For those who have not heard of the 9th Age it is a community project to continue the WHFB game system after the disaster that was Age of Sigmar. It has a lot of traction in Europe and some areas of the US and is becoming a more and more streamlined ruleset. They are slowly tweaking the 8th edition rules to be more cohesive and easier to use. The new 0.10 and 0.11 beta editions are looking really good as the rule designers have taken the plunge and simplified some awkward rules for magic and cannons etc. If you want to have a look the rules can be found here:
I decided to take my Sylvan Elves (Wood Elves) for a test spin against some Warriors of the Dark Gods (Warriors of Chaos) played by a great french guy called Jules with an impressive beard.
I took a list as follows:
High Druid, Level 4, Path of Wilderness, Dispell Scroll 260
Treefather Ancient, Avatar of Nature, Entwined Roots 295
Forest Prince, Forest Guardian Kindred, Armour of Destiny, Whirlwind Blade 270
Forest Captain, Forest Guardian Kindred, Battle Standard Bearer, Light Armour, Shield, Dragonscale Helm, Lucky Charm, Potion of Swiftness, Sacred Spear of Cadaron 175
Druid, Level 2, Tome of Arcane Lore, Path of Nature 120
Dryad Matriarch, Fertile Seeds, Path of the Wilderness 95
25 Forest Guard, Spears, Shields, Light Armour, Innate Protection 6+, Full Command, Veteran Standard Bearer with War Banner 295
29 Dryads, Entwined Roots Upgrade (S5), Champion 430
8 Sylvan Sentinels, Additional Hand Weapons, Hawthorn Shots 128
7 Sylvan Sentinels, Additional Hand Weapons, Hawthorn Shots 112
Jules had a list with:
Daemon Prince, Path of Heavens, Level 2, Mithrel Mail,
Harbringer of Chaos, Daemonic Steed, Barding, Shield, Kingslayer
Sorcerer, Level 2, Path of Fire
Wasteland Chariot, Barding
Wasteland Chariot, Barding
20ish Wasteland Warriors, Shields, Full Command
5 Barbarian Horsemen, Musician
5 Barbarian Horsemen, Musician
10 Wasteland Knights, Daemon Weapons, Full Command
Mauler Chariot, Barding
So my list was probably a little bit character heavy, but it had 3 effective combat characters (the Prince, BSB and Treefather Ancient [S7, T6, W6, A6, 3+5++]) and 3 casters which provided combat buffs with the signature spell of the path of wilderness and the 3 nature spells to heal my characters and harden my units. I had two solid combat blocks but no chaff and little shooting.
Jules had a good mixed list with scary knights some tough characters, chariots and monsters.
I did not manage to take any photos of the game but I will list some key events.
- We played diagonal deployment with capture objectives as the secondary objective.
- I deployed first and deployed my entire army ensuring first turn. There were some conveniently placed hills mid field behind which my Treefathers were hiding.
- My first turn was a wash, not shooting or magicking anything.
- Jules then moved up his units too close, toughing a hill with his knights and the other hill with a chariot. He also gave my dryads a charge on his Mauler and placed his Daemon Prince behind his Knights ready for the overrun.
- In my turn I put the Treefather Ancient and the Forest Guard with the combat characters into the knights and charge the Mauler with the Dryads and the Treefather into a different chariot, Game set match I thought...
- I roll 3 for wind of magic and fail to cast any buffs on the Forest Guard. I put a wound or two on each chariot but whiff a bit and the chariots pass their leadership tests. In the big combat my Prince accepts the Harbringer's challenge with WS8, A5, S6, AP, Hitting on 3's, Multiple Wounds 2, whiffs and does 1(2) wounds to the Harbringer. The BSB then whiffs and does no wounds so the unit does not get distracting, the Forest Guard kill all of 1 knight and then the Harbringer goes back with A7, S8 and puts 4 wounds on to the lord, but I pass 2 ward saves. Phew! The Avatar of war does a wound or two and being stubborn, we stick.
- In the next round Daemon Prince goes into the Treefather Ancient, the Treefather breaks the chariot and reforms, The Dryads don't wound and pass steadfast, the Prince finishes off the harbringer, I get distracting off, lethal strike a couple of knights (Spears!) and the Treefather helps out. I am up about 6-7 on combat res and I break the Knights and my Forest Guard chase them down. We played the stubborn and unstable rules incorrectly (the Daemon Prince should have crumbled half as fast as usual) and the DP sticks on Stubborn Leadership 10.
- In following turns the Treefather goes into the Mauler with the Dryads and overruns into the Warriors, which then get hit in the flank by the Forest Guard. The Dryads take a flank charge from the chimera, hold then kill it with S5 goodness. It helped I got +2T off. The Treefather Anicent takes a chariot to the flank but challenges the Daemon Prince. With some magical help (+1S, +1T) and some healing from Path of Nature path attributes (just in case), he kills the Daemon Prince over a couple of rounds of combat.
Result: Big win to the Sylvan Elves.
In this game I had more time to craft my list and had pretty good combos with the characters. I think I needed a bit less magic and some more chaff and shooting. I think losing a few points in core and rejigging my characters would help with this. The Treefathers were great as were the Forest Guard and Dryads. The magic also had good synergy with my list. A S8, T7 Treefather Ancient is scary! I thought Jules was a bit too aggressive and that cost him big time in this game as he actually out shot me!
Overall the 0.11.0 ruleset was fantastic. The secondary objectives are good as free Reform units cannot capture the objectives. I liked the newest iteration of magic as it is easy to use. +1 for Level 1 and 2 wizards and +2 for level 3 and 4 with a good miscast table is great. It is now difficult to get off those big spells, and they are not as game-breaking. All units now have counters and Fly (8) is no where near as strong as fly (10).
I really like the new wood elf book. With Kindreds and the Aspects of Nature there is a great scope for variation in lists, which if what you want. It is nice to not have to field the crutch of Waywatchers and Wild Riders to be competitive.
In conclusion, high hopes for 9th!