1.3 Dread Elves vs. Vermin Swarm

Introduction

Good news! My local T9A group is growing. SW joined us a short time ago and we quickly set up a game at my place. He brought his excellently painted Vermin Swarm to stand against my Dread Elves and the power of the dice gods.

As we started quite late in the evening, I had to save some time and only took notes of major events, so the detail of description will be a little bit lower than you may be used to. I also didn’t take pictures so often and have no army shots. Sorry!

We played a game with 4500 points following the 1.3 rules with the latest updates. For the map we used the map pack. The battle took place on 2017-01-30.

The Bleak Legion

  • Dread Prince – Army General, Elven Horse, Midnight Cloak, Jack’s Pickaxe, Dragonscale Helm
  • Cult Priest – Battle Standard Bearer, Divine Altar (Paired Weapons), Cult Of Yema, Hero’s Sword
  • Oracle – Wizard Master, 3 Spells, Path of Divination, Skullsplitter,Scroll of Shielding, Ring of Shadows
  • 35x Dread Legionnaires – Full Command, Icon of the Relentless Company
  • 5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
  • 7x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
  • 12x Dancers of Yema
  • 5x Dark Acolytes – Cult of Yema, Champion
  • 10x Raven Cloaks – Great Weapons
  • Kraken
  • Hunting Chariot

My list was surely suffering from „wanting to do too many things at once“. I wanted a Midnight Cloak Prince, but also a Wizard Master and some Acolyte magic support. Also an Altar and use Dancers after having fielded Tower Guard and Executioners in the past. This caused some problems during list building, which could have been avoided by reducint the things I wanted to do. In hindsight I probably should have decided either on Oracle or on Dread Prince and use the free points to maximise that strategy.

Overall I expected to have to come close to my opponent fast, as my usual Vermin opponents brought Weapon Teams, Catapults and other shooty stuff to the table.

Vermin Swarm

  • Vermin Daemon – 4 Spells, Deceiver, Path of Occultism
  • Plague Prophet – Plague Pendulum, Wizard Apprentice, 1 Spell, Path of Shamanism, Ring of Fire, Halberd
  • 25x Rats-At-Arms – Spears, Musician, Standard Bearer
  • 10x Footpads – Vanguard
  • 25x Plague Brotherhood – Standard Bearer, Gleaming Icon, Musician
  • 15x Plague Brotherhood
  • 25x Slaves
  • 25x Slaves
  • 14x Plague Disciples
  • 14x Plague Disciples
  • 6x Vermin Hulks
  • 8x Grenadiers
  • Dreadmill
  • Dreadmill

So SW brought nothing I ever thought of. A full on close combat and frenzied army designed to never panic, but get into combat and teach you a lesson. Luckily I did not bring a lot of things depending on armour, as he had a lot of potential for toxic hits.

Terrain, Magic, Deployment

We got general map #11 from randomizing the game table. With two water features it certainly did not favour the one having to walk across the map. Otherwise terrain was quite sparse. We rolled classic frontline crash for the scenario and secure target for the objectives.

Spells saw the Plague Prophet getting Awaken the Beast and the Vermin Daemon getting The Rot Within, Breath of Corruption, Grave Calls, and Marked for Doom (after rolling 2, 5, 6, 6). My Oracle rolled 2, 5, 6 and got Unerring Strike, Know thy Enemy and traded Portent of Doom for Scrying. Not the spells I wanted as I would surely liked Fate’s Judgement and especially The Star’s Align better than spells #5 and #6.

After setting down some not so important units on both sides, I decided to grab first turn after getting a good feelding of what would be going on. The main combat would take place on my half-left side, while the right side I wanted to dominate with my mobility. I made a horrible mistake in placing the oracle with the Legionnaires and should have put here into the Dancers (switchting to Raven Cloaks afterwards) to clear out the right side and then move to the left.

Dread Elves – Turn 1

Movement: Movement was nothing surprising. All units with ranged tools moved into range or stayed (Raven Cloaks) to fire. The left Dark Raiders moved to the right to also shoot on the footpads.

Magic: 6+5, no channel. Huge start here, but actually I needed a low phase (2+2 would have been ideal) more to cast that Unerring Strike on the Vermin Daemon. Scrying on Legionnaires (3+2+2) is successful and Guiding Light is cast on the Dark Raiders. Unerring Strike (6+5+5+1) is dispelled with six dice on equality. Since my Acolytes were the only ones not pushing into range for spells, I decided to stop casting right there.

Shooting:

  • Raven Cloaks and both Dark Raiders fire on the Footpads, killing all but one. The remaining footpad stands his panic check.
  • The Hunting Chariot aims at the Vermin Daemon, but misses.

Close Combat: None.

