Friday, December 28, 2012

What Fun It Is to Ride and Sing a Slaying Song Tonight!

Battle Report: Angmar v. Rohan



Dear Reader,

Merry Christmas!  I hope that this post finds you and yours stuffed to the max after an amazing time with family, friends, or wherever your travels took you.  From all of us here at TMAT, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I went over Wednesday morning to Donatello's house (because he lives near me) for some festive experimenting, especially in preparation for making some judgment calls in how to use my Angmar forces, in light of my new addition to my Angmar army, courtesy of a Christmas gift from Zorro (thanks, Buddy!  I hope to use him in my next battle report! :) ).  I'm taking a short break from posting on the Grey Copmany, and instead wanted to bring you a special Christmas game: because it seems to fit the Christmas cheer found in the title of this post, we got together to do what no one on this blog has ever done before - a game involving a 100% mounted force.  I will be commanding the Rohan force (as I am the only person dumb enough to do it with this list, ;-D ), and Don will lead the Angmar detachment in a 250-point game (on account of me not owning more cavalry - which I'm okay with, :) ).

Glenstorm's Force: The Dunharrow Detachment (252 pts)
Warband 1:
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields with Armored Horse (Army Leader: 130 pts)
-2 Sons of Eorl (Stand-in: Riders of Rohan clearly marked): 44 pts
-6 Riders of Rohan: 78 pts

Donatello's Force: The Chill of Angmar (252 pts)
Warband 1:
-Barrow Wight #1 (Army Leader): 50 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields: 24 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields and spears: 28 pts
-1 Orc Warrior with banner: 30 pts
-1 Orc Warrior with 2H weapon: 6 pts

Warband 2:
-Barrow Wight #2: 50 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields: 24 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields and spears: 28 pts
-2 Orc Warriors with bows: 12 pts

Scoring:

Today we will be playing a To the Death game, with the following rules:
  • The game ends when one side is reduced to 25% of its starting force
  • A team receives 1 point if they break the enemy force, and 3 points if they break the enemy force and are not broken when the game ends
  • A team receives 1 point for wounding the enemy army leader, and 3 points if they kill the enemy army leader
  • A team receives 1 point if they have a banner present at the end of the match, and 2 points if they have a banner and their opponent does not when the battle ends
A To the Death game should give us both a chance to see how much firepower each list can pack against each other.  It will also help me test the killing power of each list, which is primarily why I am playing this game.  As both of these armies are looking for a bit more of a biting edge than a tactical/support boost, this will be helpful for me in determining how I use cavs for Rohan and other units and what I accompany my standard Angmar force with in the future.

Glenstorm's Strategy: Okay, in full honesty, I don't know how this is going to go.  I have used cavalry before, but they primarily work only as flankers/harassers, due to spear support making up for the charge bonus.  For today's fight, I'm testing out the Sons of Eorl (as potential accompaniment to Eomer), who will be playtested today by the cavs marked with the "Force" markers on their bases, shown here:


My force today - none of my cavalry are fielding throwing spears in this scenario.
As I have only mounted units, and only 6 of them have bows, I will likely attempt to draw the orcs away from my Riders of Rohan with my Sons of Eorl and Eomer, and will then swing them around to catch the casters, archers, and spears from behind.

Donatello's Strategy: I thought of taking the Dwimmerlaik, as he potentially could make Eomer's Might points less effective (and make Glenstorm think twice about those Heroic Combats he loves to call), but I am opting for the Barrow Wights instead.  Since he only has 3 Will points on Eomer, I'm going to attempt to paralyze the horsemen (which will dismount them), keep Eomer on the ground as much as possible, and then kill 7 guys to end the game.  Simple plan: stay together, guard the casters, kill 7 riders.  Pretty straightforward.

Deployment:

For our game today, we chose a setting on the outskirts of an abandoned town, with a large plain to the South.  It looks like this:



We rolled for placement, and I won, so the placement order worked like this: Eomer's warband, Barrow Wight #2's warband, Barrow Wight #1's warband.  The deployment of our forces looked like this:



And with that... ("Onward, for death and glory!")

Turn 1: (Priority: Good)

The armies move toward each other, with Eomer and the Sons of Eorl out in front, and the Riders of Rohan coming up behind, moving 5" or less, and drawing arrows to fire.  Don charged both warbands forward, aiming for the cover from the ruins.  In the Shoot Phase, my riders were pathetic, and only landed 1 arrow (out of 6) on target, with no wound caused.  With no fights, we moved on to Round 2.

