Introduction

After what seemed like ages, I finally managed to find the time to play a nice little game of Ninth Age again. JB called his Ogre Khans to arms and so the clash was to be between the devious Dread Elves of mine, led by my Killer Princess Lily and his muscle avalanche of Ogres hungry for some fresh meat.

We played with the 1.0 rules without deviations and agreed on 2500 points for the army size. The battlefield was once more located inside my living room.

The Bleak Legion01-de

Dread Prince – Divine Icon, Crimson Mail, Headsmen’s Axe, Lucky Charm
Assassin – Path of Silent Death, Paired Weapons, Nightshade
Captain – Battle Standard Bearer, Mithril Mail, Halberd
Oracle – Wizard Level 2, Path of Heavens, Dispel Scroll
Oracle – Wizard Level 2, Path of Heavens, Tome of Arcane Lore
5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows, Shields
5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows, Shields
13x Repeater Auxiliaries – Musician, Standard Bearer
19x Repeater Auxiliaries – Musician, Standard Bearer, Shields
5x Dread Knights – Full Command
5x Harpies
21x Tower Guard – Full Command, Banner of Blood
Dread Reaper – Repeating Shot
Dread Reaper – Repeating Shot
Hunting Chariot – Harpoon Launcher
Hunting Chariot – Harpoon Launcher
8x Raven Cloaks – Great Weapons

I went (nearly) full on ranged stuff this time. I wanted to try out the Path of Heavens for the first time and see whether the ranged buffs and rerolls it can provide would prove to be efficient with my bolt throwers and harpoon launchers. For my defense I opted to field the cheap killer prince with axe again (seemed good versus Ogres), the Tower Guard to hold the place and the Dread Knights to flank the enemy.

Beast Herds02-ok

Khan – Hoardmaster, Mammoth-Hide Cloak, Aurochs Charm, Iron Fist
Khan – Battle Standard Bearer, Talisman of Greater Shielding, Iron Fist
Mammoth Hunter – Rock Aurochs, Yeti Furs, Iron Fist
10x Tribesmen – Full Command, Iron Fists, Heavy Armour
6x Bruisers – Full Command
5x Bombardiers – Musician
4x Tusker Cavalry – Full Command, Æther Icon
1x Sabretooth Tiger
1x Sabretooth Tiger
Rock Aurochs
Frost Mammoth

JB packed the monster mash list. A crazy amount of stuff with five and six toughness, which was also heavily armoured. Luckily I chose to equip my Hunting Chariots with harpoons…

Terrain, Magic, Deployment03-terrain

We rolled terrain with the maximum amount of terrain, but some things went to the far sides of the table. In the end it didn’t look too crowded, but was thwarted anyway by rolling diagonal deployment, which was very bad for me. To make matters worse, JB won the deployment roll and chose the best corner (lower right), which put the annoying building right in the middle of my deployment zone.

For magic I rolled 1, 2, 4 swapping Wind Blast for Blizzard and then 1, 4 swapping for Blizzard and The Star’s Align. These rolls were not good, I was hoping to avoid Wind Blast and Blizzard altogether and now I had to get the signature both times. Also I was severly lacking damage spells.

04-deploymentWe deployed our units after another, I gambled for too long and JB got first turn by deploying some of his stuff together. As a benefit I was able to pretend a right flank with Raiders and Chariot with the intention to move away and strand his far units for 1-2 turns in nowhere, while trying to roll up his flank of Bruisers and Bombardiers with my units.

Ogre Khans – Turn 105-ok1

Movement: He passed both his frenzy checks and charged my Raiders in the centre with the Tusker Cavalry. Naturally the Raiders flee. The rest of his troops advance towards my Elven forces.

Magic: 6+1, no channel. No spells are cast.

Shooting: Bombardiers on Dread Kights: 18 shots, 8 hits, 4 wounds, 2 dead.

Close Combat: None.

Dread Elves – Turn 1

Movement: No charges are declared, but the Dark Raiders fail to rally and flee from the battlefield. The Dread Knights and Raven Cloaks try to get around the flank, while the Dark Raiders block the Bruisers and the Harpies stand directly in front of the Bombardiers.

