Monday, August 15, 2016

Analysis in Defeat

Hi Sigmarites,
Today I'm going to do something a little different. I had my first game with the General's Handbook last weekend, and unfortunately it didn't go so well for the Shadowborn. If we'd played it out, pretty sure it would've seen the entire army wiped out to the last! And you know, after every defeat sometimes you get a bit mopey and negative about it (Sorry Colin!), but then you've got to look at what you did and what you can improve upon next time.

So let's break down where it all went wrong!

Perhaps the first place to start is the place before the battle even begins: List Building. Let's take a quick look at the two lists.
Chaos Lord
Chaos Sorcerer Lord
10 Chaos Warriors with Hand Weapons and Shield
10 Chaos Warriors with 2 Hand Weapons
20 Gors with Hand Weapon and Shield
10 Chaos Chosen
5 Chaos Knights with Chaos Glaives
5 Marauder Horsemen with Javelins
1 Chaos Warshrine
1 Chaos Gargant
2000 Points, 65 models, 144 Wounds, 11 units

Stormcast Eternals
Lord Celestant
Knight Venator
5 Liberators
5 Liberators
5 Liberators
5 Judicators with Crossbows
5 Retributors
5 Protectors
3 Prosecutors
2 Concussors
1960 points, 39 models, 109 wounds, 12 units

So at a glance, looks like the Chaos outnumber the Stormcast but the wound count is in the same ball park. However, if we look at a bit deeper the truth starts to become a bit clearer.

Lets first look at the major threats.
The Stormcast have the Celestant Prime, the Retributors and the Concussors as some units that can deal some pretty hefty damage. The Lord-Celestant also buffs a large portion of the army with his command ability.. On the Shadowborn side, there's Be'Lakor, the Chaos Chosen and the Chaos Gargant. So all in all, it's somewhat equal on the major threats but probably in favour to the Stormcast due to having a useful command ability. If we turn to minor threats, Stormcast have a Knight Venator, Heraldor, Lord-C and 5 Protectors. On the Shadowborn side however, there's only really the Chaos Lord and 5 Chaos Knights. A character without many attacks and Knights that while tanky, don't tend to put out a huge amount of damage especially if not charging. I'd say his minor threats which can deal damage from afar and always rending outweight the Shadowborn's, and hence the Stormcast army has a lot more threats to it.

Next let's take a look at what answers each army might have to the threats.
The Stormcast have beatsticks all around, where there threats are also answers to a lot of things. The Venator can deal wounds from afar. Likewise the Celestant-Prime (once arrived), Heraldor and Concussors can all deal some mortal wounds at a range. However, it becomes very clear on the Shadowborn side that I don't have a lot of answers from afar, as I can only rely on either Be'lakor or the Chaos Sorcerer Lord to cast an Arcane Bolt. It's not ideal to rely on melee as an answer, as unless you can fly you can't easily make it into the backline to deal with key targets. So there's a lot hinging on Be'lakor to go in and deal with things as he can both fly and cast magic.

So from purely the list side of things, the Stormcast seem to have quite the edge. Not only do they have about the same amount of mobility, but they also have shooting to help things out and put pressure on from afar.
All the Shadowborn can do is surge forwards
But hey, list building is one thing, and game play is another. And I made plenty of mistakes I should reflect on in the game. What was a Major Victory for my opponent could've easily been reduced to a Minor Victory if I'd played smarter, perhaps even a Draw. So lets get started.

Unfortunately both my opponent and I have approximately the same number of deployment drops even if I have the numbers advantage. I should've placed by Warriors with shields in the centre rather than the ones with additional hand weapons. It would've made it a lot easier to re-act to where the mortal wounds were. Also, I didn't really think out my game plan too well. Why did I put all my infantry to one side when the Gors were going to go up and tie up one side most the game anyway? I spent like 2 turns redeploying my Warriors and Chosen when my right flank started to crumble.
I think next time I have to get a better game plan in my head, and perhaps the deployment will got a bit more reasonably.

