Introduction

Another lazy Saturday at home with a fellow 9th Age player coming over 🙂

EM and his Infernal Dwarves packed their stuff (or let the Orc slaves do that) and invaded the Dread Elf territory of a specifically cruel Nabh High Priestess.

2000 points, secondary objectives, D6+4 terrain pieces, 0.11 rules (but ID already used the 0.12 armybook) were the hard and cold facts for this battle on a cold Saturday.

The Bleak Legion01-de

  • Cult High Priest, Nabh General, Charm of Cursed Iron, Crimson Mail, Obsidian Nullstone, Executioner’s Blade
  • Captain, Battle Standard Bearer, Beast Master, Raptor, Dragonscale Helm, Lucky Charm, Kingslayer, Heavy Armour, Shield
  • Oracle, Path of Black Magic, Level 2, Dispel Scroll
  • Oracle, Path of Black Magic, Level 2, Book of Arcane Power
  • 5x Dark Raiders, Repeater Crossbows, Shields
  • 6x Dark Raiders, Repeater Crossbows, Shields, Chosen of Nabh
  • 10x Repeater Auxiliaries, Musician, Standard Bearer
  • 10x Repeater Auxiliaries, Musician, Standard Bearer
  • 18x Executioners, Full Command, Banner of Speed, Chosen of Nabh
  • Hunting Chariot, Harpoon Launcher
  • Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot
  • Dread Reaper, Repeating Shot
  • 6x Dread Knights, Full Command

Still lacking a match, where the Executioners made the difference, I gave my High Priest an escort with the Chosen of Nabh upgrade. To guard the flanks I decided on the Dread Knights with a killy BSB. For my Oracles I fielded two units of Repeaters, who should be able to fire some bolts before the slow Dwarves catch up to them and to take objectives, if uncontested. The Hunting Chariot and Dread Reapers complement my shooting and should make me able to clear some chaff.

Infernal Dwarves02-id

  • Overlord, Gauntlets of Mazhab, Blade of Burning Steel, Talisman of Supreme Shielding, Infernal Armour
  • Prophet, Level 3, Path of the Furnace, Engineer, Infernal Armour, Sprout of Rebirth
  • Vizier, Battle Standard Bearer, Mask of the Furnace, Infernal Armour
  • 26x Orc Slaves, Additional Hand Weapons, Musician
  • 10x Citadel Guard, Flintlock Axe, Musician
  • 10x Citadel Guard, Flintlock Axe, Musician
  • 25x Ziggurat Guard, Shields, Infernal Weapon, Full Command
  • 3x Kadim Incarnates
  • Infernal Artillery, Rocket Battery
  • Infernal Artillery, Volcano Cannon

Following the 0.12 rules, EM used the move of Orcs and Citadel Guard to fill his core. His main anchor in the army was the Ziggurat Guard, where all three characters went.

Terrain, Magic, and Army Setup04-setup

We rolled six terrain pieces. I setup two buildings on the side, as usual to have nice flanking positions for my fast cavalry. In the centre I placed a forest for cover from the Citadel Guard. EM placed two hills on the edge and a small ruin to the centre. The dice spoke and gave us a classic battle line with the hold the ground objective (white marker).

I won the roll to choose sides and expected EM to make use of the hill. So I opted for the side with the more useful forest to advance. He deployed first and setup his whole army. Ziggurat Guard and Orcs in the centre, flanked by the Citadel Guards and the cannons. I choose to not use the hill and instead setup my Reapers on the far flank to be able to get something into close range. The Auxiliaries followed, a step behind the 12“ line. On the upper flank I wanted to break through and put my Raiders, Knights and Chariot there. Hoping to breakthrough and then support my Executioners from this side. This way I would also be able to stay out of range of the Volcano Cannon for quite some time.

For spells I got: Moraec’s Fury and Freezing Gale for the first Oracle. Moraec’s Fury and Mark of Fear for the second Oracle. The Prophet got: Shield of Dark Fire, Subjugation, Choking Ash. So no Damage Spell, which completely invalidated my Magic Resistance talisman on my general.

Turn 1 – Dwarven Holds05-id1

Movement: The game starts with a charge of the Incarnates on the Dark Raiders. Needing an 11 with two dice, he rolls just that. Before that Stand & Shoot didn’t produce any wounds.

The Citadel Guards turned slightly outward to protect the flanks, while the other units moved slightly forward. Just enough for the Prophet to be able to cast Choking Ash on 24“.

Magic: 2+1, Dread Elves channel. A very low magic phase for my opponent. He casts Subjugation on the Executioners (3+2+2) and I dispel (4+3+3).

Shooting:

  • Rocket Battery on Executioners: Missed.

Close Combat: The Dark Raiders are not fearsome of the Incarnates. Nonetheless their fire already kills one Raider, before he can attack. Afterwards the Elves do not manage a wound, while the Incarnates kill all but one Raider. The last survivor tries to flee, rolls a nine, but is captured nonetheless.

