Once again it was team playing time. After very few matches in the last few weeks and months, my friends and I finally managed to find the time to gather and play a 4000 points per side team game.
For these games we do not assign the teams beforehand, but determine them randomly. This is done to prevent writing one sided specialized lists or anti-lists versus a specific opposing army.
For our clash, EM brought his Vermin Swarm, JB brought his Ogre Khans, SH brought his Saurian Ancients and I lead my Bleak Legion onto the battlefield.
Our ruleset for team games (as there really is none in the rulebook): Every individual army must be valid, but it’s okay to duplicate magic items. Everybody brings their general and possibly BSB and all friendly units benefit from it (so each side may have two generals and two BSBs). Assassin’s may only hide within their own army. Otherwise characters are free to join any friendly unit.
Otherwise we played with the 1.0 rules without deviations.
- Dread Prince – Army General, Dragonscale Helm, Dusk Stone, Giant Sword, Heavy Armour, Raptor, Shield
- Captain – Heavy Armour, Lance, Midnight Cloak, Pegasus, Shield
- Cult Priest – Battle Standard Bearer, Crimson Mail, Executioner’s Blade, Cult of Nabh
- Oracle – Dispel Scroll, Elvish Horse, Wizard Level 2, Path of Alchemy
- 5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
- 7x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
- 30x Dread Legionnaires – Full Command, Spears
- 7x Dread Knights – Champion, Standard Bearer, Gleaming Icon
- 5x Harpies
- 10x Tower Guard – Standard Bearer
- 6x Dark Acolytes – Champion
- Hunting Chariot – Harpoon Launcher
For my list I stripped away most of the shooting and wanted to get in an Oracle on horse. I also wanted a mobile surgical tool in the form of the Captain on Pegasus, in case I needed to pick off a certain enemy. For my core I choose cheap Legionnaires to support my ally with a secondary combat unit and also my Dread Knights as another hard hitter. Harpies, Raiders, Acolytes and Chariot rounded of the list and I wanted to try a small Tower Guard unit to see how it plays out, occasionally getting an objective.
- Saurian Warlord – Army General, Raptor, Crown of Scorn, Glittering Cuirass, Dusk Stone, Great Weapon
- Saurian Warlord – Talisman of Protection, Sword of the Dawn Ages, Shield, Heavy Armour
- Saurian Veteran – Raptor, Battle Standard Bearer, Great Weapon
- 35x Saurian Warriors – Full Command, Serpent Totem Animal, Spears, Banner of Discipline
- 3x Caimans
- 8x Raptor Riders – Full Command, Totem of Mixoatl
- Thyroscutus – Sun Engine
- Thyroscutus – Sun Engine
Reaching deep into the „you didn’t expect this“ box, SH pulled out this list. Massive combat block in core, deadly Raptor Riders and many points in tough Saurian combat heroes. Coupled with double Sun Engine to offset the low Weapon Skill. This list provides only marginal magic or ranged threats but sure is deadly in close combat.
- Great Khan – Aurochs Charm, Great Kahn General, Heart-Ripper, Spinesplitter, Spout of Rebirth
- Great Khan – Headhunter, Khagadai’s Maul, Talisman of Supreme Shielding
- Khan – Battle Standard Bearer, Great Weapon, Hoardmaster, Iron Fist, Mammoth-Hide Cloak, Skull of Qenghet, Talisman of Shielding
- 6x Bruisers – Full Command
- 7x Tribesmen – Full Command, Iron Fists
- 4x Bombardiers – Champion, Musician
- 5x Mercenary Veterans – Iron Fists, Full Command, Bodyguard, Swiftstride, Banner of Speed
Another list with no wizard, this time even without any magic at all. JB also pulled of the double combat lord with his Ogres. JB split out his points across three combat blocks (Bruisers, Tribesmen and Mercenaries). For shooting the Scratapult obviously targets large blocks and the Bombardiers to clear enemy chaff.
- Magister – Plague Patriarch, Talisman of Supreme Shielding
- Chief – Battle Standard Bearer
- Apprentice Magister – Level 2, Dispel Scroll
- Sicarra Assassin – Giant Blade
- 37x Vermin Guard – Full Command
- Weapon Team – Naphta Thrower
- Weapon Team – Naphta Thrower
- 3x Jezails
- Abomination – Toxic Retaliation
- Verminous Artillery – Plague Catapult, Black Death
By far the most magic to the table was brought by the Vermin Swarm. EM had the only Master Wizard on the table. His artillery, Weapon Teams and Jezails, brought him far ahead on the shooting capabilities. In close combat however he did not build a „tower“ bringing neither Plague Pendulum nor Doom Bell.
Terrain brought two fields, one hill, one ruins, one wall and one forest. The only thing I would factor in on a high priority was the impassable terrain, which was centre on a flank and would provide possibility to hide and split enemies.
For deployment type we rolled flank attack and hold the ground. The teams draw resulted in Ogres and Vermin teaming up against the Saurians and Elves. Magic was split, but ranged shooting was clearly in favour of the Ogres and their little „friends“ with two template weapons against two large spear blocks.
