Introduction

It was blood versus blood time again. The Highborn Elves and the Dread Elves. A hate-hate relationship only manageable with blood ties. My good friend SH brought on his host of arrow wielding Highborn aiming to pierce the armour of my Dread Elves from afar and claiming victory without every getting dirty in close combat.

My army on the other side was seeking that very thing like no other. It had close combat written all over. So it was Sword versus Arrow.

We played 4500 points with standard 1.3.4 rule set and without modifications. For the map we randomly determined one map from the map set.

The game took place on 2017-04-09 at my new home.

The Bleak Legion

  • Dread Prince – Army General, Manticore, Flaming Lance, Talisman of Supreme Shielding, Dragonscale Helm, Heavy Armour, Shield
  • Captain – Battle Standard Bearer, Elven Horse, Heavy Armour, Shield, Lance, Midnight Cloak
  • 5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
  • 5x Dark Raiders – Repeater Crossbows
  • 26x Blades of Nabh – Full Command, Banner of Speed
  • 30x Executioners – Full Command Stalker’s Standard
  • Medusa – Paired Weapons 
  • 5x Raven Cloaks 
  • Raptor Chariot
  • 7x Dread Knights – Champion, Standard Bearer
  • 6x Dread Knights – Champion, Standard Bearer, Gleaming Icon
  • 5x Harpies

So for this battle I brought a Nabh heavy list of close combat units. My plan was to have two solid bricks of Infantry able to wipe out most of the opposing units when facing them head on. All the over stuff is „just there“ to make that happen supporting the blocks and being a hindrance to the enemy. The Dread Knights are there to have a fast and tough component that is able to attack enemy back lines as well as provide a punch in a close Combat. As I want to be in combat quickly, I neglected Magic and instead went for more units.

Highborn Elves

  • High Prince Army General, High Warden of the Flame, Great Bow of Elu, Mithril Mail, Potion of Swiftness Halberd
  • Commander – Queen’s Companion, Dragonforged Armour, Shield, Moonlight Arrows, Longbow, Hero’s Sword, Lucky Charm
  • Commander – Queen’s Companion, Dragonforged Armour, Shield, Moonlight Arrows, Longbow
  • Sea Guard Reaper
  • Sea Guard Reaper
  • Sea Guard Reaper
  • 3x Reaver Chariots
  • 3x Reaver Chariots
  • 5x Knights of Ryma – Full Command, War Banner of Ryma
  • Fire Phoenix
  • 15x Archers – Full Command
  • 15x Archers – Full Command
  • 15x Archers – Full Command
  • 5x Elein Reavers – Musician

SH tries it again! It is a list focusing as much as possible on the power of a lot of Arrows flying my way. The twist is of course that he has a lot of hammers with the Chariots and Knights to intercept my advancing troops. Also this shooting list is by definition more static than a Sylvan Elves list. This is made up for by the raw shooting power provided by the Reapers.

Terrain, Magic, Deployment

For scenario we got frontline clash and Breakthrough. The former one is not ideal for me, but Breakthrough is certainly advantageous for me.

Once again the map came from the map Pack. We did not have any Magic so no Spells to be determined.

After SH put down his first unit of Archers I immediately deployed my whole army to get first turn. My plan was quite simple, so I put the rank and file on the both sides of the centre third of table. On the flanks the Dread Knights and other fast elements are deployed while my characters stay in centre to provide their leadership bonuses.

The Highborn tried to barricade them into a corner on the battle field. Everything went on the left side of the table, trying to strand my right flank with no enemies to face.

After his drops, we still had vanguard and scouts to deploy. Having deployed first, I got first turn.

Dread Elves – Turn 1

Movement: After the Highborn Elein Reavers where somewhat aggressive with their vanguard move, I had opted to not move my Dark Raiders on the left flank. This gave me the possibility to charge the Elein Reavers, which was successful (5+4+2 needing 7+). Their stand & shoot proofed to be ineffective.

The other troops advance, mainly on the right flank. The Blades of Nabh stay behind the wall for now, while the other troops mainly try to use the hill as cover. The Dread Knights on the left flank do the same, the Executioners and Raptor Chariot see no other choice than to advance, while the Dread Lord moves his Manticore to the centre, exploiting the fact, that the Archers are a little bit too near to be comfortable now.

Magic: None.

Shooting: Raven Cloaks deal a whooping three wounds on the Reaver Chariots

Close Combat: The Dark Raiders deal three wounds, the Elein Reaver deal one in return. The Reavers flee from the table, the Raider overrun from the table.

Highborn Elves – Turn 1

Movement: Movement is nearly insignificant. The Knights of Ryma advance and threaten the Dread Knights with their superior movement. The Chariots on the right flank turn somewhat. The Archers shuffle backwards in the centre, the Phoenix also moves there, behind the lines.

Magic: None.

Shooting:

  • Archers on Executioners: 4 wounds.
  • Reaver Chariots on Executioners: 1 wound.
  • Reaver Chariots on Raven Cloaks: No wounds.
  • Archer with characters on Manticore: No wounds.
  • Sea Guard Reapers on Executioners: 8 wounds.
  • After the game we saw this as a clear mistake in targeting the Manticore. The Archers could have killed several more Executioners easily.

Close Combat: None.

