Shortly after my clash against the Saurian Ancients, the Dread Elf strike force encountered a Beast Herd. UK and I battled it out at 3000 points on a smaller 48×48 table at Wahnzinn Stuttgart. Always a very nice location with great people there.
For terrain we randomized a suitable map from the official T9A map pack and cut off one third of the map, to reduce the map size suitably for our game.
- Dread Prince – Army General, Crimson Mail, Headsmen’s Axe, Talisman of Greater Shielding
- Captain – Elven Horse, Battle Standard Bearer, Lance, Heavy Armour, Crown of Scorn, Hardened Shield, Dusk Stone
- 5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
- 18x Blades of Nabh – Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician, Æther Icon
- 7x Dark Acolytes
- 16x Tower Guard – Musician
- Hunting Chariot
Once again I took the common route to completely keep magic out of my list and opted for the Æther-Crown-Combo instead. Playing against Beast Herds I was very sure, that UK would bring Totems as his only magic, so I needed to prevent the most important spells only one the first turn of close combat clashes. I didn’t have a lot of shooting, so most of his spells would not be that relevant. For close combat I had two major fighting blocks, both packing quite a punch against Beast Herd units and the Acolytes to support. I gave the Kraken a chance, together with the Hunting Chariot it should be able to kill off single models like chariots and monsters of which I expected at least a few.
- Beast Lord – Army General, Beast Axe, Heavy Armour, Hardened Shield, Sprout of Rebirth
- Beast Chieftain – Battle Standard Bearer, Mithril Mail, Paired Weapons, Crown of Scorn, Totem Bearer
- Beast Chieftain – Totem Bearer
- 20x Wildhorn Herd – Full Command, Shields
- 20x Wildhorn Herd – Full Command, Shields
- 5x Feral Hounds
- 5x Feral Hounds
- Raiding Chariot
- Raiding Chariot
- 28x Longhorn Herd – Full Command
To my surprise UK did not spend a lot of points on Ambushers or on light shooting. This meant, that two armies with infantry as main combat blocks, low shooting and low magic would clash. And that on a quite narrow map.
We randomized a map from the map pack and rolled one of the generic maps. Then we randomized which side would be cut off. You can see the result in the picture. The tropical trees represent a ruin. We had frontline clash as the scenario and I was allowed to choose the side and decided on the one with the field. We deployed unit by unit as first turn, would not be a great advantage anyway. Secondary objective was holding the centre.
During deployment UK put his infantry on one side and the mobile Jabberwock on the other. I set Kraken and Chariot on that side for a potentially easy kill. Additionally I wanted to exploit a weakness in his deployment, by using the building on the left flank to block one unit of Wildhorns, will swinging around with the tower guard. UK got first turn. Missing on the picture are the vanguard movements. My Dark Raiders moved to the centre, while his Hounds moved straight up, but stayed behind the hill.
Movement: He advanced fully, and on such a small map, that makes a visually great impact. The chariots had to move into the ruins, while the Jabberwock stayed out of sight of my units. The Hounds directly place themselves before the Tower Guard to prevent them from advancing.
Magic: 4+3, no channels. Clouded Eye on Wildhorns (4+2), Gnarled Hide on Longhorns (4+2), Blooded Horn on Hounds (4+2) is dispelled (4+1). Gnarled Hide on Wildhorns (3) is dispelled (4+3).
Close Combat: None.
Movement: I decided that I will risk charging the centre Wildhorn Herd with both my cavalry units. With the chance to break that unit I could immediately break through his battle line. Additionally his chariots would still be in the ruins, adding a high potential to get seriously damaged. Both units make contact needing only low rolls. Tower Guard also charges the Hounds. Kraken moves up to be able to get into combat the next turn. The Blades or more cautious, as I don’t want an easy charge by the Longhorns. The Hunting Chariot secures the back of the Kraken and Tower Guard but should have turned more towards the right flank, this way the Jabberwock had a very good movement option, which UK spotted in his turn.
Close Combat: We had some rules troubles here, with how the both chargers are allowed to connect to the enemy. Later we found out, that you only need to maximize front and models in contact, so I would have been allowed to only clip the Dark Raiders and get full exposure of the Acolytes. This way we split 2:3 and the Captain moved to the centre. In the fight my troops kill seven Wildhorns, while the Beasts kill three Dark Raiders. I win the fight but don’t kill enough to break steadfast, so he easily remains there, my plan to break through is thwarted.
