May 7, 2012

Horned Rat V - WHFB Tournament Report Part 1

Back from Horned Rat V and another enjoyable gaming weekend with some good people and fantastic armies on display.  Results wise I have to be very honest and say that this was my worst tournament performance ever, and the first time I have gone without a win since my very first event Runefang III several years ago.  Quite literally I got trampled on - but as an extremely nice and very unexpected consolation I did win the "Best Sportsmanship" Award which was shocking to say the least, and put a smile on my face on the way home.

My Army

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Anyway, here's the first of a multiple part write up of what happened.

Game 1 vs. Ogres (Pete Dunn) 
Scenario – Dawn Attack
First Turn – No
Result 0 - 20

For some reason I was expecting this match-up, not sure why just a vague little itch at the back of my mind. First up Pete’s Ogres painted by Charlie St Clair looked amazing and have already given me some solid ideas for my own; also highlighted how ratty my High Elves look in comparison.Dawn attack was a worry as you can end up with deployment everywhere, but both armies had almost their entire forces in the middle of their respective deployment zones.
Petes Ogres
 
 

Other than the Hunters moving up quickly on my left flank Pete played his usual careful game.
Talking about it later this was an army specific tactic in which he was deliberately trying to ensure that his units were never engaged one on one. There were some crucial moments in the game and some strong lessons to come out of it. Pete’s tactic of fleeing his Mournfang away from my units paid off handsomely. The White Lions failed charge after charge and with his units too far back my other units couldn’t set up favourable combats. I got one early break when one of Pete’s Ironblasters misfired and blew up and his Firebelly miscast and lost both of his magic levels. After that things didn’t go so well.
The Opening Turns - where the White Lions fail to charge the Mournfang leaving the Swordmasters isolated
Without the White Lions to help out the Swordmasters get flanked by the 2nd Mournfang unit, and charged by the Ironblaster
 

Swordmasters and Spears got into combat and while the Swordmasters did well the key unit, the White Lions, remained isolated and out of contact until the 4th/5th turn. By then it was the last unit left alive and got charged by 2 lots of Cavalry, the Hunters and the Ironguts – the combined impact hits of all of those units ended the combat before it even started, the stomp attacks finished it. In the first couple of turns I was actually quite confident I could pull off a win, but the failed charges cost me badly and then there were a couple of poor tactical decisions on my part largely relating to an over-cautious approach.

Um Ogres to the left of them, Ogres to the rear, Ogres to the front into the Valley of Death marched the Poor Elves...
 

Pete’s decision making as always was excellent and I was outplayed for the remainder of the game. His list looked hard but it’s what I would take as an Ogre player – although with fewer Mournfang and more Bulls (as I like the idea of a strong core) – and I didn’t have an issue with it. To beat Ogres you absolutely must get the charge in to prevent those impact hits. At WS3 Ogres are quite frankly rubbish in combat and no match for High Elves, even at S3, and in most combats it was the impact hits that won it for Pete.

Another thing I really, really, need to remember is that you have to chuck 6 dice at the spell you want to get off. I kept rationing the dice to get off as many spells as possible and you just can’t rely on things working for you that way. But despite getting tabled by Pete I wouldn’t mind another crack at his Ogres – I think I could take him.

Game 2 vs. Beastmen (Stuart Robinson)
Scenario – Meeting Engagement
First Turn – Yes
Result 4 - 16

The third time I’ve played Stuart in my last 3 tournaments now (think it’s three times at least once with Dwarfs), extremely nice guy with an army of old style Beastmen models that look really cool. A modification he made to one Minotaur model is my pick for model of the tournament, looks fantastic. Meeting engagement didn’t really change deployment too much except that my White Lions came on in reserve. This mucked me up completely and I didn’t help myself by effectively blocking them in keeping them out of combat for nearly 4 turns; not good for what is my killing unit.
Opening turns Beasts hang back as the Elves advance, with the White Lions stuck behind them they should have waited a little longer.
 
 

Lots of magic going off in this game; Stuart was incredibly unlucky as in most of his turns I had more dice than he did due to a series of really bad rolls on the Winds of Magic, my Annulian Crystal and lucky channelling rolls from my Mages.
 
Silly Spears choosing to flee gets the Swordmasters chopped up.
 

Turning point of the game was my decision to flee the Spear unit from a charge by his big horde of 48 something or others. Can’t remember why I did it now; think I got over enthusiastic about the wonders of the idea after watching Pete do it. Simply put, if I had taken the charge I would have been in a dominate position particularly as I had two units of Swordmasters positioned to help out. As it was the Swordmasters got chopped up, while the White Lions wandered around aimlessly till Turn 4. Stu was killing off unit after unit, the Eagles, the Archers and the Swordmasters while I was killing a lot of models but no units – not good points wise for me.

 
 

The Spears finally got into combat, against the same unit they had fled in Turn 1, and I charged him – I mean seriously why the hell did I choose to flee?!? This was the start of Turn 3 and by Turn 6 the combat was still going. End result of that combat? I lost 20/39 Spears and my Archmage (killed by his General) while Stu lost all 48 of his Beasts but his General – who had the Crown of Command – stubbornly held on almost invulnerable to my attacks. Stu had to make at least 4 stubborn saves to keep his General/Unit in the game nearly all of these would have been at double ones or close to it if not for the Crown of Command. The Beastmen getting re-rolls and the constant use of Shadow Magic by both of us kept dragging the combat out, with my magic dominating the first few rounds and then Stu’s the remainder; he was helped here by his good work in killing off both of my mages. The Spears ended Turn 6 at WS1 and S1.
That damn General just wont die

The White Lions meanwhile did absolutely stuff all. Well not entirely true, they did wipe out one horde unit of 40 Beasts but then were just not positioned well enough to get into the key unit which was the one containing Stu’s mages and ended Turn 6 sitting down looking pretty.
Another fun game – and Stu if you’re reading this all the best for the new baby!!

Game 3 vs. Vampire Counts (Kent Jackson) 
Scenario – Watchtower
First Turn – Yes (Kent held Watchtower)
Result 0 – 20

How do I sum up this game? Let me see? Things were great, after Turn 1 my Swordmasters had wiped out one unit of Skeletons and captured the Watchtower and the White Lions, despite failing yet another charge, were actually in position to enter combat early. The Spears with their flaming attacks were ready to pounce on the Ethereal Cavalry and my Magic & Archers were well placed.
 
 

And then….

I go for the Pit of Shades aiming to hit one of his Necromancers, a unit of Skeletons and his Wraiths. The spell goes off irresistibly – kills the Necromancer and 10 Skeletons, but scatters and just misses the Wraiths.

And then…

A Dimensional Cascade, the Mage and 11 Spears are killed and the remainder having lost more than 25% of their unit Panic and flee OFF THE BOARD!!! Turn 2, my Turn 2 ends with approx. 900pts, my Level 4 Archmage General, and my only means of killing Kent’s ethereal units going bye-bye. You can’t make this sort of thing up.

After that things were a foregone conclusion. The rest of my army got chopped up one little bit at a time as Kent methodically worked his way through it. The White Lions did have some fun though and smashed two more units of Skeletons. They then faced a hard choice. Charge the Watchtower with its garrison of a Vampire Lord and 15 Grave Guard or charge the Ethereal Cavalry that they couldn’t attack and try to beat them – somehow – on combat resolution. I choose the ethereal route – why!?!?!?!? – I have no idea. Result – the White Lions die and we call it quits.

So thats Day 1 over and with only 4 Battle Points a incredibly bad one results wise....

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