March 20, 2009

Warhammer Battle Report [High Elves vs. Skaven]

Forces of light vs. the Gutter Runners
Tournament List play testing - Game 1

First opportunity to play test my HE tournament list last night with 2,250 pts of High Elves squaring off against 2,250 pts of Skaven. I wasn't quite sure what I would be facing as my other Skaven encounters have been at 750 pts where a lot of options weren't open to them. However, I wasn't expecting the massive horde of Clan Rats and Slaves that greeted me across the table.

I used v3 of my RUNEFANG II list with some basic changes made to the Special Units and the Magic Items the army used. Final list was

Archmage Level 4 [with Phoenix Guard]
- Folraiths Robe, 2xDispel Scrolls [High Magic]
Dragon Mage Level 2
- Guardian Phoenix, Silver Wand
Noble [with Spears]
- Armour of Caledor, GW, BSB
Spears x20
- FC, Lion Banner
Archers x10
Swordmasters x6 (2 units)
Phoneix Guard x18
- FC, Banner of Sorcery
Shadow Warriors x5
Dragon Princex5
- MU, SB w. Banner of Ellyrion
Bolt-Throwers x2

TOTAL 2,238 pts

Dropping the FC on the Swordmasters allowed me to take the Banner of Sorcery, and I added the Dispel Scrolls as with 4 spells the Seerstaff of Saphery becomes largely redundant. The Guardian Phoenix also gives the Dragon Mage some protection with a 5+ WS.

Against this I facing a HUGE Skaven army, units just kept popping out all over the board as we were unpacking and setting up. The Skaven army consisted of:

Warlord
Warlock Engineer
Warlock Engineer
Master Moulder
Clanrats x25
- SB, MU & Gatling Gun
Clanrats x25
- SB, MU & Warpfire Thrower
Clanrats x25
- SB, MU
Slaves x20 (3 units)
- MU
Nightrunners x7 (3 units)
Poison Wind ?!? x3 (3 units)
Ratpack x3
Rat Swarms x3
Rat Ogres x2
Tunnellers x5
Jezzails x3
Plague Monks x15
Plague Censor Bearers x5
Warp Lightning Cannon

TOTAL 2,249 pts (Cheers to Doug for letting me take his list home with me)
[Maps are approximations only unfortunately]

Deployment & First thoughts
Ok, seeing all of those Skaven units had me worried. While I knew I could cut them down with shooting pretty well and with magic the number of units meant that I would still be facing some serious CR issues in HtH. So I kept my forces together deploying on one side of the board with only the Dragon Mage off on its own on one flank. The number of Skaven units meant that Doug was able to keep a lot of his key units for last and deploy them after I had finished with mine. Result of this was his artillery was deployed well back well away from my Dragon, and his Tunnellers exit point was right in between my 2 Bolt-Throwers. Damn tunnellers, I had forgotten about them. In what turned out to be a mistake I put the Dragon Princes on the left flank and kind of jammed them in against the table edge and blocked their charge with the Shadow Warriors. In hindsight they or the Shadow Warriors would have been better served on the flank with the Dragon Mage.

The Deployment
(missing a few Skaven names and units - just too many to fit)

Opening Turns
I'll have to keep the details to a minimum here as I don't have time to write this up fully now, and the whole battle got very confusing in the end and I wasn't concentrating on remembering stuff. Anyway, Skaven went first and marched straight at me. The first Skaven spell targeted my Archers and I let it through without attempting to dispel it as I was worried about something nastier coming along. Luckily the dice-rolls were low and I only lost 4/10 Archers with the rest holding their ground. The skirmishing units all rushed at my Shadow Warriors with a couple tempting me to charge with my DP's.

Turn 1

My opening turn started well at least as far as movement went, as no-one died *ahem* Then it was time for magic. The Dragon Mage went first casting Fireball and Wall of Fire successfully on one unit of Slaves killing 10 and causing the rest to panic and run away. The Archmage was going to follow with Shield of Saphery and other protective spells on the HE infantry units. Well he was until he mis-cast his first spell and then I threw double 1's causing him to blow himself up taking 2 of the Phoenix Guard with him.

Turn 1 ends with 1 unit of Skaven Slaves running away, 3 Archers & 2 PG dead, and my Archmage General burned to a crisp and floating away on the morning air *sigh*

Middle Turns
Charges started coming think and fast in these middle stages. Skaven magic aimed at the PG again but was either dispelled or the PG were saved by their 4+ WS, although a Bolt-Thrower did lose one of its crewmen. The Shadow Warriors were charged by the Plague Monks and Plague Censors along with the Rat Skirmishers. The Censors gas clouds killed a couple of the Skaven and 2 of the Shadow Warriors. Striking first they managed to cut down 2 more before losing 1 more of their own. CR victory to Skaven but the HE remained steady.