Turn 2 (P: Evil)

Sorry - no pictures this round.  After Don's forces moved up toward the first piece of cover in the ruins (which, I'm guessing, is where his archers will be hiding), I moved Eomer and the Sons of Eorl across the closest piece of terrain, gunning for the far side (in hopes of flanking or forcing a divergence of one of the two warbands).  In retrospect...I probably should have run them behind the ruin instead of in front of it, for reasons that you will see in the next turn.  My Riders of Rohan continued to fan out toward the western portion of the map, and let loose another round of archery that did absolutely nothing useful, :-/

Turn 3 (P: Evil)

Okay: the one thing I did not properly plan for was Paralyze range in the event that I did not get priority.  After moving up his minions (and thankfully being out of charge range, Barrow Wight #1 successfully cast Paralyze on me (2/5W) on a 4.  I risked 1 Will point from Eomer, and successfully dispelled it (1/3W):


So... ("Because it is in style right now...") Barrow Wight #2 also decided to cast Paralyze on Eomer (2/5W), and successfully cast it on a 5.  I used my last 2 Will points to dispel it, and succeeded, as shown below:


The funny thing was dispelling both rolls with exactly the same roll they used (in the second case, the same roll on both dice).  Unfortunately, though, my entire team is now out of Will points, which leaves us completely vulnerable to the remaining 6 Will points present on the other team.  Oh.  Joy...

So, I did what any self-respecting anti-caster army does when they are out of Will points: "Charge!!!"  Eomer engaged one of the Orc Warrios from the northern warband, accompanied by one of the Sons of Eorl, and the other engaged the southern warband, as two of the Riders of Rohan gang up on a spear-supported orc and the rest of the horsemen fan out and form up on the far side, preparing to charge from the rear.

In the Shoot Phase, my archers continue doing absolutely nothing against the enemy, even though 1) their backs are to us, and 2) we have a few D4 targets worth shooting at.  I'm...a bit upset with them right now, :-/


In the Fight Phase, my boys overall make me proud.  Eomer calls a Heroic Combat (1/3M), wins the fight on a 6 (which is important, since he has a banner nearby, and I don't have one), and kills his orc in spades.  He then move on to engage 2 more orcs.  In the rest of the Fight Phase, the Son of Eorl that accompanied Eomer loses his fight against the orc with spear support, and instead of choosing to aim at the D6 Son of Eorl, Don opted (wisely, in my opinion) to attempt to wound the D5 horse.  He rolled a 5 on his To Wound roll, and successfully killed the horse.  Falling from the horse, the Son of Eorl rolled a 6, and with his shield up and a battle yell, prepared to meet his enemies on foot.  Eomer then follows up by killing both of the orcs (who were spear supported in this fight) in his second combat.

Against the southern warband, the Son of Eorl won his fight and killed his spear-supported orc, while the two Riders of Rohan not only lost to the two orcs, but the orcs successfully wounded both of them, killing the riders, and causing the horses to flee (as I have no infantry to keep them on the field).  Not.  Good.


Casualties: 4/22 for Angmar (7 to break point), 2/9 for Rohan (3 to break point)

Turn 4: (P: Evil) ("You've GOT to be KIDDING ME!!!")

Okay - I hate doing this when I only have 2 Might points remaining and I will only include 3 units total in the radius, but I needed the charge to preserve my troops.  I called a Heroic Move with Eomer, and my Sons of Eorl and their fearless leader charged into the enemy.  Barrow Wight #1 then successfully cast Paralyze on Eomer on a 5 (4/5W), and Barrow Wight #2 successfully cast Paralyze on one of my Riders of Rohan on a 6 (3/5W).  The rest of the orcs engaged, and the only Rider of Rohan that was not engaged failed his Courage Test to charge Barrow Wight #2, so he is rooted in place.  The fights looked like this:


("...I've seen better matchups...")  In the Fight Phase, Eomer automatically loses his fight, so Don opted to start with that one.  The orcs deal 2 wounds (interestingly enough, the 2H weapon orc, who only needed 5s, missed on both of his), both of which were saved by Fate (2/3F).  The mounted Son of Eorl won his fight, and successfully killed both of the orcs in base contact with him.  Both of the Riders of Rohan in this shot lost their fights, though no wounds were dealt.  All told, very few casualties this round.