Magic: 6+4, Dread Elves channel. Stars Align for hitting on large Repeaters (6+2+1) is successful. Thunderbolt on the Tusker Cavalry (2+2+2) fails to reach the casting value. Blizzard on Bruisers (5+1+1) also fails to reach the casting value.

Shooting: The Assassin appears within the Raven Cloaks. All shooting concentrates on the Bruisers and the Bombardiers (Dark Raiders, Dread Reaper, Repeater Auxiliaries and Raven Cloaks). The Bruisers suffer nine wounds. Then the shooting switches to the Bombardiers, where I come up one wound short (5) to force another panic check.

The Bruisers stand their panic test.

Close Combat: None.

Ogre Khans – Turn 206-ok2

Movement: The Bruisers charge the Dark Raiders who hold. The Bombardiers charge the Harpies, who flee. The Bombardiers fail to change their charge target. They successfully catch the Harpies, but now stand directly in front of the Repeaters. The Tiger moves directly in front of the Tower Guard, while the other troops advance. The Frost Mammoth more carefully, as it retained its ability to shoot.

Magic:6+4, no channel. No spells are cast.

Shooting: Frost Mammoth shoots on Raven Cloaks, but misses.

Close Combat: The Bruisers impact hits already kill two Raiders. The two others manage to inflict two wounds, before being wiped out. The Bruisers overrun, but remain on the table.

Dread Elves – Turn 207-de2

Movement: The Dread Knights charge the Bruisers and are auto-in. The Hunting Chariot to my right flank charges the Sabretooth Tigre. The Oracle within the first Repeater unit moves behind the building (not visible on the pictures), out of sight of the potential shooters, but within good range and line of sight. The Tower Guard retreats, the Raven Cloaks move a little to the centre to aim at the Bombardiers, as there is no place to move out of the charge arc of the Frost Mammoth.

Magic: 6+5, Dread Elves channel. Thunderbolt on Tusker Cavalry (3+2+2) is not dispelled (2+1) and deals four wounds. Stars Align on the Raven Cloaks (ToHit, 6+4+1) is successful. Blizzard on Bombardiers (3+2) rolls too low. This results in three Second Seal counter, which were used in the subsequent magic phase.

Shooting: Combined shooting of Hunting Chariot, Raven Cloaks and two units of Repeater Auxiliaries wipes out the Bombardiers. This should have happened much sooner. Dread Reaper kills one Tusker Cavalry after using a second seal counter.

Close Combat: Dread Knights kill the Bruisers and Hunting Chariot kills Tigers. Chariot overruns only two inches, thwarting my plan to overrun into the charge arc of the Mammoth Hunter and therefore protecting my Repeaters from the charge.

Ogre Khans – Turn 308-ok3

(the picture was taken after I moved my Hunting Chariot in the centre, it was behind the Repeaters initially)

Movement: The Mammoth Hunter charges the Repeaters, who flee. The Hunter redirects into the Tower Guard, after the Tusker Cavalry already send the Hunting Chariot fleeing. The Hunter makes it into close combat, but the Tusker Cavalry doesn’t. The Tribesmen move forwards and the Frost Mammoth and Rock Aurochs form the rear guard.

Magic: 4+2, no channels. Blizzard on Tower Guard (5+5+5) is dispelled (6+5+3+1).

Shooting: No shooting.

Close Combat: The Tower Guard Champion issues a challenge, which the Hunter is basically forced to accept. The Impact Hits alone decide the challenge with maximum overkill. The Tower Guard loses by one, but remains easily on LD10 rerollable steadfast.

Dread Elves – Turn 309-de3

Movement: Dread Knights fail their stupidity test and stumble forward into their certain doom. The Repeaters try a fast reform, but it also fails, denying them their shooting phase. The Hunting Chariot finds a niche in which he cannot be charged but shoot the Frost Mammoth. The other chariot manages to rally. The Raven Cloaks cannot find a good position and remain on long range for the Frost Mammoth.

Magic: 4+3, no channels. Blizzard on Hunter (6+5+1) is dispelled (6+3+3+1+1). Curse of Westerlies (ToHit) is successful. The Second Seal counter will be used by the Dread Prince in the fight to come.