Movement: Longhorns and both chariots charge into the fight at the centre. The chariots land in the front and the flank of the Acolytes but get one and two wounds from the dangerous terrain. The Longhorns land in the flank of the Dark Raiders. Jabberwock flies behind my lines and the second Feral Hounds appear from their ambush. The other Wildhorns advance and turn as well.
Magic: 6+3, no channels. Gnarled Hide on Longhorns (5+3), Blooded Horn on Wildhorns (6+3+1) is dispelled (6+6+3), Blooded Horn on Wildhorns (5+3), Black Wing on Raiding Chariot (5+1) is dispelled (6+5+2).
Close Combat: The Impact Hits kill five Dark Acolytes and the Dark Raiders are wiped out. UK forgot his Blooded Horn Totem, but it’s enough anyway to send the Acolytes fleeing who barely make it (10) before being caught by the chariot (9) which is the only pursuer. But now, the Acolytes are blocking the path of the Tower Guard.
Movement: The Blades of Nabh now charge the Raiding Chariot more close to the centre and make it. The Kraken attacks the other Raiding Chariot. Dark Acolytes rally and turn slightly. Tower Guard move up as far as possible. The Hunting Chariot places itself into a good position to shoot the Jabberwock.
Shooting: Hunting Chariot does not hit the Jabberwock.
- The Kraken rolls really bad and only manages a single wound on the chariots. The chariot’s crew also does one wound. The Kraken wins by one, but the chariot does not break.
- The Dread Lord also manages only one successful roll, dealing two wounds to the chariot. The Blades do exactly one wound, killing off the chariot. The Blades overrun into the centre Wildhorn Herd.
Movement: The Hounds charge the back of the Kraken (bad idea), the Jabberwock charges the flank of the Kraken (worse idea) and the Longorn Herd moves backward (worst idea). The Wildhorn Herd on the left flank cannot do much and just turns a little bit.
Magic: 2+1, no channel. Gnarled Hide on Jabberwock (5+2+1) is not dispelled (2+1).
- The Kraken splits its attacks. One on the chariot and three on the Jabberwock. The chariot is missed, but two hits on the Jabberwock result in five wounds, killing the Jabberwock. Stomping deals another three wounds on the Hounds, while the chariot crew wounds the Kraken one more time. The Kraken wins combat by five sending the chariot fleeing, but the hounds remain. The Kraken turns.
- The Blades of Nabh and the Dreadlord make short work of the Wildhorn Herd and overrun into the flank of the Longhorn Herd and dream scenario for them.
The Hunting Chariot moves and clears off the fleeing chariot. We roll the fight and the Longhorns don’t stand a chance against Dread Lord plus 30 Blades of Nabh attacks. As I still have two full ranks, the Longhorns cannot be steadfast are sent running and are wiped out on the move. UK surrenders.
After Battle Analysis
First of all, this was by far the fastest game I ever played. We had only 3000 points and additionally I had no magic and both didn’t have shooting. All in all it took less than three hours, but I am still wondering how this time frame can be the target for all games.
On the mistakes side of things, the movement in UK’s third turn decided the game for me. The Longhorns could easily have charged the Kraken as well, killing it easily. Additionally the Jabberwock could have charged the rear of the Tower Guard and at least distract them for two combat rounds, if not winning combat and directly killing them. In turn two a flee with one chariot would also have been a good option to prevent the horrible overrun into his BSB Wildling Herd at the centre. On my side the first turn charge was obviously too ambitious, I should have waited until the infantry blocks get tangled up.
On the balance side nothing new came up: Blades are cool versus low armour opponents, Headsmen’s Axe is still incredible and the setup of my general will obviously be used very often. Dark Acolytes are great at supporting, but they usually cannot carry a fight on their own, especially not versus ranked up infantry. Magic is not really missed, and the unlucky 2+1 even ruined it for the potentially strong Totem setup, making the Magic phase easily the worst design in the complete game.
All in all a very fun game, which felt a little bit, like „not a real game“, as so many game elements were not present.