Spells: The Magister rolled 1, 4, 4 and had some freedom in his selection. EM decided for Cleansing Infestation, Mass of Flesh and Pestilent Miasma. The Magister Apprentice rolled 1, 5 and got Black Lightning and Crack the Earth.
On our side I rolled 2, 3 for the Oracle keeping both Creeping Corrosion and Quicksilver Cloak.
We anchored both flanks around the massive Saurian Spear Block. The stronger flank was clearly our right flank with my Dread Knights, Hunting Chariot and Caimans. On the left flank we deployed faster units like the Captain on Pegasus (mainly because of the building where he could hide) and the Dark Acolytes.
The opponent reacted by pushing hard on our left flank with Dreadmill, Abomination and Bruisers. The rest of the Ogre force was also on this side. On the right flank only the slaves were assigned to hold this position. I used my vanguard movements to advance on the right flank and move towards the centre on the left side.
Darkshard Brew caused Stupidity and Poisonous Attacks for the Vermin Guard.
Movement: With not much choice we advanced straight forward, especially on the right flank and the centre. On our left flank, the Dark Acolytes and Tower Guard were more cautious, as well as the Raptor Knights who had to make sure, they were not easy targets for a combo charge of the Ogres. For that we placed the Dark Raiders in an angled position that did not allow a charge between them and the building. An overrun would lead the charger into the direction of the Saurian Warriors.
Magic: 3+2, no channels. Creeping Corrosion on the Mercenaries (4+2+1) is not dispelled (3+1). +1 armour save for the Saurian Warriors. Burning Brightness on Jezails gets through, but does no wound.
- Hunting Chariot on Jezails: Kills one. Jezails stand their panic test.
- Dark Raiders do not inflict any wound.
Close Combat: None.
Movement: Given the Dark Raiders, the Ogres had no good charge target. The Bruisers charged the Dark Raiders, but failed to get into contact (2+2). Stand & Shoot did nothing.
Dreadmill moves seven inches, the Abomination moves eleven. The Vermin Swarm mainly stands still (Weapon Teams move into range), while the Tribesmen advance behind the Abomination.
Magic: 2+1, both channel. Crack the Earth (3+3+2+1) is dispelled (4+3+2) on an equal roll.
- Naphta Thrower on Caimans: 10 shots, 3 hits, 2 wounds, both saved on 6+.
- Naphta Thrower on Dark Raiders: 7 shots, 4 hits, 3 wounds.
- Jezails on Raptor Knights: 2 hits, 2 wound, 2 dead.
- Bombardiers on Dark Raiders: 8 shots, 7 hits, 4 wounds.
- Plague Catapult: Malfunction, turns and shoots into emptiness.
- Scratapult on Dread Legionnaires: Scatters.
Close Combat: None.
Movement: It was charging time:
- Dread Raiders into Slaves: Success.
- Caimand into Slaves: Failure.
- Dread Legionnaires on Naphta Thrower, which flees. Re-direct into Slaves: Failure.
- Raptor Knights on Vermin Guard: Failure.
Could have worked out better, at least one of the three failed charges should have gotten into close combat. As we rolled quite low, the failing units also only moved forwards a really low amount. The remaining movement tried to patch things up: The Harpies got into the way of the Ogres, removing the possibility to get into contact with the raptor knights. The Dread Knights and Hunting Chariot moved up as fast as possible to get into range for third turn charges. The Tower Guard and Dark Acolytes stayed clear of the Abomination while the Thyroscutus did the same. The Oracle moved places and joined the Raptor Knights, so that the Acolytes would be free to charge something in their next turn. The Captain on Pegasus moved into the flank of the Bruisers guaranteeing him a charge on the Catapults the next turn.
Magic: 3+2, enemies channel. Quicksilver Cloak on Saurian Warriors (6+2+1) is dispelled (6+2+2+1). Creeping Corrosion on Vermin Guard (5+3) draws the Dispel Scroll.
Shooting: Hunting Chariot on Jezails misses.
Close Combat: Dark Raiders manage to kill four Slaves and don’t suffer a wound themselves. The Raiders win combat by four, Slaves stay on a non-rerollable LD 5 check.
Movement: The Mercenaries charge the Harpies. The Vermin Guard charges the Saurian Warriors. Both charges are successful. Dreadmill moves nine inch backwards in the hope of shooting the Pegasus. The Abomination turns towards the Raptor Knights and moves a whooping 16 inches and successfully charges them. The Naphta Thrower rallies. The Bruisers move around the building, while the Bruisers reform to face the Pegasus. The Bombardiers also reform and turn towards the right flank. The Slaves turn to prevent a flank charge. The Naphta Thrower moves into range for shooting.
Magic: 5+2, enemies channel. Pestilent Miasma (6+3+3) on Vermin Guard is dispelled with the Crown of Scorn. Mass of Flesh (6+3+1) is dispelled (6+5+4+1+1). Crack the Earth (5+4) with a massive line through the Saurian Warriors, Raptor Knights and Dark Acolytes is dispelled with the Dispel Scroll.
- Naphta Thrower on Thyroscutus: Malfunction, one wound to itself.
