Archive for the ‘Postmortem’ Category

Wood Elves vs. Tomb Kings   2 comments

Justin and I managed to get in our match, and while I can’t write a battle report(yet), I did want to say a few words about the game and both armies.

First thing is that there were a lot of quirky things that happened.  This means that there were quite a few laughs, always good when your goal is to enjoy yourself.  I made 3 channelling attempts in a row.  Justin rolled 4 sixes to hit but got no wounds.  He made two killing blows against a unit that is immune.  I forgot ALL my champions for the first few turns.  He forgot that each charioteer gets two attacks.  He then missed casting his spell that gave everyone in his army double-shot, twice. Both times just by one.  And more.  There were lots of silly mistakes, odd dice rolls, funny happenings.

Laughing is cathartic.

Tomb Kings

I can’t write at length about the Tomb Kings so I will do them first.  Justin brought a pretty interesting list to the table.  A level one and two priest buried in a horse archer unit, the casket of souls, two units of chariots, and a unit of three tomb swarm.  He designed his list to stall and take shots at me with magic and bows and it did a great job of putting the pressure on me to engage. The bulk of his spells were dispelled thanks to very lucky Wood Elf dispel dice and a few unfortunate rolls, as mentioned above.  Several times the casket managed its spell effect that causes the target to take a leadership test on three dice and take wounds equal to anything over their Ld stat.  This ability almost eliminated my unit of Treekin.  By the time they had crossed the board and engaged the Casket (killing the Horse Archers on the way) they had been reduced to one model with two wounds left.  All from the casket.  Targeting Forest Spirits with magic attacks is really good.  Other than the casket, Justin’s archers were the next most effective incentive for me to get into close combat as fast as possible.  In a surprise move he held back his chariots and used them to shoot arrows at me.  Wow, annoying. Probably this is the smart way to use them.  When I owned the army he is playing I always tried to advance them up into a charge opportunity but that would only work less than 50% of the time.  This way Justin effectively forced me to move my units into his charge range or be eliminated by ranged attacks.

Wood Elves

I have heard it mentioned that the Wood Elves are by far the weakest army in Warhammer Fantasy right now.  This thinking must be mostly held by the tournament community because on a first perusal of the army book and after my first battle I’m not sure I agree.  At least from the perspective of a very casual gamer.  I’m not sure what hardcore GW gamers use when they build a Wood Elf list but I am going to focus on Forest Spirits.  The Dryads are my favourite models in the army.

Branchwraith

First thing I’d like to mention about my Wood Elf list is what I would call my best purchase of the game, Pageant of Shrikes.  This is a single strength 4 ranged attack with a range of 18″ that is capable of picking out single models in units purchased for the Branchwraith that let my Dryads into battle.  I used this very effectively to eliminate Justin’s level 2 priest in the second turn of the game.  This one thing, I believe, cause me to win the game.  Because of this, and the Branchwraith also being fairly good in combat I would say that she was my MVP.

Dryads

As I mentioned above the Dryads are my favourite model in the Wood Elf army, they just look amazing.  It doesn’t hurt that they are a great close combat unit with some excellent abilities.  They have a natural armour save of 5+ and also a ward save of 5+.  Unfortunately this ward save is circumvented by magic attacks…odd…whatever, I can work around it.  An argument could be made that they are slightly over-costed  coming in at 1 point more than a Saurus Warrior.  The big differences being that the Dryads have a ward save and skirmish whereas the Saurus get all the benefits of being a core regiment (command, unlimited ranks, rank bonuses).  The final perk for them is that they can be joined by a Branchwraith.

Glade Guard

After my first play with them I felt very strongly that they were too expensive for what they could perform on the table but after “unit analysis” conversation with Justin I think that these guys are costed just right compared to most other ranged units.  The key deciding factor for me was that, due to the extra range from longbows, the Glade Guard can get short ranged attacks in outside of almost every close combat units average charge range.  In our game Justin won the first turn and dropped 25% of my Glade Guard with ranged attacks and, of course, they panicked.  Having a very high Ld they rallied but the whole mess took them out of position and caused them not to be able to fire.  One interesting side-effect was that they were in a perfect position to deal with the Tomb Swarm when they surfaced.  Thanks Justin.  Despite a lacklustre showing I will still field at least one group, and probably multiple groups of Glade Guard in the future.

