of his vampire counts tourney lists. And two editions back you couldn’t get very far with a love for Phoenix Guards and Lothern Sea Guards. Not to mention the nastiness of those skellie blocks with a nastier vamp and a static combat resolution of 11-13 and “outnumbered by fear causing enemy). *ugh* What was I getting into. But I promised I wouldn’t let him get away easily this time.

My mood changed when I found my army list, and then added the 100 points difference between 2400 and 2500 as a Silver Helm block. My mood got even better when I started line up my minis on movement tray and saw the army come to life.
                           “Ulthuan shall never fall!”

My army was:

A Loremaster (Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation)
Noble BSB on an Eagle (Dragon Helm, Star Lance and Luckstone; plus mundane for a 2+)

12 Archers, musician
10 Archers, musician
10 Archers, musician
5 Reavers, spear and bow, musician
5 Reavers, spear and bow, musician
5 Silver Helms, musician

10 Swordmasters of Hoeth, musician, champion
10 Swordmasters of Hoeth, musician, champion
10 White Lions of Chrace, musician, banner
10 White Lions of Chrace, musician, banner
5 Dragon Princes, Banner of Eternal Flame, musician
1 Tiranoc Chariot
1 Lion Chariot (as the Skycutter was forgotten home 😦 )

5 Sisters of Avelorn
5 Sisters of Avelorn
1 Eagle
1 Eagle
1 Boltthrower

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As stated before, this list is far and wide based on Swordmaster of Hoeth’s musings on Ulthuan.net. His threads are worth checking out (read: mandatory) if you are interested in Elven MSU style Warhammer.

My opponent fielded (roughly)

Arkhan the Black
2 Level 2 Casters (the Lores of Undeath and Tomb Kings)

30 Archers, full command
6 Chariots, full command and Banner of Eternal Flame
5 Skeleton Horsemen

2 Screaming Skull Catapults
2 Warsphinxes
A Casket of Souls
And a Necrotitan (?)

On the table edge waited a bunch of Zombies, characters and Hexwraiths ready to be summoned.

We rolled up the Meeting Engagement scenario and I got to deploy first. The board was dominated by a river that run through a forest. Two swamps inhabited by Fimir, and a dwarven brew house are other notable terrain features.

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In spite of the large number of units only a unit of archers and a unit of Sisters are delayed.

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The Elven deployment looks like this.

I was a tad rusty after a few months of doing only 40k, and my experience against the Tomb Kings is little. In retrospect I should have been slightly more aggressive as we both can shoot about as much, but I prefer combat more than him. But it was not too bad.

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The Tomb Kings deployment looked like this (below). Not one unit was delayed. (I would not have minded that one of the Catapults would have been delayed.)

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And the vanguarding Reavers bravely stalkt the flanks of the undead host (with red dice in the upper corner, unpainted in the lower).

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The High Elves move slightly forward, trying to position themselves better. Again, could have been more aggressive perhaps. The multitude of units would protect me from charges (with flee moves). Most unfortunate are the Archers in the brewhouse who spend a turn just binge drinking as no one is in range. The Sisters and Archers deploy on the further flank, ready to work on the warmachines and the horsemen.

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After the movement phase seen from the short table edge. Nothing much more than the eagle and the reavers hiding out of line of sight.

 

 

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Then comes the magic phase 5+4, a channel for the tomb kings. The Loremaster debuff the movement on the chariots to prevent them from getting to the Dragon Princes. Shem’s Burning Gaze is stopped, as is Fireball. At this point I should have 6-diced Shems at Arkhan, followed by all shooting attention available at him – but at the time I though he was much tougher than in reality.

The shooting phase was a flop and little was done anywhere. 10 archers, 5 reavers and 5 sisters could only take 3 wounds off the skellie horsemen. I had hoped for more. (But why did I not shoot the bolt thrower at them?? or Arkhan… 😦 )

The Tomb Kings move up a bit, War sphinxes especially. Chariots reform to face the reavers and the eagle.

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The winds of magic is a 6-5 (ouch) and the Arkhan summons a bunch of Zombies to cover the Silver Helms’ advance.

The summoning spells were the ones I was most wary of. Large blocks of tar pits could easily stop my small units fast.

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The Skeleton Archers revenge their really deaded friends with a volley scary enough to kill two Reavers and send the rest of them fleeing from the battle field. A rock takes off 2 wounds off the BSB.

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The elves’ second movement phase. Mostly moving up after the archers fail their charge against the skeleton horsemen (lower left) 8″ away. I almost sent the Sisters in there as well – and it would have been useful. Now the Catapults would be safe for a long time. Dragon Princes – middle right, above the river – fail their long charge against the chariots. A solid flank charge was worth a shot.

The rest of the army block the warsphinxes and carefully move forward. The silver helms move out of sight of the zombies.

