Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fantasy Bat Rep: 4,000 pts Dark Elves vs. Nurgle Chaos Warriors

On our last gaming weekend, we branched out a bit and played some Fantasy. Chris came down to join us and he's been getting into Fantasy rather than 40k, so we planned on playing a bit of both. Chris was my main gaming buddy growing up, and like me, he had dropped the hobby in college and for several years after.

Our local gaming store formerly had a "Big Ol' War" once a month for Fantasy, where anyone interested showed up with what they had, divided into two teams, and went at it. Considering none of us were too familiar with Fantasy rules, we were hoping to get some guidance. However, it had apparently stopped being a regular thing. Fortunately, Blake, the owner of the store, was willing to hang out and being our rules reference when needed.

Not having anyone else to play, the logical choice was to have Chris and Ron pair up with their Chaos Warriors against my Dark Elves. We'd planned on each bringing about 2,000 points, though I had plenty of Dark Elves, so getting up to 4,000 points wasn't too much trouble, I just had to come up with a list. Having never played, I took a combination of what I had and what I thought would be good, and came up with the below list:

Malus Darkblade (General)
Supreme Sorceress - Level 4, Book of Ashur, Lore of Shadows (Miasma, Steed of Shadows, Pit of Shades, MindRazor)
High Beastmaster - Iron Hard Skin, Helm of Discord
Master - BSB, Heavy Armor, Sea Dragon Cloak, Shield, Naggarythe Banner
Sorceress - Level 2, Dispell Scroll, Lore of Darkness (Arnizpal's Black Horror, Power of Darkness)
Sorceress - Level 2, Tome of Furion, Lore of Darkness (Word of Pain, Doombolt)
30 Witch Elves - Command, Razor Standard
20 Dreadspears - Command
15 Darkshards
15 Darkshards
38 Corsairs - Extra hand weapon, command
4 Bolt Throwers
25 Executioners - Command, Banner of Swiftness
10 Cold One Knights - Command, Ranger Standard
8 Doomfire Warlocks - Master

Ron's List:
Daemon Prince - Mark of Nurgle, Lvl 4, Wings, Soul Feeder, Scaled Skin, Glittering Scales
19 Warriors - MoN, additional hand weapon, full command
13 Warriors - MoN, shields, full command
10 Knights - MoN, ensorcelled weapons, full command, banner of swiftness

Chris's List:
Chaos Lord - MoN, Manticore, Scaled Skin, Shield, Glittering Scales, Talisman of Preservation, Halberd,
18 Warriors - MoN, additional hand weapon, standard, musician
18 Warriors - MoN, halberds, standard, musician
Gorebeast Chariot - MoN
Gorebeast Chariot - MoN
Chimera - Regenerating flesh
Chimera - Regenerating flesh

Chris set up the terrain in a mutually agreeable manner, since he was more familiar with how Fantasy battlefields should look (I would have put a central LOS blocker). We opted to use the entirety of the 8' board, and then rolled for deployment type and wound up with short table edges. I would start deployment first, and began with my bolt throwers on a hill. It was a little far forward in my deployment zone for my taste, and in hindsight I should have forgone it to line up as far back as possible and make the Chaos forces walk the full distance to get to me. Chris and Ron generally set up as far forward in their zone as possible, while I sat my units back about a foot or more from the front of my zone.

I finished deploying first, but rolled a 1 for first turn, so went second anyway. The Chaos army surged forward and the only effect on my army was a Helcannon shot that killed some Corsairs, but also destroyed the firing mechanism of the cannon, so it would be silent for the remainder of the game. In my first turn I shuffled my units around. With magic I managed to take out a Chimera with Pit of Shades. In shooting I targeted the warriors on my right flank and killed several, though the survivors did not care.

In the top of turn two the surviving Chimera charged my darkshards, who stood and fired, dealing a wound to the beast. The spearmen had two charges declared on them from Chris's general and Ron's knights, and chose to flee. Both redirected their charges, but were unable to make the distance. In combat, the manticore promptly wiped out the crossbowmen and overran into the Witch Elves.

In my turn, I declared a charge with my knights on the distant Chaos general on Manticore to clear a path for my executioners to charge the Chimera in the flank. Surprisingly, I made the charge on the general, and so the Cold Ones Knights and Malus slammed forward into the opposing general. The executioners also made their charge on the Chimera. In the magic phase, I cast Mindrazor on the Knights. Shooting killed four Chaos Knights. In combat, The executioners and witch elves largely wiffed and did little damage to the chimera. I accepted a challenge with my Malus and unleashed Tz'arkan, who promptly killed a fellow knight. The opposing general lost the combat and fled, with my knights in pursuit.

Turn 3 saw the Knights charge one of my Bolt Throwers. The Hellcannon charged the Cold Ones, and the Daemon Prince charged a bolt thrower. Meanwhile the warrior blocks and chariots continued their implacable advance. In combat, the knights and daemon prince unsurprisingly destroyed the Bolt Throwers they were fighting. The Prince overran into another bolt thrower while the Knights reformed to face the Corsairs. My Witches and Executioners managed to kill the Chimera. In the combat between the Cold One Knights and the Helcannon, I managed a couple wounds, but also killed one of my own knights again.

In the bottom of the turn, my Corsairs charged the Knights (I foolishly had left the High Sorceress and Battle Standard Bearers in the unit when I probably should have broken them off in the previous turn. I also declared a charge with my executioners on the knights, who had about-faced, but they failed the rather long charge. In the magic phase, Ron managed to dispel Mindrazor since I'd rolled pretty poorly on my power dice (something like a 3 and a 1). In combat, the Knights predictably beat up on the corsairs, though the knight champion failed to kill the Corsair champion in a challenge. I still won due to ranks and standards, but Ron held. In the combat with my knights, Tz'arkan killed another of my own, and I managed to take the cannon down to a single wound, but he passed several saves to keep it there and hold me in place.

From here on it gets a bit fuzzy, but to summarize, Malus and the knights kill off the helcannon and Chaos lord before getting run over by a block of warriors. The knights eventually roll over the corsairs and then spearmen, while the executioners fail a couple charges before getting charged by some chariots and the Daemon Prince who make short work of them. Toward the end of the game, the Warlocks make a rear charge on some warriors but fail to inflict a single wound before getting cut down. The beastmaster on Manticore similarly charges a unit eventually and while he kills a few, the beastmaster is quickly dragged down.

So in my first game of Fantasy, I predictably got trounced pretty well. I learned a good bit from the experience though, and saw some pretty glaring mistakes I made, both in list design and in overall execution.

I took a mix of things I liked and had, and saw most of them be pretty ineffective. The witch elves could have been better, but I got them well out of position. Same goes for the beast master; I think he would have been best served going after the hellcannon and then circling back. The executioners could be good with S6, but it would definitely be nice to still benefit from Always Strikes First with rerolling to hit like the rest of the army. I really didn't have many units that could adequately deal with tough infantry, so some Hydras would have been key.

As far as execution, I did have some poor luck, like in the magic phase, where I consistently rolled low on my second die, preventing me from casting more than one or two spells despite having four casters. I also rarely remembered the Lore attributes, which could have come in handy, if not made a big difference. I made several mistakes with positioning, and I allowed my army to get sucked forward into combat too soon. My only advantages were speed (which was nullified by deployment somewhat) and ranged attacks. By stepping up rather than deploying at the back of my zone, I lost a turn of shooting and also allowed the opposing army to stay rather cohesive. Over that long distance, if I'd been further back, I might have been able to draw out the fast movers, take care of them, then have time to face the footsloggers. A nice thought anyway.