Eternal Guard

These guys don’t really do it for me.  I think they are a capable close combat unit.  Their stats and their special abilities are pretty good.  My interest in them is pretty low.  I misread the note on the Eternal Guard and assumed that if I bought a Noble with the Eternal Kindred that they were core.  Oops!  Though I had enough core without them and enough (just!) room in special with them so I didn’t actually cheat so everything is good.  I didn’t really get to see them perform because of the type of list Justin brought.  He started reducing the Eternal Guard right away and I, in an act of desperation, advanced them quickly, and straight into a charge from some chariots.  They took very heavy casualties.  They still managed to defeat the chariots but that is ALL they did.  Rob has provided me with a full unit of 20 (with a Noble/Highborn added to them) and a nice movement tray to load them on so they will no doubt have a place in my army in that state for the foreseeable future.

As a whole I am pretty happy with the Wood Elves.  I am definitely happy I swapped the High Elves for them.  I was really dreading the thought of all that assembly.  I was pretty worried at the beginning of the game when I saw how Justin’s list was going to work.  Elves started dying all over the place, my archers were out for the first few turns, and I had a wall of chariots on the horizon looking pretty menacing.  In my typical fashion I started getting a little cranky about how the list was performing (sort of a “par for the course” reaction in my head).  Historically I am pretty slow at adopting new army tactics.  I am still trying to figure out the Lizardmen!  Things started turning around after a turn or two of marching to meet Justin’s line.  The charge turn was pretty demoralizing but once the casualties had been removed and everyone held I started feeling better.  Pageant of Shrikes took out a caster, the Dryads laid a smack-down on some chariots, the Eternal Guard held their own.  The tide seemed to be changing.   And, for a change, we played it out to the very end.  Probably because of how close it was.  Could have gone either way.  All this eventually translated into a win for the Elves (Yay!  Sorry Justin.)  Nice to have a brand new force work out, regardless of mistakes, and bring home a win.  All-in-all I felt Justin’s list was a good one, interesting to play against and, despite crumbling during close combat, was fairly strong. I’d like to replay the game to see how it would go with us both learning from our mistakes.

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Back to the spawning pools   5 comments

So Justin and I revisited Warhammer Fantasy last night.  I know he is working on a batrep so keep an eye out for that (his batreps are always a good read … and it is up here – Empire vs. Lizardmen (800pts)), but I wanted to do a postmortem of my list selection.  This is what I used:

Skink Priest – Lvl2+Dispel Scroll
13x Saurus Warriors w/FC
13x Saurus Warriors w/FC
12x Skink Skirmishers
12x Skink Skirmishers
12x Skink Skirmishers
Salamander Hunting Pack

I rolled up Curse of the Midnight Wind and Chain Lightning.

Justin rolled up the scenario and laid out the terrain while he waited for me to arrive.  We got “Blood and Glory” and he prepped a fairly busy table for us.  Different from our last game which was wide open.  This one was a bit more annoying to manoeuvre in but was much more interesting to play out.  Whenever we roll up “Blood and Glory” we ALWAYS say: “hmm, maybe we should roll again.”  And we do.  This time we stuck with it.  Good choice too as it adds an interesting depth being forced to watch out for your banners.  As you can see from my list I started with 4 points, Justin had 6: BSB, 3 banners, and a general.

A few things happened during this game that I wanted to talk about.

The first and foremost is my issue with Skinks.  I have tried on many occasions to get Skinks to be useful on the field and it has provided me with the single largest source of aggravation in my gaming “career”.  I read on forums and see some LM players talking about how they use Skinks and while it seems to make sense theoretically, in practice it doesn’t.  I know, I know, maybe I am just doing it wrong.  There is always that possibility.  Problem with that is I am not an incompetent gamer and I have thought quite a bit about various was for the Skinks to function and most get defeated by all of the negatives working against them.  Lets talk about the negatives now so you know what I mean.

1) Blowpipes.  On paper the blowpipes look great.  Poison.  Double-shot.  Combined with a Skinks decent BS and Move and Shoot should be pretty good right?  Should be.  Problem is the range of the blowpipe is 12″, Skirmisher formation is pretty spread out, and Skinks still take a penalty for being more than half range away.  All these things combine to make it almost impossible to shoot without either a) being way too close or b) not double-tapping.