Middle Turns

In the middle the PG and Spearmen charge the central unit of Clan Rats. The majority of Doug's army was hanging back, I think now to draw me out so his superior numbers could get around my flanks. The DP held back from charging for 1 turn, but went at the Skirmishers after the Shadow Warriors were broken. The Skirmishers fled but not far enough, the DP catching them and ending their charge deep in Skaven territory but right in the middle of all of his their shooting units.

In the middle the PG and Spearmen bet the Clan Rats in CR and as they outnumbered them (and caused Fear) forced them to flee. End result of this was widespread panic in the Skaven ranks as no less than 3 other units failed their leadership tests and ran away. The HE units decided to hold their position rather than pursue, principally as any pursuit would expose their flank to the Plague Monks and bring them closer to the Skaven shooting units.

On the right the Dragon Mage proved his worth using Fireball, Wall of Fire and the Dragons Breath to great effect on the Rat Ogres & accompanying Clanrat unit. The resulting kills and panic check (from the breath weapon) saw both units break and flee toward my table edge.

Later Stages
Things started to get very messy now. Skaven shooting decimated the DP leaving only 1 alive after 2 rounds, and he served only to provide a nice looking corpse a turn after that. The PG charged further ahead at the Skaven centre as some of the previously routed units rallied - not all of them did though seeing at least 20+ Skaven flee off the board. To cover their flank the Spears didnt join the charge and instead wheeled to their left toward the Skaven artillery, Plague Monks and the now dead Dragon Princes. The Swordmasters also got in on the act with both units engaged in combat against Skaven Clan Rats, Skirmishers and Plague guys. This saw one unit break and run, and the other wipe out the Plague Censors. The Bolt-throwers also proved their worth dispatching another 15-20 Slaves and Clan Rats and forcing one more panic test. However, as we neared turns 4-5 each of our armies were getting seriously whittled down. The Ogre Rats fled off the table, but their also paniced friends rallied. More Skaven units also fled off the board in the later stages, but those that remained did some serious damage. The Tunnellers emerged under both Bolt-Throwers, the Clan Rats etc charged the archers and finished off one unit of Swordmasters. And the Skaven artillery, especially that Warp Cannon thing, keep blasting away at the Spears and the PG reducing their numbers and taking away that all important rank bonus.

Final turns
By Turns 5-6 I only had 12 Spearmen, my BSB, 6 Swordmasters and 11 PG left along with the Dragon Mage. I was still up against 2 large units of Clan Rats, the Tunnellers, Rat Swarms, Warp Cannon, Jezials and a couple of other fragments of previously broken units. The Dragon Mage decided to charge into combat rather than use his magic and promptly had his Dragon cut out from underneath him. The Warp cannon had wounded it in a previous turn. The Dragon Mage then ran away only to be cut down a turn later. The final battles saw the Spears charge the last remaining Skaven Skirmisher unit and the Swordmasters take on a big unit of Clan Rats. The PG meanwhile were being eaten alive by the Rat Swarms but managed (somehow) to survive.

Final points tally

High Elves
1806 in killed Skaven
200 in banners
100 for general
TOTAL VP = 2,106

Skaven
1720 in killed HE
100 for general
100 for table quarter
TOTAL VP = 1,920

RESULT = a very very close and brutal draw

Unit & List Review
So how did the list go?!? I'm not that sure as the Archmage's High Magic was a key part of my overall plan, that and my poor deployment of the Dragon Princes once again saw that key unit wasted. However, overall the list worked quite well especially given my unfamilarity with it. The game itself was a lot of fun and Doug is a great opponent very helpful with tactics and ideas for how best to use my units etc. Nice friendly game in which I learned alot, some of the ways he used his units were new to me and definately worth taking up next time I play.

Spearmen
Performed well and scored some impressive CR based victories over key units, but would struggle against higher T and AS opponents

Phoenix Guard
Excellent as always, 4+ WS is an amazing bonus and keeps them alive for a long time. But their S4 attacks are a bit weak at times and with only 1 attack each (vs. the 2xS6 attacks on the Swordmasters) I am not sure if they are worth their points. But get them in a combat with a smaller unit and you only need to win by 1.

Bolt-Throwers
Against low toughness Skaven I only used the multiple shot option and it worked well.

Dragon Princes
Deployed badly, charged at wrong time and at wrong unit, big points sink that could have been used far more effectively.

Shadow Warriors
Quite good especially with Hatred, High Magic making them Stubborn would have helped, but like the DP deployed in the wrong place.

Swordmasters
Small units did better than I thought. But need more games to make up my mind. Would really love another 20-30 models so I can field A LOT more of them.

Dragon Mage
Loved him, going to keep him just out of combat for a little longer or forever next time round. He needs some kind of supporting unit though to stop the enemy charging him.

Archmage
GRRRR - blew himself up in Turn 1 with his 1st spell - GRRRRRRRR

Possible Changes to list for next game?!?
I am not sure if I need the Banner of Sorcery, although it is a nice to have the 50 pts could go elsewhere. The Shadow Warriors are also useful but at 90pts by dropping them and the BoS I could add in another unit of Dragon Princes or a unit of Silver Helms.

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