Only two days, after my first 9th Age match, the second battle took place. This time we played on UK’s living room table. Wie played with the latest available 9th Age rules, which meant 0.9.1 for the rules, 0.9.4 for WoG and 0.9.2 for DE. 2000 Points was the limit we agreed on.
- High Sorceress, Level 4, Path of Alchemy, Dispel Scroll, Charm of Cursed Iron
- Dark Master, Fleet Commander, Ring of Darkness, Blood Armour, Halberd, Repeater Crossbow
- Dark Master, Fleet Commander, Battle Standard Bearer, Hardened Shield, Kingslayer, Lucky Charm
- Shadow Assassin, Nightshade Venom
- 5x Shadow Riders, Repeater Crossbows, Shields
- 16x Dark Repeaters, Shields, Champion, Musician
- 13x Blood Maidens, Champion
- Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot
- Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot
- Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot
- 7x Shadow Stalkers, Great Weapons, Poison
- 7x Dark Art Apprentices, Poison Darts, Champion
- 3x Medusa, Champion
This time I wanted to try some of the new stuff, which I didn’t get the chance to try out in the first game. So I added the Dark Art Apprentices, the Medusa and the Shadow Assassin. I also opted to Alchemy instead of Black Magic to see, how the changed anti armour magic would fare.
- Chosen Lord, Bluffer’s Helm, Dusk Stone, Halberd, Wastehardened Skin, Mark of Pestilence
- Chosen Sorceror, Level 3, Path of Disease, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Supreme Shielding
- Chosen Champion, Battle Standard Bearer, Dragon Mantle, Halberd, Shield, Mark of Pestilence
- 5x Warhounds, Vanguard
- Wasteborn Chariot, Barding, Mark of Pestilence
- 15x Warriors, Additional Hand Weapons, Shields, Full Command, Mark of Pestilence
- 21x Warriors, Additional Hand Weapons, Shields, Full Command, Mark of Pestilence
- 5x Wasteborn Fallen, Mark of Pestilence
- 5x Wasteborn Fallen, Mark of Pestilence
- Maulerbeast Chariot, Mark of Pestilence
- Warp Scream Cannon
Terrain, Magic and Army Setup
We agreed on using a small amount of terrain. Four hills were already present in the corners, so we placed only four additional pieces. I placed the two white „lakes“ and UK placed a forest and a small hill.
For Magic UK rolled: Cleansing Infestation, Foetid Wind and Mass of Flesh.
This time I wasn’t that lucky, as I rolled neither of the three spells I really wanted. Additionally UK didn’t have any weapons with strength bonuses so the Bane of Forged Steel wasn’t effective either. So I opted for: Molten Metal (for Bane), Creeping Corrosion (choice after double), Quicksilver Cloak and Silver Spike.
With the Fallen and the Hounds UK could sit back and wait for my setup. As soon as he could see my pattern and which hill I would use he fast deployed his army to get +3 for the first turn roll, which he got in the end. Having not that many chaff drops, I was not too much concerned by this, as I think the deployment could have gone much worse for me. The Assassin naturally deployed hidden with the Shadow Stalkers.
Turn 1 – Warriors of Pestilence
Movement: The Fallen have to take a frenzy test, as I placed my riders inside their charge range. The one to the lower side fails and the unit stumbles ahead. Naturally the rest of his force advanced as fast as it could, ignoring the Stalkers on the upper side. The general’s unit remained partially behind the hill. The Maulerbeast Chariot however did not advance as much as it could have, a mistake in hindsight. The Fallen also didn’t have to use their complete movement, as they are fast enough themselves and didn’t need to present an easy target for the Blood Maidens.
Magic: 4+2, no channels. Foetid Wind with five dice (6+5+5+1+1) is cast and not contested. The range roll hits a ‚3‘ which falls short on hitting anything. The second spell is easily dispelled with four dice.
Shooting: The Warp Scream Cannon aims at the Dark Repeaters but immediately suffers a failure and can’t shoot in the following turn either.
Turn 1 – Dread Elves
Movement: The Dark Art Apprentices did not fall into the trap to charge the War Hounds and instead formed a wall towards the Dark Repeaters, simultaneously allowing a missile spell by the champion in the direction of the warriors. The Medusas moved slightly forward to get the Fallen into range for their stares. The Shadow Riders moved behind the Fallen, doing their unnerving dance around. Stalkers try to close the gap to the action and make it close enough for the Assassin to use his ranged attack.
Magic: 6+3, both sides channel. Molten Metal (4+4+1) on the smaller Warrior Unit is not contested and kills three (Ø 2,3). Creeping Corrosion (5+3) on the larger Warrior Unit is not dispelled (4+1+1). Bolt of Darkness by the Apprentice Champion (6+4+4+4) draws the Dispel Scroll. The last spell is easily dispelled then.
- Dark Art Apprentices on War Hounds: Kill all five (Ø 3,0)
- Medusas on Fallen: No wounds (Ø 0,4)
- Shadow Riders on Fallen: One wound (Ø 0,4)
- Assassin on Wasteborn Chariot: Two wounds (Ø 1,7)
- Shadow Stalkers on Wasteborn Chariot: No wounds (Ø 0,8)
- Dark Master in Blood Maidens on Fallen: No wounds (Ø 0,1)
- Dark Repeaters on Wasteborn Warriors: Two wounds (Ø 3,2)
- All three Dark Repeaters do single shot on Maulerbeast Chariot: Two wounds (Ø 1,5)
Turn 2 – Warriors of Pestilence
Movement: The Maulerbeast Chariot and one unit of the Fallen declare charges on Blood Maidens and Medusas. Stand & Shoot does not create any casualties, but both the charges fail.