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Winds of magic roll up a 6-3. Little happens, however. In the shooting phase I manage to get rid of the skellie horse archers. The Bolt thrower, with a single bolt, manages to do 2 wounds to Arkhan. I realize. This is what I should be doing, especially as the Lores available allows no healing of characters!

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I get a bit lucky in the second Tomb Kings movement phase – the eagles flee from the warspinxes’ charges, and both fail to redirect in spite of Leadership 9 near Arkhan. This is good, as both eagles flee a very short distance as you can see. The Silver Helms in turn flees as far as they possibly can from the *oh* so terrible Titan. The Cariots complete their charge against the Reavers in spite of a long-ish distance to them. Dangerous terrain tests are passed. A reform to keep them out of terrain leaves their flank open.

 

 

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The other flank.

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Magic phase is a 4-2. And a skellie block appears in the middle of the river. Shooting kills a few archers in the upper edge (near the catapults).

More movement in the High Elves movement phase. Now I start to focus on Arkhan and attempt to get shooting range to him. The BSB plans to try to kill off a caster in the archer unit, and/or get off a good charge against the skellie archers. The rest is just moving up. Dragon Princes  of course took the flank charge from the chariots.

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Another perspective.

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The magic phase gave 5-5 for winds of magic. And at this point all focus was to put wounds on Arkhan, and he is brought down to two left.

The Dragon Princes defeat the chariots easily, especially as it turnes out they have the flaming banner. (We usually play with hidden magic items.) …and they reform to be out of line of sight of the Warsphinx.

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Now the Tomb Kings also began charging. Arkhan charges the Sisters of Avelorn. Greedy for wounds on Arkhan I stand and shoot and hope to get the last (2 maybe, he has 8 but I kept thinking he only had 6) wounds off. Bad idea. Why? Because each wound he does in combat heals one previously lost. *sigh* Four sisters lost, on fled away means 4 wounds more to take off him.

Anyway, one of the Warsphinxes charge the White Lion unit in the middle – who hold –  the other an eagle and fail to redirect again. The rest of the army moves a bit up.

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Tomb Kings magic phase III. 5-3 for winds. With two summoned units on the table I was careful to allow more units to the table. So first I, after some careful afterthought mind you, let a double shoot through on the archers. “Fine, they’ll be able to shoot that small unit of swordmasters, or more likely the BSB off, he has one wound left. I can live with one less unit. If one more summoned unit arrives I’ll have a much harder time to get my charges off where I want to.” Second spell to come through is the casket – first time this game. He rolls well above average – I remember a 5 and a 6, something on the third (2?), and together with the fear of the summoning shenanigans I decide to let it through. Bad. Idea.

First the BSB goes, then the Swordmasters take a hit and finally the Lion Chariot is beamed up onto Enterprise. Before.

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After.

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In combat the White Lions are stomped (and breath weaponed), and as said, Arkhan takes care of the Sisters.

I have little movement in my turn – mainly archers who position themselves to target Arkhan, and the Dragon Princes who march towards the archers and skellies. (The last unit of Swordmasters rally behind the White Lions, just on the table edge.)

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With the combined might of shooting and some slight witchery Arkhan finally crumbles.

The undead legions, mostly stumble up. With the middle Warsphinx failing a charge on a 1×1. In the magic phase (5-4) the priests summon a unit of Ushabti. In afterthought this might have been a good manipulation of my use of dispel dice by my opponent. After the dramatic effects of the casket of souls lascannon last turn, he foresaw that I would dispel it hastily and cast it first – and I used my dice. Little could I do to stop him afterwards.

The skellies attempt to block the Dragon Princes.

This is about the game – in the final turns, the Dragon Princes charge the skellies and grind them down over three close combat phases, and finally destroy the Ushabti.

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A warsphinx charges the last Swordmaster unit and takes it out.

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The archers ended the battle safely behind the tower.

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The High Elves also manage to fell the Titan and also a Priest miscasts himself into the warp.

*******
Curtains.
*******

The result actually was a draw with 60 points to the Undead. Not too bad after all. Especially after the boo-boos I did in terms of
a) target priority
b) dispelling
c) careful deployment.

The army list I like. While it is medium-soft it is also balanced. It scores roughly 13 in SWE comp and a lot has come from the last 100 points where the last archer unit takes me just above a penalty inducing number of bows. I have good amounts of shooting though – to take care of chaff and whittle down uncomfortably large units. The Loremaster is also a nice addition – a real multi tool. One issue would be the equipment of the Noble, as I have no protection against warmachines. But how much do I really need as I play against Orcs and Goblins, Dark Elves, Beastmen, Chaos, sometimes Ogres, sometimes Dwarves, sometimes Lizardmen. Those that want to kill him, still will do it no matter what little save he has? (So far he has had the Star Lance and a Enchanted Shield in 2400 points – now with more points I pimped him a bit.)

Thank you for reading! If you have any strategical remarks, or other C&C please leave a comment!

A thread to the post on Ulthuan.net, and any dialogue can be found here.

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