2) Fleeing.  A Flee reaction to a charge moves the unit 2d6″ directly away.  Not 2d6″ + Movement.  The book justifies this by saying the fleeing unit is disorganised and panicking.  IMO skirmishers should not suffer this penalty because their whole point is to get close enough to shoot and then disperse when they are attacked.  To be forced to flee (read: Panic) when a charge is declared is ridiculous.  So having your movement (flee) range reduced to 2″ to 12″ from what should be 8″ (2 + 6″ move) to 20″ (12 + 6″ move) makes selecting a flee reaction to a charge highly variable.  If you get away, great, rally and fire next turn.  If you don’t you get overrun.  Against CAV you will “always” get overrun, against infantry you will almost always get overrun.  Not good odds.  Sorry to pull the math-hammer thing but sometimes, when a unit isn’t working for you, you need to do some analysis as to why.

3) Stand and “Oh, I guess I can’t” Shoot.  Combine what I said about the blowpipe drawbacks with the Stand and Shoot reaction and you’ll see that, because the Blowpipes are not Quick to Fire (like the Javelins are) if the Skinks are close enough to a unit to be effective they are too close to stand and shoot AND much to close to run away.  How is this a good situation to be in?

4) Fourth and finally, they aren’t very fun to use.  I discussed (read: ranted about) this at length last night.  A unit of 12 skirmishers is slightly more expensive than a single Salamander but the differences are dramatic.  The Salamander is easy to move around on the table, often very effective, and fun to shoot with.  Often the result of a Salamanders attack is, get this, laughter.  Either because the template drifts, or a misfire at a critical moment, or an awesome shot that envelops a pile of enemies in fiery death!  It is fun to find out what will happen.  The Skinks are exactly opposite.  They are hard to get around on the table, irritating to use, and almost never effective.

At the end of the day I feel like the only good thing about the Skinks are the models.  They look great.  And, as is the case with all the models I think look great, they suck.  You may disagree with me, or not.  I would love to hear some feedback about it that isn’t just, “Yeah, I run lots of Skinks and win tournaments all the time.  Skinks are awesome.”  Please address my concerns, correct me where I have made a mistake or misinterpreted something, give me some strategy advice, explain why it is I should have just been using javelin skirmishers all along, etc…  Thanks for any input.

The next thing is play frequency.  I don’t play very often and one of the things I bump into a lot is the demoralising critical mistake that often gets made due to lake of experience.  I.E. letting my unit with my only priest get overrun.  There are a couple of reasons why these things hit so hard and this is sort of a “time-capsule of self-encouragement”, so to speak.  Looking back to my time as a Warmachine player I remember the early battles where a lucky shot might take out an important system on your heavy ‘jack, or take out the ‘jack completely.  It was tough not to just scoop up your army and say; “well that sucked, good game anyhow, I guess.”  Back then I was able to play more frequently and, since WM was the game du jour, got multiple games in per week.  After a few hits like that you start to get used to the feeling that you have been robbed and keep playing.  You quickly learn that something that looks debilitating to your army often isn’t as bad as you think, you may not win but it isn’t completely lost.  During last nights game I lost a unit of Skinks with a priest.  That was all my magic and just a bit more than 25% of my total points.  I stood, head pounding, eye twitching, for a few moments to calm myself.  (Note: I was angry at myself for not realising in advance the inevitable outcome of my choice to flee)  In retrospect it was obvious what was going to happen.  Once calm, I then thought to myself “Just call it, you are doomed.”  I then thought back to many previous conversations I have had with Justin about working past that initial demoralization and I decided to go on.  This was the best decision I could have made.  The battle was very close and there were points where had a die roll been slightly better I probably would have won the day.  I turned what would have been a negative game into a positive game just by playing it out and seeing that what happened to me wasn’t actually as bad as I thought.  The key is playing fairly frequently which, unfortunately, isn’t possible for me right now so I just need to remember to make the bast of what I have left after one of these incidents.

Finally, I managed to cast Chain Lightning.  It is one of those spells that people tend to hold dispel dice to make sure it doesn’t get cast and it has never before been cast successfully as far as I can remember.  It only jumped once and only killed 3 models but it was still great fun.

Thanks for reading.