Marauder Horsemen chaff
My Marauder Horsemen always seem to run up and die. No different this game. Sometimes they manage to do something, but it's not when I'm using them as a roadblock for my Knights. I think in future if they stay in the list, I need to use them more smartly as I can get cheaper roadblocks for 100 points.
Marauder Horsemen about to be wiped from existence by 2 Concussors
Chosen model removal
My Chosen were obliterated by the Celestant Prime as he struck the field from the celestial realm. He managed to kill 7 of them with his attacks, and the rest ended up running from battleshock (Even worse, we forgot the Celestant Prime reduces their bravery by 2 as well). I removed them in a points protecting way, protect the command near the back to retreat them away for later. However, in hindsight (and knowing they would've been goners anyway), I should've kept the guys closer to the Celestant-Prime to at least attempt to deal some damage to him.
Unsuspecting Chosen about to be obliterating by divine justice
This was probably the turning point in the game, as basically one of my major threats in the game was sent packing to the dead collection without inflicting a single wound. To kick a man while he's down, next turn Be'lakor charged the Prime and reduced to him to a single wound before the Celestant-Prime slew my Chaos Lord.
Chaos double teaming the Celestant-Prime, will he even sweat?
Should I have even charged both the Chaos Lord and Be'Lakor in?
Just now it occurs to me, probably it was a mistake to charge the Chaos Lord in. At the time, I thought it made sense for redundancy, send both my big hitters in to make sure the Celestant-Prime was destroyed. Unfortunately, I had failed to cast Mystic Shield that turn on Be'Lakor so thought it made sense to make sure I finished the job.
Of course, what happened was Be'Lakor didn't quite kill the Celestant-Prime who in turn slaughtered the Chaos Lord with Ghal Maraz. I think the better move was likely to keep the Chaos Lord out OR charge the Warshrine in as well. I think more sensibly it's to have faith in Be'Lakor's save (Which later of course, is shown to be stupid. Chaos and faith don't go together!) but a third unit in combat with the Celestant Prime would've added another layer of redundancy as it's unlikely he slays both of the remaining 2 units after Be'Lakor attacks.

Chaos Gargant did squat
The other problem in the game was the Gargant didn't do anything. This is partly due to not leaving enough room when the Gors went in to get the Gargant in as well, as he essentially had to spend another turn to get around the side (and of course, then fell over on his subsequent charge roll). However, with a melee heavy army I can't have the Gargant do nothing all game. He had 4 wounds taken off as well by the Knight Venator which slowed him down a bit.

Lack of clear game plan
As mentioned earlier, I didn't really have a huge game plan. I wanted to contest both objectives, which split my hitters a bit. I think maybe it would've made more sense to keep my tankier units on my home objective, and try to sweep one side of the board. Hindsight is 20-20, and it was my first game so it's something interesting for next time.

So where does that leave the Shadowborn. The new list I've been toying around with over the past day is as follows:
Chaos Lord
Chaos Sorcerer Lord
10 Chaos Warriors with Hand Weapons and Shield
10 Marauders Hand weapons and Shield
10 Marauders Hand weapons and Shield
5 Chaos Knights
3 Jezzails
3 Jezzails
Chaos Gargant

So some quick reasoning on the changes
-10 Chaos Warriors with Additional Hand Weapons
-20 Gors with Hand Weapons and Shield
+10 Marauders with Hand weapons and Shield
+10 Marauders with Hand weapons and Shield
The Gors were just filler as I don't have any other battle line units available for my list at the moment. The Warriors have just been lacklustre whenever I've used them, and being forced into units of 10 is forcing me to spend quite a few points on battleline units. In the list at the top of the article, I end up spending 520 points on battleline units, while in this list I only spend 300 points. That's an extra 220 points to play around with.

-5 Marauder Horsemen
While I'm not sure if these will make it back into the list or not, they're the first thing I'm cutting as at the moment I haven't felt a need for what they provide. I'm sure to get more games in before I end up at the list above, so these might make some more appearances and change my mind.

-1 Chaos Warshrine
The warshrine is incredibly lacklustre in combat, and the aura of protection I'm not sure I'd notice if it wasn't there. The shrine effect isn't too bad though, as essentially with that and a Chaos Sorcerer Lord, I can get 2 units re-rolling 1's to hit, wound and save. As it is, 200 points is a big investment though and I think it can be invested better elsewhere.

+3 Warplock Jezzails
+3 Warplock Jezzails
These guys I've been thinking about for a while to add some long ranged threat into my army. They fit the theme I have in my head for the army, I've just been holding off as I haven't been able to find models at a good price. Think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and convert them.

This monster adds another threat to the army. It gives a bit of everything, a ranged mortal wound attack, some decent attacks with the various heads, and it flies and is fast to boot. This might alleviate the stress on Be'Lakor to perform, as it's a model that can tag-team with him to put a fast moving flying threat out there. That, and I already own the model.

So that's about it. The new list probably won't take shape until later this year (and who knows, may never eventuate as the hobby mojo has already started to wander onto new armies). But these are the thoughts I've jotted down after my defeat, and hopefully, I'll play a bit better in the next game.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Southern Escalation Wrap-up

Hi all,
Long time no post. Unfortunately I've been pretty busy the last two months. Still been playing in the campaign, and doing a bit of painting on the side. I've got a battle report to post for June at some point (as long as I can remember enough of what went on to write it), and 2 weeks ago we had the conclusion of the Southern Escalation campaign.

