Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Hard Day's Battle

Whew. . .just got back from a Warhammer tournament today in Manchester, CT.  I don't know about any of you, but I can never walk away from three 2+ hour rounds and not have a headache.  I've never quite figured out why, but I think it has something to do with a nerd adrenaline crash or somesuch.  Anyhow, I had three interesting battles today.  Here's the list I brought to the table:

Dwarf Lord -- Master Rune of Kragg the Grim (GW can have runes), Rune of Fury (+1 Attack), Rune of Snorri Spangelhelm (+1 To Hit), Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Spite (4+ Ward Save), Shieldbearers, Great Weapon
Runelord -- Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Balance (Steal a power die, make it a dispel die), Great Weapon
Thane -- BSB, Master Rune of Grungni (All Dwarfs within 6" get a 5+ Ward against shooting), Rune of Slowness (subtract D6" from enemy charges), Rune of Battle (+1 Combat Resolution)
40 x Longbeards  -- Great Weapons, Shields, Musician, Standard Bearer, Rune of Battle, Ancestor Rune (once per game, Stubborn on a 4+)
20 x Quarrelers -- Shields
30 x Ironbreakers -- Rune of Battle
Cannon -- Rune of Forging (re-roll one misfire per shooting phase), Rune of Burning (flaming attacks)
Stone Thrower -- Rune of Accuracy (can re-roll scatter die), 2 x Runes of Penetrating (+1 Strength per rune)
Organ Gun

Round One
I was actually surprised by my opponent for the first round.

Now, I've dabbled with greenskins myself (played for about two years), but given the 7th Edition slant against large units of cheap infantry, they were never overly popular.  In today's tournament, there were actually two greenskin players, and I had one across the table round one.  My opponent was definitely a nice guy, and we had a great chat as the game progressed.  On to the game.  The first two rounds saw his giant felled by missile and artillery fire, though I did little other damage.  My stone thrower misfired and destroyed itself, and the organ gun, which had a beautiful shot at a lone gobbo lord, misfired and didn't shoot at all before getting run down and destroyed by spider riders.  The cannon managed to do some damage to his giant, but suffered the same fate as the organ gun at the hands of goblin wolf riders.

The center of the board saw most of the action at first.  I charged two snotling bases with my longbeards and lord to close the gap, summarily slaughtered them and overran into twenty black orcs.  I was hoping another pair of his snotling bases would prevent his black orc warboss and unit of twenty boys from counter-charging said longbeards, but, sadly, that was not to be, and the greenskins crashed into my flank.  He managed to do some damage to my longbeards, since I was equipped with great weapons and struck last, and he had units striking at Strength 4 and Strength 5.  This turned out to be a great example of how insane a Horde unit of great weapon-toting Longbeards can be, though.  After sucking up a flank charge and some wounds, I managed to slay fourteen black orcs, causing both of his units to break (he needed snake eyes).  Hatred is a beautiful thing, by the way, especially when you have about twenty attacks that hit on threes and kill on twos.

My opponent's army began to fall apart a bit at this point.  His general's unit did manage to rally, though the black orcs, reduced below 25%, never did and fled the table.  The boys fled from a charge from my longbeards (can you blame them?), panicked his big 'un unit and a chariot, and left the remainder of his army in a conga line towards one of the short board edges.  Meanwhile, his gobbo lord on flying carpet (yes, there really is a flying carpet as a magic item now), spider riders and wolf riders snuck around my army and eliminated my quarrelers.  In the last few turns of the game, my longbeards managed to fail a 10" charge against his general, and ended up getting charged by both of his remaining units.  I took a LOT of wounds, and was down quite a bit in combat resolution, but that 50/50 shot at being Stubborn with the Ancester Rune really saved my butt, and allowed for my Ironbreakers to charge in and save the day.  I broke both of his units from combat at the top of Turn Six, but failed to run down either one, and both rallied instead of fleeing the board, so I was refused points for both blocks of orcs and his general.

I ended the game with a Victory, and received +2 Battle Points for capturing more points of magic items, so I was sitting pretty with 17 points.

Round Two
I faced another obscure army for round two, this one more so than my previous opponent.

This battle was an interesting one.  To start the game, my opponent deployed toward the edge of his deployment zone, and with his two units of archers, two catapults and the Casket of Souls, wasn't planning on moving, which left the not-so-fleet-footed Dwarfs to hoof it.  And hoof it they did.  I wasn't too afraid of his S3 stone thrower shots, until four per turn starting raining onto my Longbeards.  After three rounds of his shooting, my 'Beards were nickled and dimed down to about half strength, and my stone thrower had destroyed itself.  But twenty Longbeards and a Dwarf Lord were still up to the task of charging and destroying a unit of twenty skeleton bowmen with a Tomb Prince, finally bringing our armies into contact.  By the way, my war machines managed to eliminate his war machines outright, so I didn't have to worry about them any more. . .right when I reached their minimum range.

