March 14, 2015

NZTC Round 2 - Bucket Heads vs. Shirts Off

Round 2 – Bucket Heads vs. Shirts Off

Well it had been a long time indeed since I had played against Ben, not since Karak Eights Peaks at Call to Arms in 2011 actually, but thankfully he has been over to support a number of the key tournaments in NZ which made it possible to keep in touch. Ben was running a Dark Elf army this year:

  • Supreme Sorceress + Lvl 4 + Lore of Shadow - Dark Steed + Obsidian Loadstone + Dispel Scroll
  • General - Dreadlord + Sea Dragon Cloak + Dark Steed + HA + SH + Other Tricksters Shard + Dawnstone + Giantblade
  • Master + BSB + HA + Sea Dragon Cloak + Lance + Dark Steed +Opal Amulet + Charmed Shield
  • Master + HA + SH + Sea Dragon Cloak + Lance + Dark Steed + Ring of Hotek
  • Master + HA + SH + Sea Dragon Cloak + Lance + Dark Pegasus + Cloak of Twilight
  • 9 Dark Riders + SH + Repeater Crossbows + Fc x2
  • 8 Dark Riders + SH + Repeater Crossbows + Fc
  • 5 Harpies
  • RBT x4
  • 7 Doomfire Warlocks + Master of Warlock

Well after the dropped catch in round one I really desired to give a good result for the team this round, and looking at the DE army opposite me I felt confident I had the tools to handle the tricksy bunch of pointy eared make-up salesman.

The lay of the battlefield after vanguard moves.

Unfortunately, since I was not wanting to have fast cavalry running around my army I ended up over committed to deploying in the far right corner. It was also part of sting relying on the gungan shield bubble a bit more heavily than needed. One of the habits I picked up from somewhere during this tournament was also to shelter the organ guns around the corners of hills to try and catch out any fast cav. or flyers trying to get to my more vulnerable war machines. The cannon was the exemption to this, basing itself at the bottom of the left hill to try and catch some flank shots on an expensive unit. The two gyro’s remained a tandem pair on the far left by the cannon, with the quarrellers set up on the left hill to try discourage any full out charges to the cannon.

Starting to feel like a bit of a cornered fox in a hunt.

Turn 1 goes to the dwarfs and the Longbeards move up to plug the gap between the far right stone thrower and organ gun, while both gyros moved forward to try and get some bombing runs next turn on the unit of dark riders right in front of them. Shooting saw the far right RBT taken out by the flaming stone thrower, but little else of note. The dark elves used their fast cavalry movement to the fullest, with two far left dark rider units pairing up to face off against the gyro’s, cannon and quarrellers. Meanwhile the rest of the DE force turned to tackle the main dwarf force. Of particular note was the master on dark pegasus parking himself right in front of the far right organ gun. I made a remark about this to Ben, and he remarked that he was willing to rely on the Master's 3+WS vs. shooting. Pit of shades was cast, but not irresistibly, which gave me the chance successfully eat the spell. Only three quarrellers died to shooting from the dark riders this turn.
Excuse me sir, would you be interested in black poison nail polish?

With the dark elves having moved forward enough in their first turn, both gyro’s were able to get a bombing run onto the far left dark riders this turn, but only caused one wound. The cannon crew though, decided to see for themselves how good a 3+WS vs. shooting really was, and unfortunately for Ben it didn't prove to be enough as both master and flying mount got "taken off". Although for the dwarfs, that was the only bright point in an otherwise dull dwarf turn 2.

The dark elves obviously not wanting to allow the dwarfs another shooting phase, got in a handful of critical charges for their second turn. So in went the dark elf general with BSB, and team of warlocks against the hammerers in the centre; then the unit of dark riders who escaped the bombing of the gyro’s got a healthy flank charge into the quarrellers on the hill. Their counterparts on the far right successfully made a long charge into the far right organ gun. The magic phase only saw the removal of two organ gun crew by doombolt from the unit of warlocks in combat with the hammerers in the centre.

Dark Elf shooting was a non-event, with nothing in range or sight, but the combat phase held a huge surprise. The quarrellers unsurprisingly failed their break test, and were caught as they fled, allowing the dark riders to go on into the cannon. Their competitors on the right flank cleaned out their target (the right organ gun), and carried on into the stone thrower. The big surprise awaiting everybody was that the hammerers with the Runesmith, who obviously seemed to have known the recently deceased organ gun crew rather well, so they decided to fail two panic tests and leave the battle (taking the general with them). The hammerers in combat with the Dark Elf General’s unit of warlock took 17 losses, with the hammerer unit champion at least managing to heroically cause a single wound on the Dark Elf general. Despite their losses, the hammerers held their nerve for another round of combat.

In the third turn, the Longbeards were able to able to rescue the stone thrower crew from the dark riders, with a combat reform allowing them to then turn around and observe the destruction of the remaining unit of hammerers by the Dark Elf generals warlocks. The gyro on the left tried to rescue the cannon crew by rear charging the dark riders, but ended up fleeing from the combat while the cannon crew showed their mettle and held the dark riders for another round of combat. Dwarf shooting saw another RBT destroyed by an form stone thrower. This would be the last turn for the remaining hammerers though, as they are dispatched without a remote chance of even hitting back.
The final countdown?

Encouraged by their success in killing a full strength unit of hammerers, the Dark Elf General and his warlock had no issue with charging the centre organ gun, and comprehensively destroying it. The Dark riders in the centre also had no qualms about combat and charged into the already embattled cannon crew. With 6PD in the magic phase, Ben was able to take two wounds off the Stone thrower between the Longbeards and the Generals’ warlock unit with an irresistibly cast Pendulum. The resulting miscast failed to cause any damage to the sorcerers or her walock cronies. With no action in the shooting phase, we jumped straight to combat. Without any real surprises, the cannon, and organ gun are destroyed. Although the general and his warlocks were unable to make the overrun distance into the stone thrower that was between them and the Longbeards.

A poor shooting performance in turn 4 for the dwarfs provides a short interlude before the start of the Dark Elf turn 4, in which there was enough time to rally the dark riders who had been chased off the stone thower two turns earlier by the longbeards.

The furies now threw themselves into combat with the non-flaming stone thrower which had earlier seen off the dark riders. Impressed with the earlier success of their sorceress, the warlocks chaperoning the sorcerer sent an irresistibly cast doom bolt into the Longbeards, killing 13 of the bearded old timers. The unit of warlocks once again suffered no ill consequences from the miscast result. The combat that finished off dark elf turn four, was the messy murder of the non-flaming stone thrower by the furies.

A quick shot by the remaining stone thrower in Dwarf turn five cleaned up the last RBT. The dark elfs had a lot more to do in their turn five though, with the sorcerer and her warlocks charging the Longbeards, and the General’s warlocks charging the remaining stone thrower. A non-performing magic phase made way to an action packed combat phase. The remaining stone thrower was the first to go, with an overrun into the already flanked Longbeards being enough to clear the entire unit out in a single turn of combat.

Results 0-20 loss.

So a 0-20 loss for me, which was personally frustrating compared with the stoic performance by the rest of the team this round, with McCrae and Jeff both drawing their games and Caleb having a tight 9-11 loss. The loss of the hammerers early on didn’t help anything, but once again a limp offensive put me in my own self-made mess. A consolation was the beer for each of us courtesy of the Shirts Off lot.

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