The campaign concluded with 6 people duking it out in a 3 on 3 mega battle. Those interested in the particular rules of the battle plan can read it here, but the short of it is: An Orruk mage with the last idol powered himself up, and was basically the objective of the two sides fighting to kill the Orruk and claim back the last Idol.
The forces of Order face off against the combined might of Chaos, Death and some Dark Aelves
As it so happened, nothing ever quite turns out how you'd expect. The goal was that the team who did the most damage to him would win. By default, the Orruk Shaman (Known as Udermadd) has a 3+ re-rollable save that ignores rend and a 4+ save against mortal wounds. Pretty tough, and with 20 wounds to boot. If you held more of the objectives than your opponent, he would lose some of his toughness (first the re-rolls, then the ignoring rend, and finally the ward save). As it turns out, a 3+ re-rollable save isn't actually that tough, and since he starts in the middle of the board, he is easily chargeable on the first turn as well.
So what ended up happening, is that Order won the first turn, and immediately while moving up a bit, dealt 10 wounds to Udermadd, narrowly not winning on the first turn before Chaos even got a chance to go. In return, the Chaos forces focussed their entire attention on Udermadd as well, and the Chaos Gargant with a swing of his club managed to equalise by dealing the last wound.
All the monsters beating on the poor Orruk
So at the bottom of turn 1, the game was a draw and we hadn't even hit lunch time yet! Not the way I planned the mega battle to go out! So after a bit of discussion, we all decided we'll just keep track of how many wounds each side does to the Orruk, and at the end of fourth turn, the side that did the most wounds would claim the death of the Orruk and would win the battle.
At the end of the battle, the forces of Chaos were largely diminished but the arcane firepower of their mages was enough to win the day. Not quite how I was expecting the game to play out, but everyone had a bunch of fun and was a great way to conclude the campaign.
The Orruk teleports out of the action, and the game ends
So that concludes the campaign. It was a great run, and we created a great little community of Age of Sigmar players down at the club. In the end, the campaign ticked all the boxes I had going into it. In fact, all my New Years Resolutions for running the campaign. I didn't quite tick all my boxes for my Slaves to Darkness warband. I didn't manage to write nearly as many articles as I wanted, and my entire force isn't quite painted (Be'Lakor, Chaos Warshrine, 5 Chosen and Lord on Daemonic Mount unfinished). Still, it was a good run, and it got me the majority of my stuff painted, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to run the campaign.

Anyway, that's that. What's next for Age of Sigmar at the club? Well, the Generals Handbook has just dropped (Another good reason that it was the right time to end the campaign so we can shift from community points to GW points). Another guy is pretty keen to organise and run something based on that. What it turns out as is still in discussion. Later on in the year, there's been talk about holding an Age of Sigmar tournament as well. Plenty more to look forward to in future!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clashes against the Seraphon

Hi all,
So last campaign day we had a new player participate in the campaign. He hadn't played any Age of Sigmar before, but was keen to give it a shot and had certainly done his homework, asking all the right questions about how we played Age of Sigmar at the club. During the time available, we ended up playing 2 games back to back (As people had to take off, so weren't able to swap opponents for the second game). So here's two battle reports of my Chaos versus Seraphon.

The Armies
We are playing 15 pool points deployed this month, so I'll only list the stuff that was actually used in the game.

The Shadowborn
Chaos Lord - Zagul Darkbsoul
10 Chaos Warriors
10 Chaos Chosen
5 Marauder Horsemen
5 Chaos Knights
Chaos Gargant
Chaos Warshrine

Slann Starmaster
Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur
40 Saurus Warriors
Stegadon with Giant Bow
Bastiladon with Solar Engine

Very different to the lists everyone else is running. We haven't seen unit really any bigger than 10-15 models at the club so far, so 40 Saurus in one unit is a lot! Especially with their bravery of 10, and the ability to make them immune to battleshock.

The Scenario
To keep things simple, we didn't end up using the Night Rules and we just played the second scenario - Capture and Control - from the campaign pack. This is a very simple scenario that deals with controlling a few objectives to win the game.