If the first three turns belonged to my opponent, I wrenched control away from him now.  After their victory against the bowmen, the Longbeards reformed and charged a unit of Tomb Guard with the Hierophant in it.  Just to be sure, I used five attacks from the unit AND all of my Lord's attacks to kill that hierophant dead.  For those not experienced against Tomb Kings, this means his army starts to crumble (they take Leadership tests with their low leadership, and lose a model for every point they fail by).  At this point, the game was more or less sealed.  He charged the Ironbreakers with a unit of twenty skeletons and another priest, and tried to tap dance his Ushabti into position for a flank charge, but I had maneuvered my Ironbreakers to make that a daunting task.  The 'Breakers used the next four rounds of combat to wipe the skellies, while my quarrelers and cannon handled the Ushabti.  The Longbeards sucked up a flank charge from another unit of skeletons while still fighting the tomb guard, killed both units, and then turned around to eat more skeleton bowmen and the Casket of Souls.  I tabled my opponent in the bottom of turn six for a Devastating Victory with four points from modifiers, for a total of 24 points on the round and 41 thus far.

Round Three
My third match was definitely my hardest.

So not only are Vampire Counts a solid army, but they were being fielded by someone whom I know to be a very decent player.  Also, I wish I had pictures of his army, because it's sweet (and won Best Army!).  I began the game with the most ridiculous round of shooting I've seen in many a day.  My warmachines, which had been lackluster all day, destroyed a unit of fifteen Grave Guard AND a Black Coach before they even moved.  Turn two, my organ gun and quarrelers shot down a vampire on winged nightmare that had a 2+ armor save and a 3+ ward save against shooting.  Of course, this was the last thing my war machines did, as the cannon was charged by fell bats and the stone thrower by ghouls, then the organ gun blew itself up.

Unfortunately, I had deployed my Longbeards and Ironbreakers too far apart, and the 'Beards were getting slowed down by Bat Swarms and Zombies, leaving the 'Breakers to fight the rest of the army on their own.  They held up pretty well.  Around turn three they were charged by a block of skeletons with a Wight King BSB and a vampire.  The enemy unit was bumped to Weapon Skill 7 by the vampire lord's Crown of Command (such an irritating item!), so now I needed fours to hit and he needed threes.  The units ground away at each other for a few turns, but then disaster struck.  For starters, my battle standard bearer was struck with Killing Blow and died an inglorious death.  Then my Runelord was killed in a challenge by the vampire.  And then the unit was rear-charged by a unit of thirty Ghouls (ranked ten-wide), who had Vanhel's Danse Macabre cast on them, so they struck first and re-rolled failed rolls to hit.

Never allow a horde unit of ghouls to be affected by Vanhel's.  I sucked up forty-one (yes, 41) Poisoned attacks with a re-roll.  There were roughly sixteen poison auto-wounds, and some twenty-two or so hits, which led to another eight wounds.  It was a miracle I only lost seven Ironbreakers.  Between being slaughtered by ghouls and losing static combat res, I broke from combat.  The dice gods smiled on me and frowned on Greg, however, as I managed to escape with my unit somewhat intact on a Flee roll of seven.  The Longbeards, finally clear of any further obstructions, charged the remaining unit of skeletons in the flank as the Ironbreakers rallied to face the ghouls.  My lord somehow managed to fail at his attempt to cause any wounds on Greg's BSB (five attacks, fours to hit, threes to wound. . .really, Dwarf Lord?).  Over the next two rounds of combat, though, I did manage to destroy the entire unit of skeletons.  Meanwhile, the ghouls charged the Ironbreakers, killed one, lost two in return, ended up losing combat by one, but didn't lose further models because the battle standard was right there.

When the dust settled, the only thing that saved me was the fact that I had both expensive blocks of infantry alive, as well as my dwarf lord.  After a real nail-biter, I managed a victory with a +2 modifier, rounding out the day at a total of 58 Battle Points.  When scores were tallied, I ended up going home with second place.  First place was a new Island of Blood boxed set, and I won $60 in store credit, which I promptly spent.

Ah, the spoils of war!  I, of course, toasted my victory and saluted the victorious dead with a tankard of ale (okay, Bud Light, but it was all I had!).  After all, I wouldn't want to upset the Ancestor Gods, would I?

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