Thursday, July 5, 2012

Reconnoiter: Wood Elves vs. Goblins

So I was looking back over the first few games I recorded on this blog, and not only am I impressed with how far my armies have come, but I'm also tickled with the different strategies I played against Gaius and Glenstorm. My, how time flies. Today we're wrapping up Wood Elf month and this final game will be between Wood Elves and Goblins. Here are the forces in today's game:

The Defenders of Lothlorien: 502 points

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 130 points
Thranduil (proxy by Haldir) - 90 points
11 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf spears - 88 points
9 Wood Elf Warriors with Elven blades and thrown daggers - 90 points
4 Mirkwood Guard with Elf bows - 44 points
6 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows - 60 points

32 units, 11 Elf bows + 9 thrown weapons, 2 heroes

The Denizens of Moria: 500 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Goblin Shaman - 45 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points
12 Goblin Warriors with Orc bow - 60 points
16 Goblin Warriors with shield - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spear - 80 points
Ringwraith with +1M - 60 points

49 units, 12 Orc bows, 3 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is the Reconnoiter scenario according to the new rules (but without the warband rules and some deployment changes). The game ends when one army is reduced to 25% of its starting force. At this point, the points are tallied as follows:
  • 1 point if the enemy force is broken, OR
  • 3 points if the enemy force is broken and the friendly force is not.
  • 1 point if the enemy army leader receives 1+ wounds, OR
  • 3 points if the enemy army leader is slain.
  • 1 point for each unit that crosses over the enemy player's board edge (the scouts who are performing the reconnoiter).
This game introduces the Wood Elf hero I'm thinking about adding to my collection (and who I will test today): Thranduil of Mirkwood. The great father of Legolas of Mirkwood costs 90 points (same as his son's base cost) but comes equipped with armor and an Elven cloak (which Legolas must purchase for +15 points). In exchange, Legolas has +1 Fate, -1 Shoot Value, and +2 shots in each Shoot phase (or automatically hitting with a single shot). Thranduil, for his part, has two key advantages over his son: first, Thranduil can upgrade your Wood Elf Warriors to "Mirkwood Guard", which gives them a 2+ Shoot value for +2 points. Second, he has the Circlet of Kings, which can automatically cast Aura of Dismay (see the post on Radagast the Brown for more info on this spell) once each game and it can cast Nature's Wrath once each game (see the post on combat spell-casters for more info on this other spell). Since Nature's Wrath can be opposed by an enemy spell-caster under the normal rules, we assume that Thranduil's "automatically cast" means that one dice was rolled and rolls a 6. Whether this can actually be resisted has yet to be resolved in an FAQ by Games Workshop. For the purposes of this game, we're going to assume that a 6 was rolled and the opposing force may then attempt to resist it if they wish to (those of us on the blog are currently trying to come up with a more fair way to resolve this, but nothing has been settled yet - what you are going to see in this blog is my first thought of making the spell resistible).
As an added challenge, I am finally taking my Wood Elves underground and they will be fighting in a battle against Goblins without the benefit of their precious woods. Thranduil provides some great benefits that might make up for not having woods, but we'll see how much of a benefit this provides. The Elves win the roll and choose their table edge, ceding priority to the Goblins.

Turn 1: The Guard Appear (Priority - Goblins)
Both armies move towards each other and prepare to meet at the walls of the deep. Galadriel fails to cast Blinding Light, which I'm seeing happen more and more on her first turn. The shaman, for his part, passes Fury and enrages the units around him as they prepare to charge the gates.
In the Shoot phase, the Goblins kill one Wood Elf swordsman with their volley of arrows.  
The Elves respond with keen shots from Thranduil, a Mirkwood Guard, and a Galadhrim Warrior, slaying 3 Goblins with shields. Both Thranduil and the Mirkwood Guard hit on 2s. :)
Kill count: Goblins 1/32, Elves 3/49.

Turn 2: A Foul Rage, A Strange Strength (P - Elves)
Galadriel finally gets the Blinding Light up, but last turn they were blessed in that the Goblins weren't in direct firing range. As you can see at the right of the frame, the Bat Swarm is slinking on the side away from the Elven bowmen.
In the Shoot phase, three Elven arrows find their marks on the main contingent of Goblins, but two of the Goblins (the two with shields on the ends of the battle line) shrug off the damage they've received and find new strength to continue the charge (1/1M). The third arrow, fired by a Galadhrim bowman, slays the Goblin he targets and he falls to the ground.
Kill count: Goblins 1/32, Elves 4/49.

Turn 3: The Headlong Assault (P - Goblins)
So now things are getting interesting. The Cave Troll charges head-long into the Elves and the Goblins prepare to close in (out of range last time means out of charging range this time). The Ringwraith attempts to cast Sap Will on Galadriel, but rolls a 1...bummer. (1/7W) Galadriel, in turn, successfully casts Immobilize on the Troll, but needs to pay a Might point to do so (1/3M).
In the Shoot phase, a Goblin archer hits an Elf swordsman in combat, passes the in-the-way roll, and succeeds in slaying him, breaking off an uneven combat and making things easier for his buddies.
Thranduil and a Galadhrim bowman, in their turn, slay two Goblin swordsmen as they attempt to scale the walls (1/3M), and on the other end, a Mirkwood Guard slew a Goblin spearman, shown below.
In close combat, not much happened (no picture to go with the words here, sorry). The Troll lost (of course) and took 1 wound from his assailants. The Goblins managed to kill one Elf swordsman, increasing the number of their kills yet again.  
Kill count: Goblins 3/32, Elves 7/49.