The Battle
Both armies, Chaos and Seraphon arrived on the battleground. The dark sponsor of the Shadowborn, Be'Lakor had revealed himself, and the Seraphon Starmaster sensed a sinister purpose and personally led the Seraphon on the field.
The armies lined up, Be'Lakor hidden behind the bulk of the Warshrine
However, dark clouds invaded the Slann's mind, as he couldn't manage to manipulate the constellations while his mind was befuddled. Still, the Seraphon host marched forwards, with the Skinks crewing the Stegadon launching a volley of bolts at the Marauder Horsemen.
3 Marauder Horsemen felled from afar
Even with their dark master on the field, the Marauder Horsemen lose their nerve and the remainder flee the battle.
Alive, but will need to face their masters wrath for fleeing the field
The Shadowborn marched up the field post haste, looking to engage into the Seraphon. The Dark Master taking up cover behind the rocks in the middle of the battlefield.
The shadowborn take up position to launch an Assault
The shadowborn win the initiative, and surge forwards towards the Seraphon position, hoping an early assault will leave them unprepared. Be'Lakor bolsters the power of the Chosen, while also Enfeebling the large group of Saurus Warriors swarming the objective.
However, things fell apart for the Shadowborn quite swiftly. Miscommunication in the lines, led to stalled charges from the Chaos Knights and Chaos Chosen. However, Be'Lakor and the Chaos Gargant leapt into the frey and punished for their lone assaults. Be'Lakor's hide pierced by the swarm of Saurus spears, while the Gargant is unable to make much progress and gets battered by the twin monsters of the Seraphon.
Punished for their charges, both Be'Lakor and the Gargant are vastly outnumbered
The Seraphon swiftly mobilised their remaining forces, the Starmaster summoned a Saurus Oldblood from his memories to bolster the nearby Saurus. The Stegadon and Bastiladon easily having the Gargant in check, the Scar-Veteran makes his charge into the Chaos Knights. Things were quite swiftly unravelling for the Dark Master's plans, as both he and the Gargant fall to the savagery of the Seraphon.
The Gargant falls in the wrong direction
The Shadowborn have one last chance to make something happen in the battle. Unfortunately the dark gods must have been looking elsewhere, as the Shrinemaster's prayers go unanswered and the Chosen would need to kill on their merits alone.
The beginning of the end
The Chosen charge in, but wanting to try and take out the wounded Stegadon, they spread their numbers between the Stegadon, Bastiladon and the Saurus Warriors. Zagul himselves launches into the combat as well, hoping to make the difference while the Chaos War Shrine went to aid the beleaguered Chaos Knights. However, it just was not looking great for the Shadowborn. The Chosen are unable to slay the Stegadon, and while putting some damage on the monsters and Saurus, their focus is split.
The damage just doesn't show against the Seraphon host
And finally, the toll of the horde of angry Saurus Warriors takes it's toll. The Chosen are unable to slay any of the Beasts, and while Zagul tries to unleash his Reaperblade, he manages to miss and is slain in response. The only surviving members of the battle being the Warshrine and the Chaos Warriors holding the home objective.
The Chaos forces destroyed by the Seraphon
Closing Thoughts
Obviously, neither of us really played the scenario, and that's fine for a first game or two. So we'll put aside that. My forces got punished hard, I set up for some average rolls to get in my entire army, and I should've just pulled back when the Chosen failed and let the enemy come to me. Sending in Be'Lakor and the Gargant alone was just asking for them to die, and was a stupid call. Especially Be'Lakor into the Saurus, as it's really not where you want him at all (Given he ignores Rend, and Saurus are just going to use their vast number of attacks to get through his save). So with those thoughts in mind, off we go into the second game.

Game 2
So we moved the terrain around a bit, changed up our lists and decided to go again. Here are the revised armies for the second game.

The Shadowborn
Chaos Lord - Zagul Darksoul
Chaos Sorcerer Lord  - Argrar Darkblood
Chaos Sorcerer Lord
10 Chaos Warriors
10 Chaos Chosen
5 Marauder Horsemen
5 Chaos Knights
5 Chaos Chosen

Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur
Saurud Oldblood
40 Saurus Warriors
3 Kroxigors