Turn 1 – Dread Elves06-de1

Movement: Opting against a charge, I decide to play it safe and move Chariot and Knights in a way, that the Incarnates don’t see me, but also won’t be able to move out of my line of sight. As my plan to make a swift breakthrough on the upper flank is thwarted, the Executioners think of moving, but decide against it. The Auxiliaries move just enough to get into range of the Ziggurat Guard. The Dark Raiders on the lower flank do not have a good option to advance, as they would certainly move into Volcano Cannon range. So I cut in, hoping to get the Citadel Guard out of position to harass the Cannon.

Magic: 1+1, both channel. Freezing Gale on Citadel Guard (5+4+4) is successful (3+1). I fail to do a wound, scoring only one hit. But the BS hex grants me -3.

Shooting:

  • Hunting Chariot on Incarnates: No wounds.
  • Repeater Auxiliaries on Ziggurat Guard: One wound.
  • Repeater Auxiliaries on Ziggurat Guard: No wounds.
  • Dread Reaper on Citadel Guard: Three wounds.
  • Dread Reaper on Ziggurat Guard: One wound.
  • Dark Raiders on Citadel Guard: No wounds.

Close Combat: None.

Turn 2 – Infernal Dwarves

Movement: No charges and units continue to advance slowly. The Citadel Guard moves, so they can shoot at the Dark Raiders and Executioners. The Incarnates move as much as possible to the table edge and wheel to face the Knights.

Magic: 1+1, no channels. Winds of Magic certainly not blowing strong today. The Prophet tries Choking Ash on the Auxiliaries, but fails to reach casting value.

Shooting:

  • Volcano Cannon on Auxiliaries with S1 attack: Ten hits, one wound, but saved.
  • Rocket Battery on Executioners: Slight miss makes it hit twelve. Eight wounds, six killed.
  • Citadel Guard on Dark Raiders: One wound.
  • Citadel Guard on Executioners: Two wounds.

Close Combat: None.

Turn 2 – Dread Elves07-de2

Movement: The Knights charge the Incarnates. Taking a small risk, I do not use the chariot to charge as well and instead move towards the Rocket Battery.

The Executioners move backwards, as they certainly cannot attack the centre alone and need to wait for the Knights to finish their job. The Dark Raiders move into the flank of the Citadel Guard. Hoping to evade the Volcano Cannon attack, if the Citadel Guard is still in the way.

Magic: 5+5, Infernal Dwarves channel. Mark of Fear in Citadel Guard (lower flank) (5+4+3+1) is not contested. Moraec’s Fury on my Knights (6+2+1) is dispelled (6+3+2). Freezing Gale on Citadel Guard (upper flank) goes through. Again, no wounds and -3 BS. The miscast results in me losing the spell.

Shooting:

  • Dark Raiders on Citadel Guard: One wound.
  • Repeater Auxiliaries on Citadel Guard: One wound.
  • Repeater Auxiliaries on Citadel Guard: No wounds.
  • Dread Reaper on Citadel Guard (close range): Five wounds!
  • Dread Reaper on Ziggurat Guard: Three wounds.
  • Hunting Chariot on Rocket Battery: One wound (crossbow, not harpoon).

Close Combat: The Knights are not overly bothered by the flaming hits. But they fluff their attacks, dealing only two wounds. The Incarnated can attack in full strength and manage to kill two knights. Afterwards the Raptors are full of hatred and manage another four wounds. Enough to let the remaining Incarnate crumble.

Turn 3 -Infernal Dwarves

Movement: The Citadel Guard now completely turns toward the flank and the Hunting Chariot, hoping to shoot it down. The Ziggurat Guard advances once more. The Volcano Cannon now turns towards the Dark Raiders.

Magic: 6+3, both channel. Choking Ash on Repeater Auxiliaries (5+5+5+1) is dispelled with seven dice. Shield (Ziggurat Guard, 6+4+2) and Subjugation (Executioners, 4+4) both succeed.

Shooting:

  • Citadel Guard (-3 BS) on Hunting Chariot: No hits.
  • Rocket Battery on Hunting Chariot: Misses.
  • Volcano Cannon on Dark Raiders: Unit wiped out.

Close Combat: None.

Turn 3 – Dread Elves08-de3

Movement: The Hunting Chariot successfully charges the Rocket Battery. The Dread Knights move forward with haste and the Executioners slightly to the centre.

Magic: 2+1, Dread Elves channel. Missing any damage spell, I decide on a gamble and cast Mark of Fear on the Orcs. I roll 6+6+5+3 and the spell is not contested. The miscast is very lucky for me: Sorcerous Backlash with two ‚1’s on the ToWound rolls. The Lore Attribute once again fails to do any damage.