Turn 4: The Ground Shakes (P - Goblins)
So, with the Goblins getting priority all the time, I'm tempted to call a Heroic Move with Thranduil to hinder the advance of the Goblins. Instead, I let the attacks play out, move Thranduil to a spot where Durburz (nor any other hero) will be in range, and let-loose Nature's Wrath, which sends the Troll and many Goblins (seen here) sprawling on their backs. Love that spell...
The rest of the moves panned out as you see here. The Ringwraith successfully cast Sap Will (2/7W), but his score of a 3+ was dispelled by Galadriel (2/3M). The drain he's putting on me is not fun, but with only 4 Will points at his disposal, I'm not anticipating this damaging my troops for much longer. On the plus side for the Goblins, the Bat Swarm (who had been skulking away the whole game) managed to cross the board edge and score one for the Goblins. That's not good for me, as my troops are stuck on my side of the board.
Archery this round was fairly even (and by "even," I mean terribly one-sided). The Goblins killed a Galadhrim bowman on the ramparts while another Galadhrim bowman killed one of the Goblin spearman who was out of range of the Nature's Wrath spell. He's the one on the ground next to the dice.
In the Fight phase, the Elves had most of the dominance: the Troll won, but stood up instead of wounding people (that was a pity). Thranduil wins his fight (2/3M) and slays both of the foes he pinned to the ground with his spell. Another Elven swordsman kills a Goblin with shield, further raising the kill count of the Elves.
On the right side, no one decided to die.
Kill count: Goblins 4/32, Elves 11/49. The Elves are 12 units away from breaking, while the Goblins are 14 units away from breaking - looking pretty good for the Elves right now, I must say...but...

In a move that I was loathed to make, we decided to call it a game here. The Goblins had scored and my newborn son was keeping me away from the game. By the end of Turn 4, it was midnight and I wasn't very hopeful on my infantry Wood Elves breaking through the ranks of the enemy, getting past their archers, and scoring 2 points before the game ended. I could break the enemy and be unbroken myself, which would score me 3 points (could be enough to win the game), but it was becoming quite likely that a few of the Goblins on my left flank would outpace my archers once safely behind the wall. So, since my Elves already have a powerful lead on my other armies, we tallied the score as 1-0 Goblins. Minor victory for the green skins.


Assessment by Gaius:

So this wasn't really a victory (or at least, it didn't feel like it). But still, the mission was fun. I knew from the get-go that the Elves would be able to pose a solid line, but without Galadhrim Knights, their ability to move across the board is limited. This hasn't stopped them from winning Reconnoiter missions before, but I knew that the Bat Swarm would be my best scoring unit (the only unit on the board with speed). I really enjoyed this one and look forward to Tiberius' next monthly theme, which he told me about last night.

Assessment by Tiberius:

This game was far from over, but both I and Gaius were ready for bed. I've seen on another blog where a tight game is called off because of time constraints and it's always a pity to leave something so close, but we do what we must. As for the Elves, I'm very excited about Thranduil, though I'm still very partial to Legolas. I do like that the Mirkwood Guard can hit on a 2+, as it gave me 5 extra hits during the 4 rounds of archery that we had and 3 of those converted into wounds (one saved by Fury). This may not seem like a lot, but there's something very demoralizing for an opponent when your Elven bowmen refuse to miss their targets (some invariably do, but not many). Thranduil's Nature's Wrath spell could have also given a big break to my troops on the following turn, as a few units were still on the ground and priority is more likely to go to my team than the Goblins. Charging units on the ground is ever so much fun and I quite enjoyed seeing the Goblins fall (especially the Troll). If I was thinking, I would have spent some Will points with Galadriel during that last round and immobilized the Troll again, but alas, I did not. Next time, Gaius, next time...

Stellar unit for the Elves: Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows

The armor of the Galadhrim doesn't help them stay alive longer against most bows (actually, all bows except Dwarf bows and Elf bows), but it makes them look a lot cooler and much more resilient in close combat than their cloth-covered cousins. In today's game, the Galadhrim killed 4 Goblin Warriors, tying Thranduil for kills. Though this was a low-scoring game (only 11 dead Goblins), these warriors were just ramping up their game, looking for more kills as the game continued. I'm glad I have them in my ranks and wonder what other Galadhrim Elves would provide...hmmm...

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Goblin Warrior with Orc bows

So, the archers rarely get the prize, but seeing as most of the FOUR kills they inflicted were inflicted by archers (three to be exact), and each of those kills required overcoming a penalty of sorts (volley fire, in-combat risk, and a building in the way), I felt compelled to give them the title today. The points gained from killing those units paid for half of the volley team and it is likely that a few more points could have been added to the score of these archers - especially if the Elves made a break for it. All told, I try not to leave without a 12-man volley team when I play as the Goblins because you never know how well they're going to do.


  1. Clever move to send a far-moving, high health unit clear across the board, Gaius, :)

    Well fought, Tiberius: do you think it would have made a difference if you had sent a detachment of archers around the back, and placed them in scoring/shooting position early in the game? With 24" and S3, it might have put the pressure on the goblins to either 1) pull back some of their force, or 2) allow for easy scoring for you. Just an observation from someone who uses Grey Company.

  2. aaaand that is why you need 2 cave trolls. stupid casters.

    good game. I'm thinking wood elves would have a rather hard time beating gobos in this scenario short of having a chokepoint to bottle the horde up and having the goblin player completely forget that the point is not to fight, but to run your hordes around the enemy. there are just too many bodies to kill. . .

    the mirkwood guard were fairly impressive though. I'm thinking that 2+ shoot value is really going to bite. I'll just have to take comfort in the fact that you are paying 2pts each for that upgrade.