The Battle
Once again, the forces of the Shadowborn would clash with the Seraphon. They had remustered their armies under their Dark Master and would launch the assault while the Slann Starmaster was busy elsewhere. It was left to the Saurus Lord on the Carnosaur to lead the battle.
The armies deployed to fight again
The Shadowborn were given the initiative in the battle, and moved up cautiously to the chokepoints. The spellcasters casting protective enchantments and foresight to the other members in the army. The Seraphon in this game were even more eager to face their enemies, with the monsters in the army surging forwards while the centre moved forwards at a more cautious pace.
With the combined might of the Troglodon, Carnousaur and Kroxigors, the Marauder Horsemen were slain and removed from the battle.
The Horsemen are vastly outclassed
With the Horsemen destroyed, the Beasts were more than happy to do the same thing to the Chaos Knights. The Kroxigor however, went to tackle the Chosen in the centre of the field while the Bastiladon blasted 3 Chosen with it's Solar Engine.
While the Saurus cautiously move up, the Bastiladon turns 3 Chosen to ash
While the Kroxigor and Chosen battered at each other, the combined might of both the Troglodon and the Carnosaur were able to destroy the Chaos Knights while taking some damage in return.
The Knights wiped out, but what plans does the Dark Master have...
It was time for the Dark Master to strike. Casting dark enchantments to toughen his hide, Be'Lakor also sent a bolt of dark energy at the Carnosaur to weaken it in battle. Agrar Darkblood further enhanced Be'Lakor's daemonic prowess by casting Daemonic Power upon his master. To the centre, the Chosen were bolstered with a Mystic Shield and Oracular Visions, and with their lord nearby were Inspired not to run from the battle.
In combat, the Kroxigors took a brutal beating from the Chosen and Lord, decimating their numbers while returning almost no damage in return.
The Kroxigor are not much longer for this world
To the west of the battlefield, Be'Lakor's enhanced strength let his Sword of Shadows rip through the Carnosaurs hide. The Carnosaur and Trogolodon were battered by the combined assault of the Dark Lord and his Chosen.
Both monsters battled by the Shadowborn elite
Now the Seraphon were on the back foot in this battle, and they needed to make something happen. It was now time for the might of the Saurus Warriors, as they launched their assault on the Chosen. However, even surrounding the Chosen, they could not manage to pierce through the dark enchantments the Sorcerers had laid on them
Unable to pierce the Chosen's armour, the Saurus may have picked the wrong fight
Additionally to the west, the Seraphon general was bought low by Be'Lakor while the Troglodon was feeling the effects of its wounds, not even able to get through the Chosen's armour.
The Seraphon general falls
And ultimately, with the Seraphon general gone, the Shadowborn collapsed on the Saurus Warriors in the centre of the field. Even the Chaos Warriors, having been defending their objective all game launched themself into the fight. Without their General and facing the might of Chaos, the Saurus Warriors were cut through while the Troglodon fell. The remainder of the Seraphon faded back into the memories they were, the Dark Master having got his revenge for the prior game.
Be'Lakor remains victorious
Closing Thoughts
So again, objectives not really an objective, lets ignore them! Or we'll talk about them briefly. I think the lesson learnt here is that, in tournament games, having plainer scenarios with somewhat plain objectives is probably fine. They lead to more balance games. But I think perhaps, to get people more involved, you need more interesting objectives for the players. Without an engaging story, it's hard to just say "Sit on these objectives and try and claim your opponents", doesn't make for a very interesting battle story. Perhaps the armies were slightly too small as well, and not able to have a force that engages while also having enough units to defend the home ground. Probably also doesn't help that most of us are running fairly elite armies.

Anyway, that's more than what I thought I'd say on that, back to the game. So turns out that Be'Lakor is pretty good! Especially if you buff him. Daemonic Power is not a spell I've really used that much, for single sorcerer's it's usually always been better to cast Mystic Shield. The only times I've cast it before I think were on Chosen and a Chaos Gargant. Both times it's worked out really well, but I do find it's a spell that you use at the right time right place, not something you really cast all the time. Be'Lakor is right time right place, as it makes him extremely tanky and able to dish out damage with his attacks. Coupled with a Mystic shield, and it's back to the days of 3++ and re-rolling 1's.

Perhaps Be'Lakor caught my opponent off guard, since he performed pretty poorly in the prior game. This game he just chopped through the Carnosaur when he was able to choose the better fight. Also the Troglodon really didn't impress, the lack of rend really kills it's potential. I get the feeling my opponent thought the two of them should be able to sweep the left side of the board while the rest of his army mustered in the centre. As it turned out, neither really happened. 40 Saurus sounds awesome, but they really didn't do too much once I buffed my Chosen up a bit with Mystic Shield and the Oracular Visions.

I guess probably the most important thing was that the lists were probably better/worse in the 2nd game. I had more utility by having the Chaos Sorcerers, while my opponent lacked it without his Slann Starmaster.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Southern Escalation - Dual Assault

Hi guys,
So last Sunday was our monthly campaign day for the Southern Escalation league. This coincided with tournament day due to our regular weekend being mothers day. With the tournament of the month being 40k, the place was packed out! Great to see a lot of hobbying going on in one spot, even if it meant the room was a bit tight.

This campaign day we were running a new set of Battleplans like always. This month had 2 battle plans which I'll talk about in more detail. You can find the pack at the following link.