Vermin Swarm – Turn 1

Movement: The Vermin Swarm tries a long charge of the Plague Disciples on the Dark Raiders, but fail those (10+). The Doomwheel on the left moves average eleven inches, but cannot get nearer to my troops than the Vermin’s own. The other ones steers towards the back of the Disciples to prevent moving to far. The remaining Footpad flees behind the building and the other troops advance in an orderly fashion, while the Globadiers shuffle behind the lines to the centre.

Magic: 5+1, no channels. Pyroclastic Flow on Dark Raiders (6+5) kills three. Marked for Doom on the Oracle (6+3+2) is dispelled with all five dice. Breath of Corruption (3) fails the casting roll.

Shooting:

  • Both Doomwheels manage to refrain from shooting their own kind.

Close Combat: None.

Dread Elves – Turn 2

Movement: On the right flank, I opted for a flank charge of the Dark Acolytes on the flank of the Dreadmill. Since they were not in range for the Altar blessing, the blessing continued on granting Lethal Strike. The Dark Acolytes made it on a 9+. Thank you Yema Upgrade! On the right side, the Dancers had to scramble a little bit to get around the Raven Cloaks, which I wanted to stand still to get off some nice shooting. The Dark Raiders made the long way around the enemy into the sweet „I can shoot you all day long and you can’t do anything about it“ zone.

On the left side movement was more complicated, I arranged my units for continued shooting and spellcasting and tried to zone the enemy with Dread Prince and Kraken. In the centre the Dark Raiders also moved out of charge arc.

Magic: 6+1, both sides channel. The big Unerring Strike (5+5+5+2) scores high again, but is dispelled with all seven dice. The remaining dice go into a Breath of Corruption on the Dark Acolyte champion, which is successful as is the Scrying on the Legionnaires.

Shooting:

  • Combined shooting deals five wounds on the Plague Disciples on the right flank
  • The Hunting Chariot hits and wounds the Vermin Daemon. The Ward Save fails and the crew gets lucky and deals three wounds.

Close Combat: While the Breath of Corruption fails to do anything, the remaining Acolytes do two wounds only. The Dreadmill does not wound, loses by four and flees off the table.

A lucky turn for me, even with the Unerring Strike dispelled. The Acolytes made the long charge and won the combat, with the Dreadmill fleeing directly off the table. Shooting was pretty normal, but that one hit from the Hunting Chariot made it very good.

Vermin Swarm – Turn 2

Movement: The Slaves in the centre make a charge on the Legionnaires to distract them for a round, which succeeds and to make way for the Plague Disciples for a 9+ charge on the Kraken, which fails. The troops on the right flank stand their Frenzy tests besides low leadership and advance in an orderly fashion. The Dreadmill on the far left flank moves forward quite a bit and into range for some shooting. The rest of the troops creafully shuffle forward with the second unit of slaves blocking the centre.

Magic: 5+3, Dread Elves channel. Fireball (3+1+1) is dispelled (6+4). Awaken the Beast (6+2) on the Plague Brotherhood is successful. Rot Within (2+1+1) fails.

Shooting:

  • The Globadiers kill two Dark Raiders.
  • Elein Reavers on Raven Cloaks (left): One wound.

Close Combat: None.

Dread Elves – Turn 3

Movement: The Dancers finally make it before the Raven Cloaks and are there to bait the enemy into a charge. The Raven Cloaks once more stand still to shoot better, the Dark Raiders move into shooting as well. The Dark Acolytes make it around the backside to set up rear charges and be able to cast some spells.

My main troops on the left side shuffle back, the Dread Prince switches sides to prevent a charge of the Dreadmill into the Legionnaire flank. The remaining Dark Raiders chaff up the Plague Brotherhood.

Magic: 6+4, Vermin channel. Unerring Strike (6+4+4+2) is dispelled with all seven dice. Grave Calls (four dice) is successful and kills all eight Globadiers. Scrying on Legionnaires is successful once more.

Shooting:

  • Hunting Chariot misses.
  • Raven Cloaks and Dark Raiders on Plague Disciples kill five, leaving nine

Close Combat: None.

Vermin Swarm – Turn 3

Movement: It was time for moving in. As my movement of the Dread Prince was very poor, I left him open to a charge of the Vermin Daemon. My prince flees and the Daemon re-directs into the Legionnaires. Those are also charged by the Vermin Hulks. The Slaves try to make way by charging the Kraken. The Plague Brotherhood charge the Dark Raiders. The two units on the right flank also charge, the Plague Disciples are an easy-in into the Dancers of Yema, but the Plague Brotherhood barely touches the Raven Cloaks we let a die roll decide and it tells us, there would be contact. They make the 9+ charge.