Dread Elves – Turn 2

Movement: My opponent gave my Raven Cloaks an opening and they charged the flank of the chariots, which was successful (5+). The Manticore charged the Archers on 9+ and failed. The rest of my army, especially on the right flank now tried to close in, with the Chariots occupied. In the centre, the Executioners just marched on, the Raptor Chariot turning to the left to attack the Knights of Ryma should they dare to move towards the centre. The Dread Knights have no choice but to retreat. The Dark Raiders threaten the Sea Guard Reapers.

Magic: None.

Shooting:

  • Dark Raiders on Reapers: No wounds.
  • Dark Raiders on Fire Phoenix: Two wounds!

Close Combat: Raven Cloaks deal two wounds on the chariots. In return the Reaver Chariots fluff their attacks. The Chariots flee, but the Raven Cloaks pursue into the flank of the Archers. This is looking like a perfect day to be a Dread Elf scout.

Highborn Elves – Turn 2

Movement: The Reaver Chariots on the left flank see their chance and charge the Executioners. They make it in. As does the Fire Phoenix.

The other chariots rally and face towards the right flank.

Magic: None.

Shooting:

  • Sea Guard Reaper and one of the heroes on Dark Raiders: Eliminate them.
  • Remaining two Reapers on Manticore: No wounds.
  • Archers on Blades of Nabh: No wounds (hard cover and long distance)
  • Archers on Manticore: No wounds.

Close Combat: The impact hits kill all but eleven Executioners. Still enough for a hefty counter attack. All in all the Highborn kill 16 Executioners, while the Executioners deal nine wounds to the chariots. The Executioners flee and are wiped out, by the pursuing chariots and Fire Phoenix.

In the other combat, the Raven Cloaks kill three Archers. The Archers manage to kill one. The Archers break and are caught. The Raven Cloaks pursue into the flank of the other Archers unit.

Dread Elves – Turn 3

Movement: Manticore charges the Reaver Chariots, who flee from the battlefield. The Manticore redirects into the Archers, the Raptor Chariot charges the flank of the Fire Phoenix. The other troops advance, with the Dark Raiders with my BSB making it very far. Meanwhile the Dread Knights on the left flank use the opening to threaten the Reapers.

Magic: None.

Shooting:

  • Dark Raiders shoot on Archers and deal two wounds.

Close Combat: Archers are easily wiped out, the Manticore overruns from the battlefield. The Raptor Chariot kills the Fire Phoenix, who does not come back.

Highborn Elves – Turn 3

Movement: The Knights of Ryma charge the Blades of Nabh and make it in. The remaining Reaver Chariot charges the Raptor Chariot. The Archers turn around and face the onslaught from the right flank. The general moves out of the unit and places itself in the front of the Dread Knights to prevent them from reaching the Archers or the Sea Guard Reapers.

Magic: None.

Shooting:

  • Archers on Dark Raiders: Complete wipe out.
  • Sea Guard Reapers on Dread Knights: No wounds. Very lucky for me here.

Close Combat: The Knights of Ryma deal impressive nine wounds, but receive two in return. The Blades lose their frenzy, but remain steadfast. The Reaver Chariot deals one wound to the Raptor Chariot on the charge, but is destroyed.

Dread Elves – Turn 4

Movement: The Dread Knights charge the lonely Elf, the Raptor Chariot the flank of the Knights of Ryma. Rest of the troops advances on the tiny little corner of the Highborn Elves.

Magic: None.

Shooting: None.

Close Combat: Raptor Chariot rolls high on impact hits and destroys the Knights on those alone. The Chariot overruns. The Elvish Lord kills two Dread Knights and his armour holds against all attacks. The combat is a draw.

Rest of the Game

In the upcoming turns, the Dread Elf might crushes the Highborn utterly. The Archers don’t stand a chance against the Manticore, Dread Knights, Medusa, etc. The High Prince manages to fight some rounds against the Dread Knights, but in one unlucky phase where there were no wounds, he flees and is run down.

The game ends in an uncontested brutal victory of the Dread Elves.

After Battle Analysis

Tactics:

  • SH forgot his chariots can vanguard. Even after me pointing that out to him, he still thought, they didn’t have it. Obviously a vanguard of the right set of chariots towards the Raven Cloaks would have resulted in a whole other game. It does however make clear: Without a ranked unit you cannot ignore a threat to your flank ever, even if its just some S3, T3, 6+ dudes.
  • Once again I think if you play passive/shooty and are willing to offer a flank to your enemy you absolutely need something there to stop unhindered advancement. In this game, e.g. the Fire Phoenix could have threatened any brazen advancements on that flank and easily dispatch the Raven Cloaks.
  • Be super careful with your vanguard when not beginning combat. A common pitfall I also stepped into quite often, and something your opponent will most likely punish you for severly. In this game, the Elein Reavers were just too far ahead and didn’t account for the Dark Raiders to skip their vanguard and attack instead.

Units & Balancing:

  • Double zero on magic, in an all elven game: Big „boo“ towards the people deciding, that magic should be optional.
  • Not much on my list: The Manticore general is quite effective if I need another fast heavy hitter. I liked the combination with my fast BSB, they were quite a hard counter to my opponent’s list, but I think they would have been strong in most matchups. The Raven Cloaks were phenomenal, again hugely favoured by the opponent’s setup. Dread Knights, Medusa and Blades of Nabh could not really shine, while the Executioners had to suffer the most impact from shooting.
  • On the Highborn list, I maintain my judgement: These lists do not work very well in the balancing approach that T9A took. It lacked stuff to keep the enemy from advancing in full speed and lacked stuff that could hold at least a little bit. The Reaver Chariots are nice, but if they do not get the charge, are also very weak.
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