First battle plan of the month was Breakthrough. Taken straight from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar : Mighty Battles in an Unending War book. The only difference though, was that the game would be fought at night. And with that, the problems began. With something that originally I thought to tame shooting with a bit (low visibility and all), it ended up taming charging as well. Of course I luckily backed out of taming running at the same time, but the damage was done. The night fighting rules promoted a stand off for at least one turn, which only aided the Blocking Force. Just as unfortunate was the fact Doom and Darkness ended up bringing some Screaming Skull Catapults, which of course, with low visibility and mobility were not the best type of unit for this scenario.
A long way for those Catapults to go
Luckily it didn't seem to ruin the fun and enjoyment of the players, and you can see Doom and Darkness' Battle Report on his Youtube Channel.

The other Battle plan was one I wrote up fairly quickly, after being almost a week late to post up the Campaign Day rules. This one was tricky, as with the story, I wanted some diversion games where the enemies of Order were luring armies away from the main objective, and the ones who would go in to steal away the Artefacts from Order (the previous battleplan, Breakthrough). In the end, since I was so busy I didn't get a lot of time to think about it, so just had a very basic battle plan about controlling 4 objectives on the battlefield (to represent settlements, etc that the forces were fighting over). Since the game was very mundane, not much went wrong here.
Stormcast and Aelves fight over the buildings (there's a tower bottom centre)

Lastly, we got two new players to the campaign. Andrei had been to a campaign day before, but hadn't bought his miniatures that time but finally we got to see his Aelven Exiles in action. His army was completely painted (earning him extra points) and look amazing on the tabletop.
Aelven Exiles defending against the Stormcast Eternals
The other new player was Paul, who bought along his Seraphon collection. He reached out to me on Facebook about a week before the event, interested in coming down and seeing what the game was like. He hadn't played the game before, but was very quick to ask the right questions about the points system we were using, and the house rules we had in play. Was great to have Paul come along and play, and hopefully he'll be a regular in future.
Seraphon wipe out my Chaos force
And that's the campaign day over for this month. In terms of leaderboard, I have a slight lead but haven't added the painting bonus for painting models throughout the campaign. I reckon once we include that, Ben's Stormcast will dash ahead as I've been a bit slack on getting models painted the last month and a half.
In terms of the campaign, at the moment (due to being particularly busy in life) I am thinking of wrapping up the Escalation part of the campaign next month. I have at least one more battle I want to put into the story, and it's a matter of whether I want to push it for 1 or 2 more months more. By that time, GW points will likely be out and be the new rage, so it would likely be a good time to call the Escalation League to a close and let the group sort out what they want to do for the next half of the year or so. We'll have to see how things go over the next month.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Shadowborn vs Stormcast - Heralds of the Storm

Back with another battle report today. One of the members of the Escalation Campaign was up for a game, and with the club open early due to a tournament for another game, we were able to get to an early start.
We agreed the night before to play the Heralds of the Storm scenario from the South Coast GT Battleplan Pack. This scenario has the players vying for control of 4 objectives, whoever has the most will be able to push the storm into their opponents territory to win the game. We weren't using the SCGT points/comp pack though, we were sticking with the Clash Comp pool points we've been using to date.

So lets get on with the report.
The Armies
We ended up playing with 16 deployed points each. The next month will be 15 points with 5 in reserve, but my opponent Colin accidentally put down 16. So I just replaced my last deploy (a Chaos Spawn), with a group of 5 more Chosen.

The Shadowborn
Chaos Lord - Zagul Darksoul
Chaos Sorcerer Lord - Argrar Darkblood
Chaos Sorcerer Lord
10 Chaos Warriors with Hand Weapon and Runeshields
10 Chaos Chosen
5 Chaos Chosen
5 Chaos Knights with Glaives
5 Marauder Horsemen with Javelins and Shields
Chaos Gargant
Chaos Warshrine

Stormcast Eternals
Lord Celestant on Dracoth
Lord Celestant
5 Liberators with Warhammers
5 Judicators with Boltstorm Crossbows (and Thunderbolt Crossbow)
5 Retributors
5 Protectors
2 Concussors

The Battlefield
The battlefield
As we can see, we've got 4 objective markers that we'll need to contest (The 4 obelisks and the hut). We decided for the purpose of the Knight-Heraldor, considering that these could be represented as markers that they would not be eligible terrain for the Heraldor to use his Trumpet on. There was plenty of other terrain he'd be able to toot his horn at anyway.