The rest of the units move relentlessly forward, while the cannon „flees“ from the Stalkers.
Magic: 5+5, no channels. Cleansing Infestation (5+3+2+1) is dispelled with five dice. The Foetid Wind (6+6+3+1) kills seven Dark Repeaters. Afterwards the caster rolls a four and nine Warriors die.
Turn 2 – Dread Elves
Movement: Medusas and Blood Maidens declare charges on both of the Fallen. While the Medusas easily connect, the Blood Maidens fall short.
Dark Repeaters and Apprentices move backwards trying to get away from the Warriors for as long as possible. The Stalkers follow the Wasteborn Chariot as fast as they can. The Shadow Riders pass their march test and block the way between the chariot and the Blood Maidens.
Magic: 5+5, I channel. Another high roll in my magic phase, with the Dispel Scroll already gone: Creeping Corrosion (3+2) is uncontested. Molten Metal (4+3+2) is dispelled (5+4+3+2+1). Bolt of Darkness (5+5+2+1) and kills three Warriors (Ø 4,7), the Lore Attribute kills another one. Silver Spike is lucky again and kills two Warriors.
- Shadow Riders on Fallen: One wound (Ø 0,4).
- Dark Repeaters on Warriors: No wounds.
- Assassin on Wasteborn Chariot: One wound.
- Shadow Stalkers on Wasteborn Chariot: One wound, destroying the chariot.
- Dread Reaper on Maulerbeast Chariot: No wounds.
- Remaining Dread Reapers on corroded Warriors: Two wounds.
Turn 3 – Warriors of Pestilence
Movement: Maulerbeast Chariot charges the Shadow Riders. The Fallen charge the Blood Maidens. The Warp Scream Cannon fails the frenzy test and charges the Medusas. Stand & shoot delivers one wound to the cannon.
Magic: 4+3, no channels. He fails to cast Foetid Wind (4+1+1+1). The Stream (5+6+1) is dispelled (6+5+5+5).
Close Combat: The Medusas pass their fear test and then show how dice are rolled: 13 attacks, 12 hits, 7(!) wounds. The cannon crumbles under the onslaught. The Blood Maidens and my Dark Master are quite impressed but don’t want to fall behind and also kill their opponent before being attacked.
Turn 3 – Dread Elves
Cleanup: Basically the remainder of the Warriors gets decimated in my turn. Another high magic phase (6+3, I channel) and the combined shooting with a crazy amount of fives and sixes spelled doom for nearly all remaining models. In the end the general stood alone with only one wound left and the Maulerbeast Chariot was left in a close combat with the Blood Maidens with only one wound left.
Wanting first turn badly, I think UK might have gone overboard in the deployment phase and may have made an error by moving his Fallen together on one side. One unit on the other side of the formation could have successfully attacked the Shadow Stalkers.
Another slight mistake might have been the movement of the Maulerbeast Chariot in turn one. By using the full movement, it would have made the charge in turn two, while still not risking a likely charge by the Blood Maidens.
My tactic worked quite well, even when my opponent didn’t field any Barbarians which would have been the prime target for my Dark Repeaters. Path of Alchemy is still fantastic against the heavy armoured Warriors of the Dark Gods, although it got a little bit more diversification and could also be successful against enemies with less armour.
Many other aspects (sadly) vanished behind the dice rolls (see below).
Units & Balancing
- Against an shooting and magic heavy army like mine, the Warriors were very ill-equipped. The Mark of Disease didn’t help them at all. They lacked chaff and fast cavalry. However our post-match analysis revealed that a double standard setup (Banner of Speed and Banner of Relentless Company, leveraging the magic pool of the BSB) could have been devastating for my army.
- Warpscream Cannon: I still don’t understand the reasoning and design of the cannon. For me this design is an utter failure: It is a very potent stone thrower itself. Then it gets a panic inducing ability on top of that. Now at this point all weaknesses of war machines are taken away. First it is a monster, so it passes most characteristic tests. Then it has S5/T6/W5 so it beats nearly everything that can ambush (stomp!). Then it has unbreakable so it’s impossible to remove it with any kind of static combat resolution. Then it has a Ward Save, so other cannons or high damage weapons are discouraged from aiming at it. A nice Innate Defense of 4+ removes any chance of realistically doing something with Poison. As a downside it got Frenzy… only to be immediately remedied by giving it Swiftstrider. Reading all those rules the only design goal that I can think of is: The enemy must acknowledge that WoG have a stone thrower that you can never touch. Just live with being shot at and hope for a misfire.
- I like the new role of the Medusa as a anti-armour shooting and dangerous close combat unit. Their design is very compelling and the different special abilities combine very nice and capture the Medusa-feeling very good. Can’t wait to test them against an army with low morale.
- Dark Art Apprentices still feel very strong and the added Poison Dart doesn’t diminish this. Still feel the ranged attack rather „tacked on“ than natural part of the unit.
- Ring of Darkness and Charm of Cursed Iron continue to amaze me and will probably be in all my lists for the current rules.
I like the changes to the Medusa the most. From an absolutely crappy model with anti-synergistic abilities to a skirmishing elite unit that hunts heavy armoured targets and dominates low morale unit. Blood Maidens still work in a small unit, Dark Art Apprentices haven’t changed much, because they are still cheap for what they do. Warriors of Dark Gods have the right tools in principle, but my opponent didn’t use them so it is very hard to judge the external balance.
Blessings of the Dice Gods
The game was severly swinging in my favour with every die cast. First the Warpscream Cannon had a misfire with the very first shot and rolled the worst outcome. Then the crucial charge of the Maulerbeast failed. Add that to nearly all my rolls working out and having three very high magic phases the Warriors were crushed in an avalanche of fives and sixes.