How the Empire won, or you keep rolling what?!?
2250pts HE vs. Empire
[Maps are approximations only]
Second go at play testing my HE tournament list last night, this time vs. Stephens Empire. Did think he was bringing his Ogres but in the end he turned up with a truly nasty Empire army list. Mine was modified slightly from the week before and consisted of:
Archmage Level 4
- Folraiths Robe, Dispel Scroll, Staff of Solidity
Dragon Mage Level 2
- Guardian Phoenix, Silver Wand
- Armour of Caledor, Gem of Courage, Great Weapon, Battle Standard
- FC, Lion Banner
Phoenix Guard x18
- FC, Banner of Sorcery
Dragon Princes x5
- MU, SB, Banner of Ellyrion
Facing this was a very impressive Empire list of (approximating only here as I didn't note it all down)
Mage on Pegasus
Warrior Priest x2
Mounted Hero x1
- Detachment of Handgunners
- Detachment of Handgunners
Giant (YES A GIANT!!!???!!)
Hellblaster Volley Gun
Didn't really go my way with Stephen winning the dice roll to choose sides and then electing to go first. His set up basically put his key warmachines and the big unit of Handgunners on my right, the Militia and Handgunners in centre and everything else on my left. With the left-hand side of the board dominated by a number of buildings and the rest of the board by a series of forests it meant my deployment zone was broken up. A key problem was the absence of any decent firing lanes for my Bolt-Throwers that would allow me to hit his units while keeping them out of range of the Volley Gun.
Ended up concentrating on the left with the Bolt-Throwers on either end of the line, and only the Dragon Princes and Chariot out on their own.
Turns 1 - 2
Few disagreements here regarding LOS to the Dragon. Stephen argued that as it was a Monster it could be seen over the trees, whereas I interpret the LOS rule as it is in the book - 'base to base' - i.e., you can't see my base you can't see me no matter how large my unit is, especially if I am screened behind 2 buildings and a forest. Anyway, that aside opening turns saw his units all come hell for leather at my left flank - ALL OF THEM - like a great big armoured spear. The Pegasus Mage flew around and put himself in a good spot to hit me with his magic, which he duly did killing half of my Archers.
My own magic was reasonably effective with the Dragon Mage and the Archmage both doing some damage to the opposition. Key cast was the Flames of the Phoenix on the Spear unit which saw 11 models die, this was followed by the Dragon breathing on it killing 4 more and the unit fleeing in panic. The opening turns saw my Archers hide in a building, albeit there were only 2 left by end of Turn 2, the Spears and PG advance forward in line with that building, and the Swordmasters take up position to take any charges from the Giant and Knights (if they overan the Spears). Unfortunately the spears were severly weakened when a well placed shot from Stephen saw a Mortar shell land on top of them killing 9 and reducing the unit to 11 models. It was these 11, minus the Standard Bearer who dropped back to stay with the supporting Swordmasters, who took the charge from the Empire Knights.
Turns 3 -4
Lots of combats from this point on. The Knights massacred the Spears but ran full tilt on the overrun into a building stopping dead and exposing their flank to the Swordmasters. The Giant charged into the 2nd unit of Swordmasters who attacking first scored 5 wounds on it, reducing it to 1. The Giant in turn rolled his Bash attack and killed 5 of the Swordmasters breaking them in combat and overrunning them. Luckily for me Stephens usually superb placement was off again and the Giant overan into his Pistolliers (who had been taking pot shots at my Dragon). On the right the Dragon Princes charged into the flank of the large militia unit and its detachment, the detachment fleeing first. Behind them the Spears had also fled after the Dragon Mage had born down on them. It was at this point, when I had two key units in flanking positions, that Stephen's Empire army started to display its remarkable fortitude.
Smashed by 10 S5 attacks the Militia were torn apart by the Dragon Princes and needed snake eyes to pass their break test. Stephen rolled snake eyes, rolled them that turn and the next and then passed 2 more break tests after that for the same unit. If that first roll had failed the DP's would have overrun and wiped out almost his entire infantry force in one go. But by holding for 4 rounds of combat they kept my DP out of the game and stopped them from getting into his warmachines.
The Swordmasters facing the Knights also fared badly. Over the next 6 rounds, yes 6 rounds of combat, they scored no less than 30 hits on the Knights off which only 1, YES 1?!? resulted in a unsaved wound. As a result the Swordmasters were eventually cut down along with the BSB, who alone managed to hold on for 2 rounds after he followed the Empire example and continually passed his break tests.
Some good news though while my left hand bolt-thrower failed to kill the Giant with 6 shots, the 2 Archers in the building needing 6's to kill did and down he went to my great delight. Mind you my celebration was short lived as the next turn those damn Snake Eyes popped up.
Turns 5 - 6
The Dragon Mage dies!?! The Dragon goes stupid but still does damage rampaging through the Volley Gun and the Handgunners on my right flank. The Archers are killed by a group of Huntsmen charging the building, my two bolt-throwers are cut down but not before one of them kills the Empire General and his Pegasus. Big nasty and extremely clever tactic of Stephens though was against my DP's. After casting his strongest spell at me with all of his remaining PD he scored 16 and I rolled ALL of my DD to get rid of it. Out came a power level 4 bound spell which scored 6 S4 no AS hits on my DP's killing NOT 1 NOT 2 but all 5 of them seeing the Empire infantry saved once again.
By games end the battlefield was littered with corpses unfortunately too many of them were Elven. The end result... High Elves - 1800 VP... Empire - 2200 VP... and a Marginal Victory to Empire.
Another very bloody game. On the positive side my tournament list is working extremely well and I won a TradeMe auction the same night for 16 additional Swordmasters for only $50 - thats an approx $120-130 saving!!! Just need to slot them into my list somehow.
Next week - 750pts of my Vampires against Gobbos I think