In the End of Turn Phase, the Rider of Rohan failed to dispel Paralyze, and Eomer rolled a 5, which he promoted to a 6 using his last Might point (3/3M).  ("Rise, mighty warrior!!!") ("...That was supposed to hold you long enough for me to kill someone!  GUYS!!!  What's going on!?!?!!?")


Casualties: 6/22 for Angmar (5 to break), 2/9 for Rohan (3 to break)

Turn 5 (P: Good) ("Yay!!!")

There is one good thing about an opponent who takes no heroes with Might points - no worries about Heroic Moves. :)  My horsemen had the advantage of the charge this round, so the Rider of Rohan charged Barrow Wight #2 (to shut down his remaining 2 Will points for a round), my other units engage, and all of the excess orcs gang on the paralyzed Rider of Rohan ("Get the kill guys - just get the kill.").



Barrow Wight #1 attempts to cast Paralyze on Eomer, and fails it with a 1 ("Finally - a spell that doesn't work...") ("That's bad news..."), and charges Eomer.  The orc archers follow suit and join the melee, and the board looked like this:


In the Fight Phase, the men of Rohan must have gotten mad or something, because they were winning fights everywhere, even past banner support.  Eomer wins his fight, and wounded Barrow Wight #1 on a 5 - which is the joy of charging with an Eomer that becomes S5 when on the charge, :)  The dismounted Son of Eorl won his fight, and wounded one of the orcs in his fight.  The mounted Son of Eorl won his fight against an archer, spearman, and 2H orc, put all 3 on the ground, and successfully wounded all three of them. ("...Wow: I was counting on winning that fight.") (*Blank stare*) ("I...didn't see that one coming either...")

Next to him, the Rider of Rohan lost the fight to the shielding orc spearman ("Thank you for contributing, soldier - now, next turn, please kill the rider!"), and while the Rider of Rohan won his fight against the Barrow Wight (and put him on the ground), he failed to wound him.  The orcs killed the paralyzed Rider of Rohan (Orc spearman: "Death without honor, Strawhead!!!"), but the victory was a fleeting one.  Near them, the Rider of Rohan not only won the fight, but successfully wounded both of the orcs in the fight.  The fights ended like this:



Casualties ("Do I want to see the tally from that round?"): 13/22 for Angmar (broken force), and 3/9 for Rohan (2 to break).

Turn 6 (P: Evil)

Donatello Strategy: Okay - we have a serious problem.  Thankfully, I have unhorsed one of the Sons of Eorl and Eomer, but the rest of these horsemen are going to ride right over us in a turn or two unless we can take them down.  He just scored 3 points by killing my Army Leader (well played there, Glenstorm), and he is two soldiers away from killing my banner as well, which is potentially 2 points for me if he survives.  With an additional 1 point from breaking my force, I need to break his army, or he will be up on me 6-2.  Simple plan: I'll paralyze the mounted Son of Eorl, which will get rid of the horse, and then I'll gang him and the rider on the end, assuming that enough of my men stand their ground after we courage test.  That will break his army, and force his men to courage test to stay in the game.


Barrow Wight #2 passed his Courage test (Outcome: 10), got up for 3" of his movement, and successfully cast Paralyze on the mounted Son of Eorl (4/5W) before moving to a central location where everyone could see him.  The two spearmen on the far western part of the map were out of range, and one of them chose to run ("Oh well - there goes my ganging strategy on the far horseman.").



In the Fight Phase, Eomer won his fight against the spearman that tagged him, and wounds him.  The two westernmost Riders of Rohan lost to the orcs, but both of them failed to wound their targets ("GUYS!!?!?!?!?").  The Rider of Rohan near the well won his fight, knocked the spearman to the ground, and wounded him.  The Son of Eorl failed to wound the spearman in his fight, and - lo and behold - the spearman and bannerman failed to wound the paralyzed Son of Eorl ("This game is going down - I give up on these guys...").

In the End of Turn Phase, the Son of Eorl fails to roll a 6, and thus is still paralyzed.

