Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lords of Battle: Uruk-Hai vs. Grey Company

So, with the Hunter's Red October tournament done, we're taking a quick break from the themed months for a battle report of Uruk-Hai vs. Grey Company. This game will feature some of my Uruk-Hai and a few acquisitions I'm looking into and the Grey Company of my good mate Glenstorm. Here are the forces:
The Ragers of Isengard: 601 points

Saruman the Colorful - 170 points
Mauhur - 60 points
Uruk-Hai Captain with shield - 55 points
6 Uruk-Hai Warrios with shields - 60 points
5 Uruk-Hai Warrios with pikes - 50 points
8 Uruk Scout Marauders with shields - 80 points
7 Uruk Scout Marauders - 63 points
7 Uruk Scouts with Orc bows - 63 points

36 units, 7 Orc bows, 3 heroes

The Grey Company: 595 points

Elladan and Elrohir with heavy armor - 150 points
Halbarad - 65 points
3 Rangers of the North - 75 points
Dunedain - 48 points
7 Rangers of Arnor with spears - 63 points
8 Rangers of Arnor - 64 points
Ally: Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor with armored horse - 130 points

24 units, 21 bows, 9 heroes

I think Glenstorm meant to have an additional guy in the fight, because when we initially ran the numbers, it came out to 603 points. Oh well. The scenario we will be playing is a Lords of Battle game on a board that is 48" x 48". Terrain was minimal, with a few hills, some ruins, a marsh, some rocky ground, and a wood. Scoring for this game is as follows:
  • 1 point for each Wound caused;
  • 1 point for each Fate point expended by the opponent (whether successful or not);
  • 1 point for each Fate point a hero who fled the field or died possessed at the time he was removed as a casualty; and
  • 1 point for breaking the enemy (3 points for breaking the enemy and not being broken).
The Uruks have priority on the first turn. My experience informs me that against Wood Elves and Dwarves, D4 and D5 units (Uruk Scouts) are liable to be shot to pieces. I've been curious for a while whether the Marauder updgrade (8" movement instead of 6" movement), coupled with the new deployment rules, makes Uruk Scouts more likely to arrive alive and ready to fight. Additional movement will also help in racing past enemy lines to hit spearmen, so we'll see how this goes. I know, facing an army of Rangers, that I'll see how well they survive against arrow fire, but once in combat, wounding should be pretty easy (if we can win fights).

Glenstorm's Pre-Game Thoughts: This game is purely experimental.  In general, Grey Company forces require you to be highly tactical in your deployments, carefully choosing the circumstances of all close-combat engagements (as most of your units are D4, and against Uruk-Hai, that's only 4+ wounding), timing heroic combats well with your loads of 1 Might Point minor heroes, and rolling high on archery.  At the TMAT tournament, this went pretty well.  We'll see how it goes tonight!



Turn 1: The Race Across The Plains (Priority - Uruk-Hai)
The armies move up against each other. Saruman and the Uruk-Hai Warriors are in the center of the board (with a Marauder in the back rank), while the Orc Scouts (with two Marauders and a Captain) stand on their right flank. The other Marauders race ahead with Mauhur (represented by my 2-hander with a broken axe...yeah, fixing that), charging towards the twin-less rank of Rangers (hopefully Mauhur stays alive longer that way).
Saruman failed to cast Terrifying Aura, which was sad. In the Shoot phase, the Rangers opened up their fire on my Uruks and slew a single Warrior with shield. Pity, but at least my Marauders should arrive alive.
The Orc bows of the Uruk Scouts fire and nail a single Ranger of Arnor with their arrows. Good start guys...now get fighting!
Kill count: Uruks 1/24, Rangers 1/36.



Turn 2: A Clash Of Steel (P - Uruk-Hai)
Saruman leads the Uruks in their continued charge and casts Transfix on Eomer with his free Will point. Eomer chooses not to resist this round, stunned by the attack. The Marauders (off screen) charged right up to the other Rangers, who responded by charging into the front ranks - battle is joined!
In the Shoot phase, the Rangers suffered from some poor luck on the part of the Uruk Scouts: they killed both a Ranger of the North and a Ranger of Arnor, with the Ranger of the North failing his Fate save. The Rangers responded with no kills.
In the Fight phase, there were three Heroic Combats, called by Halbarad and the two Dunedain surrounding him. All of them won and succeeded in killing all three of the Uruks they faced. The Marauder from the center detachment . The three Uruks died and all but Halbarad continued into the other fights. After these guys died, one Uruk died and three Rangers did - yaye team!
Kill count: Uruks 6/24 + 1F, Rangers 5/36.



Turn 3: Heroic Deeds Awake (P - Grey Company)
Saruman cast Compel on Eomer after he charged the Uruk Marauder at far right edge of the screen (free + 1/6W), but alas, Eomer resisted the spell (2/3W). Eomer easily killed his man and used a Heroic Combat to charge into two other guys (1/3M). Both of the twins also called Heroic Combats and raked through their guys (one of them getting across to the other side of the field (1/3M each, I think). Mauhur didn't want to be bested, so he called a Heroic Combat too and killed his guy and he and his men raced across to trap other units (1/2M). 
In the rest of the Fight phase, Eomer succeeded in killing both his guys (no surprise) and two other Uruk-Hai Warriors died to Elrohir and a Ranger of the North.
On the other side of the field, things were pretty even. One of the Dunedain died (FS, but still died), as did two of the Rangers of Arnor. The Rangers killed two of the Marauders, thinning the ranks a bit.
Kill count: Uruks 9/24 + 2F, Rangers 14/36. I'm 4 units from breaking and my foes are 3 units from breaking. Unfortunately, I'm still losing a whole lot more guys to these heroes than I can keep up with.