Shooting: Hunting Chariot and Dread Reaper both wound the Frost Mammoth dealing five wounds in total, together with the Raven Cloaks.

Close Combat: Dread Prince hits everything with the help of the second seal. Wounds everything and deals four wounds. The BSB also does one wound. The Tower Guard manages the final wound, killing the Mammoth Hunter. The Tower Guard reforms straight toward the potential attackers.

Ogre Khans – Turn 410-ok4

Movement: Now the Tribesmen and the Tusker Cavalry charges the Tower Guard. The Rock Aurochs does the same on the Dread Knights. All connect. The Frost Mammoth does not join the fray and relies on casting its Aura on the Tower Guard.

Magic: 4+2, Dread Elves channel. Blizzard (5+4+3+2) is dispelled (5+5+4+4+3).

Shooting: Frost Mammoth on Hunting Chariot, does not hit.

Close Combat: Rock Aurochs impact hits annihilate the Dread Knights. The Aurochs overruns from the table. The Tower Guard receives seven Impact Hits, killing seven. The Tower Guard and the Dread Elves characters deal seven wounds (six on Tusker Cavalry), while the Tribesmen and Ogres do another six wounds. The Tower Guard remains in the fight due to bodyguard.

Dread Elves – Turn 411-end

Movement: The Raven Cloaks move right to the front where the Rock Aurochs will appear. The Hunting Chariot moves into the back of the Tribesmen. The other one charges the Ogres.

Magic: 4+3, no channels. Blizzard (2+1+1) fails once more. Curse of the Westerlies (6+6+6+3) is not dispelled (6+6+3+3) and causes the caster to forget two spells (Blizzard and Curse). The Tribesmen need to re-roll their successful hits.

Shooting: Kills the Frost Mammoth quite easily and also the second Tiger (maybe he was killed last turn already).

Close Combat: His general issues a challenge, my BSB accepts. The other stuff from the Dread Elves manages twelve wounds on the Ogres. In return they kill the remaining Tower Guard and the BSB.

At this point, JB concedes the game.

Balancing, Deciding Moments, Mistakes, etc.

Path of Heavens did not impress me very much. Without a defense in the form of a dispel scroll and with such great magic phases, I think I would have had a field day with Path of Alchemy or even Fire. Even with my abysmal rolls for casting (three times under value for rolls well above 90%). Maybe I just had the wrong spells. Lightning Storm and Call of the Comet would have been quite good I presume.

On my side, the Tower Guard with the Killer Lord once more proved to be very efficient. I honestly don’t know, how the Dread Elves should work without the Headsmen’s Axe. Everything else is just lackluster in close combat and the Ogre would have easily wiped me out, without the Strength 7 attacks it delivers. The Tower Guard did only two to three wounds in the whole match. The Dread Knights were also quite okay, without that crucial stupidity test, they would have had a chance to delay the Rock Aurochs for a good time. They also weathered the shooting of the Bombardiers quite well.

On the downside the 12“ range of the Assassin is really a bummer, when you cannot deploy your scouts in the flank or back of the opponent. The Repeaters also didn’t convince me as a shooting force. Strength 3 is just not enough if so many units in the game have either Skirmish (absolute killer for their multishots rule) or T4 (Sylvan Elves, Ogre, Orcs, Warriors, etc. all have T4 as core units available).

On the Ogre side, I was impressed by the Tribesmen, not so much by the Bruisers. The Tribesmen seem more versatile and S4 together with Parry and a good armour save, seem to be a very good package. The Tribesmen would have had a good chance to kill my Prince and the Chariot in the subsequent rounds. The Rock Aurochs is just enourmous. His stone skin easily shrugs of many shooting attempts and at 240 points he costs less than a Hydra with Alpha Predator and Flame Breath (which covers in fear before that monster). Without the really quite stupid challenge rules, I would have easily lost the game.

Concerning mistakes: My formation was quite bad, I handled the building on my side badly and should have noticed, that I need to vacate the left side of the building and not split my forces. On his side: He could have easily challenged himself on the second turn of combat, surely surviving the fight and most probably kill my Dread Prince in with his stomps.

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