But the Slaves fail, and so block the Vermin Hulks, who would most likely have made contact with the Legionnaires. This leaves the Daemon who succeeds in his charge to fight the big block alone.

The Dread Mill moves into my backfield and threatens the Seeing his mage dying on the battle field, the Highborn Elves did finally commit to the attack. The High Prince charges the Auxiliaries. I hope he wouldn’t make than ten, but he does survicing the stand & shoot without a scratch. The Flame Wardens fail their 8+ charge on the Tower Guard so the Giant Eagle steps in front of them to prevent a counter charge. The Elein Reavers rally. The Citizen Archers shuffle backwards out of short RXB range (they weren’t technically allowed, as they didn’t have a Musician, but we failed to notice). The Reaver Chariots once more charge a unit of Blades of Nabh standing directly before them.

Magic: 5+4, no channels. Rot Within (2+2+2) once again fails. Breath of Corruption (3+3) is successful (don’t know how many Legionnaires die). Grave Calls (6+6+4+2) is successful. It targets my general and he sacrifices some Slaves to make it stronger. It generates nine hits and flat out kills my general (apparently the Midnight Cloak had some quality problems). The miscast however also deals three wounds, killing the Daemon as well.

Shooting: None.

Close Combat:

  • The Plague Disciples deal some auto-hits, but the Dancers ward save keeps of the most. The Dancers kill all but two Disciples and win the close combat and catch the breaking Disciples losing three Dancers in the process.
  • The Plague Brotherhood kills two Raven Cloaks and loses one Rat in return. The Raven Cloaks flee and the Rats can’t catch them.
  • The Plague Brotherhood easily kills and overruns the Dark Raiders.

Dread Elves – Turn 4

Movement: The Blessing now grants re-rolls to charge on the Vermin Hulks. The Kraken tries to charge and makes it on the re-roll. The Legionnaires charge the Slaves, who flee, so they redirect into the Hulks as well, rolling Double-One first then making it on the re-roll as well. The Hunting Chariot puts itself into shooting position on the Dreadmill, the Dancers and Acolytes and Dark Raiders turn towards the centre. The Raven Cloaks rally and await the next charge.

Magic: Scrying (6+6+3) kills four of my Legionnaires and the miscast basically ends my magic phase by sucking away an extra die.

Shooting:

  • Hunting Chariot misses the Dread Mill.
  • Dark Raiders shoot on the Plague Disciples or kill the last Footpad, I am not sure anymore.

Close Combat: The combined killing power of Kraken and Legionnaires easily decimates the Vermin Hulks. The Kraken overruns and catches the Slaves, the Legionnaires turn around.

Vermin Swarm – Turn 4

Movement: The Vermin force turns around, while the Plague Brotherhood on the far flank charges the Raven Cloaks, who stand.

Magic: Awaken the Beast once more buffes the strength of the Plague Brotherhood and the Ring of Fire spits fire against the Kraken, which is shielded by the magic scroll. The Kraken suffers one wound.

Shooting: None.

Close Combat: The Plague Brotherhood defeats all but two Raven Cloaks, they flee again and again the Plague Brotherhood can’t catch them.

Rest of the Game

I have the chance to combo charge the Plague Brotherhood with nearly all my forces as the Acolytes and the Dancers rear charge the Plague Disciples and have a good chance to overrun into the the back of the Plague Brotherhood. In the end I decide against it, which most likely was an error. I would have had a good chance to kill all Rats leaving the Plague alone on his chariot.

In the end I charged and defeated the Plague disciples, who broke and got annihilated. The Acolytes and Dancers overran into the back of the Plague Brotherhood keeping them in combat till the end of the game and rolling just bad enough so that the Pendulum was not allowed to strike. As I misplaced my Kraken I couldn’t even charge the Rats-At-Arms and therefore had to give up the secondary objective.

In the end, the secondary objective made it into a narrow 11-9 victory for the Dread Elves.

After Battle Analysis

The Yema Acolytes proofed to be very, very good. Their spells are deadly and M10 is just fantastic. I like them much more than the non-yema variant.

The Vermin Swarm list from SW was also quite new to me, as expected the Dreadmills make a huge impact on the game and are hard to contain. I probably should have used the Kraken to oppose it. Having T4 on all relevant combat rank and file units is also very handy against small arms fire and somehow does not feel very rat like.

Divination magic left me with mixed feelings. Unerring Strike is certainly good, but the inability to choose the spells can screw you anytime. Additionally the range of 18“ is ridiculous. You never want to get this close to opponents with your expensive wizard. I will probably only play this with either a second Oracle or more likely with the Wandering Familiar.

My main gripe balance wise in the game is the Ring of Fire. It grants too easy access to a cheap and potent magic missile, even to armies who don’t have access to Pyromancy.

 

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