Casualties: 16/22 for Angmar (1 to 25%), 3/9 for Rohan (2 to break)

Turn 7 (P: Evil)



Barrow Wight #2 passes his Courage Test (Outcome: 10), and fails to cast Paralyze on Eomer with his last Will point (5/5W).  One of the orc spearmen ran away, and others tagged as many men as they could around the paralyzed Son of Eorl.  With this orc counting as a casualty, though, Donatello's force is at 25%, meaning that we will finish up the round, and the game will end.  One of my Riders of Rohan failed his Courage test to charge the Barrow Wight, so he was rooted in place; his blood brother charged the bannerman that had engaged the paralyzed Son of Eorl, leaving the board looking like this:


In the Fight Phase, the Barrow Wight failed to wound the paralyzed Son of Eorl (*Drops head*), and the Rider of Rohan knocks over and kills the bannerbearer.  Just below them, the orc archer wins the fight and slays the rider ("Whoa - where did that come from?!?!?!") ("A little too late, guys - this fight's over.").  Both Eomer and the Son of Eorl lose their fights to the shielding spearmen, and with that, the battle is ended.

Final Casualty Count: 18/22 for Angmar (less than 25%), 4/9 for Rohan (1 to break).

Final Score for Rohan: 3 points (break enemy force without being broken) + 3 points (kill enemy Army Leader) + 0 points (no banner at the end) = 6 points

Final Score for Angmar: 0 points (enemy army not broken) + 0 points (no unsaved wounds on Eomer) + 0 points (no banner at the end) = 0 points

Final Count: 6-0 for a Major Victory for Rohan

Post-Game Assessment by Glenstorm: Well, I anticipated a bumpy ride, but I had no idea it would turn out like this!  The truth is, the entire game was a display of grace on my forces.  Eomer got up after only 1 turn of paralysis, and the 2 wounds dealt in that round were saved by Fate with no Might points required.  My Sons of Eorl were not pasted by overwhelming fire.  Critical rounds saw no magic coming out against my force.  In retrospect, though, as much as I needed to save my Son of Eorl, I should have left his banner alone and let him finish the game 6-2.  I will likely never run a full cav force in a tournament, but using it every now and then in games like this is very...invigorating...and keeps me on the edge of my seat, :)

Post-Game Assessment by Donatello: The strategy started well - we forced Rohan to commit when only a handful of their men could actually engage my force, and we even started off melee combat with 2 kills.  The two turns that followed that round were horrendous, though, and that's what lost us the game.  Had we been able to capitalize on stunting the riders, tying down the hero/elite units, we could have easily overran them.  I'd definitely be up for a rematch in the near future.

Stellar Unit for Rohan: Son of Eorl.  These guys, at D6 with Armored horses that can move 12" provide you with a 2-attack unit (3 dice on the charge when mounted) that can pack a punch against enemy infantry, and wins fights in scenarios like this off of their F4.  I don't know how this game would have turned out if he had playtested an uruk force (Rematch, Glenstorm? ;) ), but for this game, they were exactly what my force needed when they needed them.

Stellar Unit for Angmar: Orc Spearman.  Since the Barrow Wights are heroes, I'll forego picking them for this post, even though they paralyzed four units and stunted two charges through failed Courage tests.  Orc spearman with shields offer you a D5 option that allows you to counter horsemen with more dice without the risk of being bowled over by them if you lose the fight.  This was best seen in Turn 3 when we trashed the Riders of Rohan that engaged my lonely orc swordsman.  They also give you a chance to tag heroes/elite units to tie them up long enough (hopefully) for your units to capitalize on other weaker units.  I really like them.

My tactics post for the Grey Company should be up over the weekend, so keep an eye on the site!

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

2 comments:

  1. and yet again, your tiny armies continue to pull the upset. maybe I should start putting my money on the little guys (at least when they aren't facing my Easterlings ;) )

    an all-mounted force could be quite formidable - especially if you pick up Erkenbrand. all units are then +2 to courage and your riders can be upgraded to F4 for 1pt each.

    plus, under the new Kingdoms of Men FAQ, the bows on your riders don't count towards the 33% bow limit. pretty sick.

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    1. Good thoughts - I have thought of Erkenbrand, though, if I did field him, I'd likely choose between him and Eomer, or I'll lose 200+ points just between the two of them. I'm definitely a fan of Westfold Redshields if I mount up again (roll offs against orcs is just plain wrong).

      I'm still in experimental mode when it comes to cav, so I'm seriously weighing whether to spend the cash on Erkenbrand. We'll see, :)

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