- Jezails on Thyroscutus: One wound, but armour saved on 6+.
- Vermin Artillery on Dread Knights (indirect): Scatters one inch, hits four, no wound.
- Scratapult on Legionnaires: Hit, 26 are hit, twelve die.
- Dreadmill generates Strength 6 hits: All wound, no armour saves, Midnight Cloak wards of two hits. Remain hit does two wounds.
- Bruisers easily wipe out the Harpies but overrun only four inches, not enough to get them into close combat with the Saurian Warriors.
- Abomination produces nine attacks, three hits, three wounds, three dead. The Raptor Knight in the flank does two wounds, but both are regenerated. The Raptor Knights hold on re-rollable, cold-blooded LD5 and can even reform.
- Dark Raiders deal two wounds and suffer one in return. Slaves win and reform.
- Skaven characters kill five Saurian Warriors, the Vermin Guard only one. Champions in challenge both fluff their attacks. Saurian Warlords deals two wounds to the Vermin BSB. Saurian Warriors deal 13 wounds. The Vermin Guard auto-flees and the Saurians do not pursue. A roll of twelve sees them fleeing the battlefield entirely. Saurians reform to face the Mercenaries.
Movement: Dark Acolytes charge the flank of the Abomination (success). Saurian Warriors charge the Mercenaries (success). Thyroscutus charges the Jezails (failure), Legionnaires the Naptha Thrower (failure), Hunting Chariot the outer Slaves (success), Dread Knights the inner slaves (success), Caimans the inner slaves (success).
Magic: 6+6, no channel possible. Creeping Corrosion (6+4+1) on Mercenaries is successful. Quicksilver Cloak (5+3+1) on Raptor Knights is successful. Curse of Mortality on Abomination (6+2+2+2) is dispelled with five dice. Burning Brightness on Naphta Thrower is successful and deals one wound killing it. Jezails panic and flee from the table.
Shooting: No shooting.
- Hunting Chariot and Dark Raiders deal nine wounds. Slaves hit back and kill all Dark Raiders. Slaves again hold on LD 5, but cannot reform either.
- Dread Knights and Caimans easily obliterate the Slaves and overrung
- Saurian Warriors lose their champion in the challenge against the Mercenary Veterans champion, but the unit deals ten wounds alone killing all Mercenaries except the champion and the Ogre general. The Mercenary Veterans stand thanks to their bodyguard rule.
- Captain on Pegasus kills the Scratapult and overruns into the Plague catapult
- Dark Acolytes inflict six wounds on Abomination of which three are regenerated, the toxic retaliation kills one Acolyte. The Saurian characters deal seven wounds to the Abomination killing it. Toxic Retaliation kills three more Raptor Knights. Acolytes overrun towards the centre of the table.
Movement: Bruisers charge the remaining Saurian Characters and Oracle. Dreadmill moves eleven inches into the direction of the Captain on Pegasus. Bombardiers fail their musician test and cannot shoot.
Magic: No magic.
Shooting: Naphta Thrower on Thyroscutus: Kills the Thyroscutus. Dreadmill on Captain deals S8 hits and kills the Captain. Vermin Artillery on Dread Knights hits and kills two.
- Hunting Chariot kills Slaves (winning combat and causing them to break)
- Bruisers kill the Oracle. Ogre BSB doesn’t deal any wounds. Saurian Warlord deals three wounds on Ogre Khan. Saurian Veteran doesn’t deal a wound. Characters stand again on re-rollable cold-blooded LD5.
- Challenge between Great Khan and Saurian Warlord: Ogre does nothing, last Mercenary deals two wounds. Saurian Warlord does not deal a wound, last Mercenary is killed. General holds on LD7.
Dread Ancients – Turn 4
At this point the game was largely decided. In the last turn, the Tower Guard charged the flank of the Bruisers causing the unit to be killed easily. The Acolytes charge the Bombardiers without the possibility of stand & shoot and the Dread Knights kill the Naphta Thrower overrunning into the Vermin Artillery.
Balancing, Deciding Moments, Mistakes, etc.
SH and I agreed, that the game was mainly decided on deployment. Despite the fact that we dropped everything to get the first turn versus an enemy that had superior shooting, our opponents didn’t match our deployment well.
Naturally we set up our core anchor in the centre of the table with the Saurian Warriors and cared to provide two strong sides of support. The obvious weakness of our deployment were the Dread Knights which were far of on the flank, but that could not be helped easily.
Our opponents tried to strand them there and deny us the better flank and focused on the other flank. However the setup was imbalanced as also all Ogre fighting blocks were on that side and were standing far to the back. This proved to be their downfall, as our opponents did not match any combo-charge and were blocked by their units several times. There is also a reason, why in flank deployment the attacker has the flanks. They should have used the defender setup to setup all their stuff in the middle and form a big brick. As it was, any flee would easily transport them off the table.
Units wise the MVP of the match were easily the Saurian Warriors. Coming from core they provided an excellent core anchor with tremendous power. Only a double charge or several template hits could have given them some trouble. In the Dread Elves forces the Dark Acolytes proved to be a nice unit once again, being very deadly for low-armoured monster and providing channeling and useful spells.