The Battle
The two armies had arrived to the field, a magical storm in the brewing would not stop these forces from engaging. Chaos vs Order, these two armies would stop at nothing to tear each other limb from limb. Quickly Zagul and Argrar conversed and agreed, the storm must be controlled to support the troops on the battle. The order was sent to the two Magi to control the obelisks that could control the storm at all costs. The elite of the Shadowborn were tasked with holding the Northern Obelisk, while the foot troops bolstered by the Chaos Warshrine were tasked with holding the Southern Obelisk, while also to seek out and destroy the Stormcast nearby.
The two armies arrayed on the field of battle
While the Stormcast arrived earlier to the battle, their patience shows through as the Lord Celestant orders his men to hold fast and let the Chaos come to them. And that is what the Chaos forces intend, as the Southern forces march forwards. The Magi casts their spells to bolster the defenses of the two Chosen groups, and the foot troops storm forwards. On the Northern front the elite are more cautious, happy to stay well away from the Dracoth's and hold onto the obelisk.
The Chaos forces march forwards
While the Chaos march forwards to the Stormcast line, the Stormcast are more orderly and less eager to get to grips with the enemy. The lines move slightly to better positions, but for the most part are happy to put a defensive line up in front of both Obelisks controlling the storm.
The Stormcast move position slightly
Then the Stormcast volley is unleashed. The Knight-Venator is ordered to take out his star-fated arrow to take out the Warshrine, and the shot is on target and deals a huge blow to the Warshrine helped by his faithful star-eagle raking at the Chaos Ogors as they hold the Shrine above.
The star-fated arrow deals a substantial blow to the Warshrine
After the shot, the Stormcast again seize the initiative and again are happy to just slightly re-adjust their lines to move into better positions.
The Judicators take place behind the Liberators
The Stormcast at the Southern Obelisk are now in position
This time however, with the Stormcast leaders in position, their shooting can be bought into full force. Not only the Knight-Venator, but the Heraldor's trumpet causes rubble to crash into the oncoming Chaos horde as well as the Lord Celestant throwing in his magical hammers.
The shrine is badly crippled by the shooting while the other units take some minor damage
The Chaos forces can do nothing but surge forward to engage the enemy. The Shrine master, obviously started by the heavy damage the Shrine had taken failed his prayer to the Chaos Gods and could not bless the Chosen. Nearing the enemy lines, Argrar takes the opportunity to reduce one of the Retributors to ashes with an Arcane bolt, while the Marauder Horsemen's javelins find weakness in the Retributor armour and fell another.
Two retributors fall to a surprisingly effective magic and shooting phase by the Chaos
Yet again, the Stormcast were able to seize the initiative. While the northern flank was a standoff, the southern flank prepared for the Chaos forces enroute. The warshrine was finally toppled by the Knight-Heraldor, while Zagul Darkblood strode to close to the terrain and was blasted by the Heraldor's trumpet.
The Warshrine falls
 Still, the Stormcast would not engage the Chaos forces. Happy to stay back to protect the Obelisk. Enraged that the enemy had destroyed their Shrine, the Chaos forces were more than happy to oblige. Additionally, the Lord Celestant on the Northern flank along with his Concussors had finally come forwards somewhat complacently. The small group of Chaos Chosen towards the centre found themselves blessed with Daemonic Power coursing through their veins by the Sorcerer Lord to the North, ordered to take a suicide mission to take out the Lord Celestant.
First though, the Marauder Horsemen were again able to soften up the Retributors before the lines met, another slain by the Javelins of the Horsemen.
Marauder javelins, surprisingly effective
With the Javelins thrown, the Chaos forces enage the Stormcast. Both Warriors and Chosen charge in to engage the Stormcast elite, but a poor charge by the Chosen means they cannot bring their full numbers to bear. The small group of Chosen however, with the pent up Daemonic power urging them onwards surround the Lord Celestant towards the centre.
Chaos engage the Stormcast on their ground
The Chosen launched their attack on the Lord Celestant on Dracoth, their Chaos Glaives raking through the Dracoth's scales and Celestants armour, their muscles bulging with Daemonic energy. However, it was not enough! The Celestant had barely survived, and in return the fury of the Dracoth's was fierce. 4 Chosen were slain instantly while the last survivor fled the battlefield.
The lone surviving Chosen flees the field while the Lord Celestant is lucky to have survived
On the southern side of the battlefield, the Warriors and Chosen were getting more resistance than expected. 2 Warriors are slain by the 2 remaining Retributors, while the Chosen can only manage to slay one Protector. Obviously not too impressed by their Chosen brethren, the Warriors are unable to leave a mark on the Stormcast warriors.
The scrum over the Obelisk