Shooting: I concentrate all my shooting on the Orcs. For some of my shooters the forest is in the way. I manage to do exactly the amount necessary to force a panic check. The Orcs fail their test on LD5 and flee 9“.

Close Combat: Despite generating six impact hits, I only manage one wound on the charge. The Rocket Battery crew does not do any damage and flees on a break test on seven. The Chariot reforms.

Turn 4 -Infernal Dwarves09-id4

Movement: The Orcs continue fleeing, roll high and migrate towards greener pastures. The Ziggurat Guard stands still.

Magic: 5+4, Dwarves channel. Subjugation on Executioners (5+4+2) is successful. Shield (6+4+3) on Ziggurat Guard is dispelled (6+6+5+4+3). Choking Ash on Auxiliaries (6+4+3) is successful.

Shooting:

  • Volcano Cannon sprays fuel on Hunting Chariot: Hits, but no wound.
  • Citadel Guard on Hunting Chariot: One wound.

Close Combat: None.

Turn 4 – Dread Elves10-de4

Movement: The Dread Knights move around the flank and place themselves directly before the Citadel Guard. The Hunting Chariot advances towards the Volcano Cannon, but not too far to be an easy target for the flame attack. Executioners move up, but stay outside of charge range of Ziggurat Guard. The unit under the Choking Ash spell moves backwards.

Magic: 5+4, Dread Elves channel. Mark of Fear on Citadel Guard (4+4+3+3) goes through. Lore Attribute does not wound. Moraec’s Fury is cast twice and twice dispelled (once by dice, once by scroll).

Shooting:

  • Repeaters with Ash: No wounds.
  • Dread Reapers: Four wounds.
  • Repeater Auxiliaries: One wound.

Close Combat: None.

Remaining turns

ID Turn 5: Magic (5+2) sees only the Subjugation going through, with help of the Dispel Scroll. The Citadel Guard aims at the Dread Knights and kills one. The Volcano Cannon tries to burn the Hunting Chariots, but the template does not advance far enough.

DE Turn 5: The Hunting Chariot moves towards the Volcano Cannon, while the Dread Knights charge the Citadel Guard. The Executioners stay back. The Dread Knights completely annihilate the Citadel Guard, thanks to a Moraec’s Fury on them (another 2+1 magic phase). The Auxiliaries do little damage on the Dwarves so the Dread Reapers try their luck with single shots on the Volcano Cannon, after the Harpoon once again failed to wound (but one crossbow bolt wounded). One Reaper actually wounds and scores two wounds, enough to destroy the Volcano Cannon.

Turn 6: Being devoid of anything in charge and not having any missile spells, the Dwarves cannot do anything. The Dread Elves move into range of the objectives with four standards, securing it and ending the game with a 9-1 victory for the Dread Elves.

Conclusion11-final

Rule Set & Balance

Once again we did some mistakes. The Incarnates crumbled to the unstable rule, but they would have to take a leadership test and may have had a chance to not crumble (also a slight one, losing the combat by five). On the other side, we played as if the Citadel Guard had shield, when in fact the Flintlock Axes would have replaced them.

I really like the secondary objectives rules. They create an additional momentum in the game and provide a tough challenge for corner armies or flying circus lists, as they cannot claim the objectives that easily.

On the Infernal Dwarves side, EM was satisfied with the Incarnates the most. Their special rules create a nice package. His verdict on the Citadel Guard was not a benevolent, their profile is fine, but they just cost too many points. In my opinion, the Rocket Battery remains a beast. With two modes of fire it can find the best thing to do easily.

On the Dread Elf side, the Executioners failed to deliver, partly to the Incarnate charge in turn 1. Still, they are very expensive and do not deliver that much a blow to the enemy, that justifies a 15 point per model investment. A unit like the Lion Guard would have a much easier time reaching combat in full strength, due to their 3+ armour and Skirmisher rules. On the plus side, the Dread Knights performed admirably and are a great combo with Beastmaster and Moraec’s Fury. I think they are much better in the role of flank protection and secondary combat block, than a primary unit and will certainly try to use them this way more often.

Game Deciding Moments

The very first roll already spelled doom for my plans on the upper flank, but also dictated the dynamic of the game. As I dealt with it with the Knights, the Executioners also could not advance, creating a stalemate in the centre.

Once again the question: „Do I need to push or do I stand back“ was decisive. If EM had pushed on with all his units in turn 1 and 2, he could have brought his Orcs and Ziggurat Guard into close combat and wipeout my units. The way the game progressed I could weather the war machine shooting and bide my time, until the upper flank breakthrough finally came to fruition.

The dice gods gave us very low Winds of Magic, but without any damage spells, it often was without much difference. The spells would only have mattered big time in a close combat fest, which just didn’t happen. My shooting leveled itself out over the course of many, many dice rolls. The Dwarven War Machines missed some shots, but also didn’t roll a single failure.

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