Turn 4: Power Play Pays Off (P - Palantir, Uruk-Hai)
So, Saruman uses his Palantir this round to move first, but Elladan calls a Heroic Move, to which Saruman responds in kind. Elladan wins the roll-off and engages Saruman before he can move (Elladan: 2/3M, Saruman: 1/3M). 
Three Heroic Combats were called: one by Eomer, one by Mauhur, and one by Elrohir. All of them won, killed their single opponents, and charged into other (more unfair) fights.
On the far end, the Uruks kill another Ranger of Arnor and lost two Marauders in return. We also managed to beat and wound Elrohir twice, but he saved both with Fate points (2/2F).
On the other side of the fight, Saruman was knocked down along with an Uruk Captain and we suffered many wounds at the hands of our attackers. Eomer wounded Saruman 5 times and Saruman passed all but one of his Fate saves, which killed him (3/3H, 3/3F). The Uruk Captain also suffered a Wound, but saved it with a Fate point (1/1F). In return, we killed three guys (not bad), but also a small price to pay now that we're broken and army-leader-less.
3 Heroic Combats (Elrohir, Mauhur, Eomer), all win, Eomer and Elladan kill Saruman (2 FS), Uruk Captain also wounded but FS, Elrohir loses his fight, takes 2 wounds but 2 FS

Kill count: Uruks 14/24 + 4F, Rangers 19/36 + 4F. Both armies are broken and the Uruks have no army leader.

With both armies broken on the same turn, we rolled to see if the game continued: we rolled a 5, so we proceed for at least another round. Time is not on my side, so I need to win now.



Turn 5: Flight And Flurry (P - Grey Company)
The Grey Company stayed to fight (thanks to the 6 heroes of their 9 remaining units), and engage a few units to see how things work out. Five of my men fled (way not cool guys) and everyone else charge soft targets (not Halbarad).
The fights went pretty well - my Uruk Captain lost a wound, but didn't die and we killed a Dunedain (Fate save, but still died). Also, Eomer's horse died, which was pretty epic. Rather boring...except...
Elrohir did a great bit of parrying (thanks to his "twin Elven blades" rule) and stopped the two Uruk-Hai Warriors, Uruk Marauder, and Mauhur from killing the Elf-with-no-Fate-left. Well done, man, we'll get you next time.

Kill count: Uruks 15/24 + 4F, Rangers 24/36 + 4F. 

We again rolled to see if the game continued and on the roll of a 2, the game ended and the points were tallied.

Uruk-Hai:
  • 18 points for wounds dealt (including the horse killed);
  • 4 points for Fate points expended by the enemy force;
  • 0 points for Fate points possessed by fled/killed models;
  • 1 point for both forces were broken.
Grey Company: 
  • 28 points for wounds dealt;
  • 4 points for Fate points expended by the enemy force;
  • 0 points for Fate points possessed by fled/killed models;
  • 1 point for both forces were broken.
Final score: 23-33 Grey Company. Minor Win for the Grey Company!



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

Well, a close loss, I suppose. The heroes really ate me up on this one (no Sorcerous Blasts against Rangers of Arnor that knocks over twins is kinda sad), but the Uruks still did very well. With 36 units, I dealt 18 wounds - pretty impressive for 5 rounds in the game. I liked the Marauders and how quickly they got into combat. I can see, though, how not having spears could get them in a real pinch. Need to be more careful about that in the future. I'm also thinking that Uruk Scouts with Orc bows are kind of the "spearmen" for an Uruk Scout force in the same way that Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes are - they're the only mechanism to kill supporting spearmen and evening out the odds in combat.

Assessment by Glenstorm: 

Two words: "Wow" and "wow."  Unlike the TMAT tournament, the archery was not on tonight (read: like, at all), and yet my boys quit themselves with valor against fierce close-combat brawls...and I haven't even begun talking about my Grey Company army yet! :)  Ironically, it was Tiberius at the helm of my Uruk team that showed me just how amazing they can be, and I thank him for that.  I was also impressed by the ability of rangers to fight on without banner support or fate saves (I'm definitely looking into Malbeth the Seer in the near future) amid superior numbers and crushing firepower - they did me proud.

Stellar unit for the Uruk-Hai: Uruks (Warrior + Marauder) with shield

I was quite impressed with both sets of these guys and each complements the other well (for 10 points each). The Uruk-Hai Warriors drew a lot of the Strength 2 bow fire because they were wounded the same as the Marauders with shields but would be harder to kill in close combat. This bought enough time for me to get my Marauders into combat a turn earlier than possible and saved the rest of the Warriors from another bad hailstorm of arrows. The Marauders certainly ate their fair share of warriors, and I look forward to seeing how they work against other foes in the future.

Stellar unit for the Grey Company: Rangers of the North

So, I know we try not to pick heroes in these stellar unit counts, but since the only units I had that were not heroes were Rangers of Arnor...let's just say I want to hold your attention until the end of a battle report, :)  I've always loved using Rangers of the North, as they are a cheap way to get D5 Fight 4 warriors with 1 Might Point for heroic combats or heroic moves all over the map.  In this game, they literally saved the day for me, freeing up my heavy hitters to do their bladework without worrying about the main body of the army.

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