Yet again, the Stormcast remain on the initiative. The Lord Celestant is able to escape, while the Concussors leap forwards on their Dracoths, spitting lightning at the Marauder Horsemen to instantly fry one and burn another.
The Marauder Horsemen are battered by lightning, and not looking forwards to the inevitable charge
Additionally to that, Argrar Darkblood had moved to far forwards and into the range of the Knight-Venator. With lightning arrow and sky-eagle claws, he was battered from afar by the Venator.
The Sorcerer-Lord is battered by Stormcast shooting
In the scrum, neither side was able to make much progress. Another Retributor falls while the Chaos Warriors and Chosen are battered further. The Horsemen though are shattered as the Dracoth's crash into their line, with the sole survivor a wounded banner bearer.
3 More Horsemen fall, while the Banner Bearer just holds on
With the Southern forces in danger of being broken through, the Chaos forces in the north mobilise into action. The Knights and Gargant surge forwards, the Gargant blessed with Daemonic Power from the Sorcerer Lord to the North. The Warriors in the South are tasked with stalling the Dracoths from engaging the wounded characters while the characters retreat back to the far side of the Obelisk.
The Chaos forces to the South in retreat, while the ones in the North go on the offensive
To the North, the Gargant goes first, swiping at the Judicators with his masonry taking out two with huge swipes while Eadbutting 3 of the Liberators in one blow!
The Gargant deals massive damage to the Stormcast infantry
To the South, the Chosen are finally able to finish off the Retributors but cannot bring their numbers to bear against the Protectors.
The last Retributor falls
The Knights swing in their Glaives, felling the remaining Liberators but unfortunately cannot deal any additional damage to the Judicators.
The liberators are destroyed by the Chaos charge
Lastly to no surprise, the remaining Horseman is wiped out by the Dracoths.
The last Horsemen is destroyed by the Dracoths
At long last the Chaos was given the initiative, but this was all to the plan of the Lord Celestant. Eager to keep the Chaos to the north engaged so they could not move after the Lord Celestant on Dracoth. Never the less, seeing the danger the other Dracoth's posed, the Chaos Gargant retreats from the combat to block off the route they might take to the north. The two characters on the Southern Obelisk retreat behind it for cover from the shooting, while the Warriors block the Dracoth's easy path through the rocks. The Chosen are able to fell 2 Protectors in combat, but their numbers are starting to be thinned by the retaliation.
The end of the final Chaos turn, time to see if the Stormcast can pull out a win
In the Stormcast turn, the Dracoths attempt to move the long path to the two Chaos characters. The Knight-Venator surged forwards on his wings, but could not shoot his bow and instead chose to charge into the Chosen. The two Dracoth's spit lightning and fry Agrar Darkblood to the ground, but instead turn to the north to face the Gargant rather than go after the long distant Zagul darkblood.
The Dracoth's easily bring down the Gargant with a combination of their Hammers and Dracoth claws and fangs, the Gargants tough hide no match for lightning forged weaponry.
The Giant falls near the Obelisk
The Chaos Knights to the north are able to crush the last of the Judicators.
The Glaives punch through the Stormcast armour
And the Chosen are battered and broken, but he Standard Bearer stands tall even while surrounded by the Stormcast.
Only the Standard Bearer remains
With both sides battered but not broken, and the storm about to reach it's peak, both sides retreat, neither side winning the day.
The final shot
The Aftermath
So both of us made plenty of mistakes that game. I made some mismeasuring with my Chaos Lord that got him pumped full of mortal wounds around the mid-game which made the game a lot closer than it could've been (Going into the opponents turn 5, both my characters to the South only had a single wound remaining). A lot hinged on me not winning the initiative after my Chosen almost chunked the Lord Celestant. A won initiative likely would've led to the demise of the Celestant, as the Marauder Horsemen could easily swoop in with their Javelins. Unfortunately I lost it, and with no long ranged weaponry he was out of my reach and therefore my chances of winning.
I had one last chance if I had won the initiative roll in the last round, I could've given my opponent the initiative, clean up the Judicators and have the Knights go after him but it was not to be. That being said, with my characters closer to the Dracoths it might've led to both of mine on the South being destroyed.
My character positioning on those guys wasn't the greatest, which led to some excess wounds which I should really be more aware of when my opponent has long ranged shooting (Think overall, they took a few from the Heraldor, a few from the Venator, and perhaps a few from the Celestants flying hammers).

It was only my second time playing against Stormcast, and first against some of the elements in his army, so definitely an interesting and learning experience.

Overall though, it was a good fun scenario and definitely interesting. We played that if the storm didn't move, then it didn't do damage. Not sure if that's how it's meant to be played, but that's what we did. Definitely a cool way to make objectives interesting.