Thursday, January 17, 2013

Battle Report: Chill of Angmar v. The Rallying of the Riddermark


Dear Reader,

After doing some further work on my Angmar and Misty Mountains forces, I took Zorro up on an outstanding offer to test out my troops on the battlefield (instead of just in the workshop).  Zorro is trying his hand at my Rohan force just for kicks, and I'm anxious to see what it is like facing off against my favorite hero in the game: Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields!

Zorro's Force: The Rallying of the Riddermark (LOME: Theoden's Host)
Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields w/ Armored Horse: 130pts
1 Captain of Rohan w/ shield: 50pts
1 King's Huntsman: 50pts
10 Rohan Outriders w/ bows: 70pts
16 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 112pts
10 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields/throwing spears: 90pts
3 Riders of Rohan: 39pts
6 Rohan Royal Guards: 60pts

TOTAL: 601 points, 48 units, 7 Might


Glenstorm's Force: The Chill of Angmar (LOME: Angmar)

The Dwimmerlaik: 120 pts

3 Barrow Wights: 150 pts
8 Orc Warriors w/ shield: 48 pts
8 Orc Warriors w/ shield/spear: 56 pts
3 Orc Warriors w/ 2H weapons: 18 pts
1 Orc Warrior w/ Banner: 30 pts
4 Orc Warriors w/ bows: 24 pts

Allied force: The Predators of the Misty Mountains (LOME New Addition: Misty Mountains)

Narzug: 50 pts
4 Hunter Orcs: 32 pts
6 Hunter Orcs w/ bows: 54 pts
2 Hunter Orcs w/ 2H weapons: 18 pts

TOTAL: 600 pts, 41 units, 3 Might, 32 Will, 4 Casters


Scoring

Today we will be playing a Domination game, with the following rules:
  • Game ends at the end of a turn when one side reaches 25% of its starting number of models or below
  • 3 Victory Points for each objective marker that has at least one of your models, and no enemy models, within 3"
  • 1 Victory Point for each objective marker that has both friendly and enemy models, but more friendly than enemy models, within 3"
  • 2 Victory Points for killing the enemy Army Leader
  • 1 Victory Point if the enemy force is broken at the end of the game.  If the enemy force is broken and your force is unbroken, you instead score 3 Victory Points

This will be a good way for me to test my troops, as it will test the list's killing power, ability to fight concentrated bodies of enemies, avoid archery, and cover a good portion of the map.  With both forces at around an equal size (48 - 41), there is also no inherent advantage to one side or the other in covering the ground (though speed across the board may be another question).

Deployment



Strategy for Glenstorm: Simple game: cover my hunter orcs with the orc warriors from archery, and aim for the middle objective and Zorro's starting objective.  Like most players, he'll only leave a handful of people at that objective, and send his formations toward the wings.  I'll punch a hole through his center formation through magic and brute firepower, drawing his formations back toward the center, and then keep him out of scoring radius while I rush the top objective.  I'll likely feign an attack to the side objectives just to keep him from reinforcing the center early.

Strategy for Zorro: This game was mostly to expand my horizons and strategic thinking. I've only played Rohan once before, although I've ground them underfoot many a time. I figured it was about time that I see what it is like from under those horse-hair helmets. My general plan was to cover the center objective with the outriders to maximize damage as the orcs charge for the middle, hook the main force to claim the Eastern objective while still pressuring the center, move a stunting force towards the west to prevent orcs from taking my Northern objective from that direction, while Eomer and his riders would feint towards the middle, and then swing around East to claim the Southern objective from whatever stragglers Glenstorm left behind. Basically, I was conceding 1.5 objectives to claim the moral victory of stealing my opponent's home base. A lot of this would depend on the Huntsman's ability to pick off the barrow wights - otherwise things will probably go downhill fast!


We used the setup rules that will be used in the March Tournament for LOME teams, which requires deployment within 12" of opposite corners (Z: I like the old deployment better, as it involved more strategy in determining where to commit your forces rather than each side starting with 2 objectives from the get-go at which point the game devolves into a scrum for the center) and at least 3 distinct groups (no hero required in each group), and the deployments of the armies looked like this:


With everything in place... ("To war!!!") ("Death and Glory!")

Round 1 (P: Evil)



The armies moved toward each other, with each volley line moving only 3" forward.  In the Shoot Phase, Narzug - volleying with his crew of orcs - landed a hit on Eomer, which was Fate Saved (1/3F) (note to self, putting the hit from the guy who has a free might to wound with archery on your main hero is baaaad...).  The Rohan Outriders fired directly into the approaching orcs:



...And down went an orc spearman, and one of the 2Her Hunter Orcs. To add insult to injury, the Huntsman drew his bowstring and downed a Barrow Wight ("Man, I wanted those..." *shrug*).  With that resolved and no melee combats, we move to...

Round 2 (P: G)


Both armies start moving forward, with the Rohan Outriders doing a 3" march toward the center as the Rohan forces fan out toward the far West and East Objectives (by the way, we're calling the top of the picture "North" for these photos, just for convenience).  The main body of my Angmar force closed in on the center objectives, as my archers scoot toward the East Objective, and a small band of orcs accompanied by a Barrow Wight make their way to the West Objective.



In the Shoot Phase, the King's Huntsman looked across the field, saw what was within 24", and said, "Hey Barrow Wight #3, I can see you!"  He landed the hit, it was on target (passing in-the-ways on a 2+ is sweet), and he wounded the Wight, restoring the Might points he spent (killing Barrow Wights on 4s without "spending" might points is sweeeeter).  That's 2 Barrow Wights down for me.  I'd love to tell you that the archery kills this round ended there...


...But it didn't, :-/  One of my orc spearmen and my other 2Her hunter orc also fell this round, which was a pity - because I won't have a chance to use a 2Her hunter orc this game in close combat melee.  I guess that's what happens when you face an archer core. *shrugs* ("My poor next opponent," :) ) (Now you know what it is like to stand in front of your Grey Company =P).  On the bright side:


One of the Rohan Warriors died to our volley fire, bringing the Eastern Objective Rohan force to almost the same size as my archer troop.  With no fights, we prepared to move to Round 3.

Round 3 (P: G)


In an interesting turn of fate, the Rohan warriors nearing the West Objective decided, on the whole, to hold their ground, preferring to present a strong, long battle line against my orcs (Rohan players take note: this is what you should be doing with Rohan infantry!  FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE!). (It was all... part... of the plaaan /heathledgervoice)  The archers were careful to move to about 6.5" away (to avoid being charged), and prepared for another round of archery.  The horsemen split up, also careful to be more than 12" away from the Dwimmerlaik (to avoid any spells from coming out this turn) ("Much the pity," :) ) (actually, I was more concerned with trying to keep them out of range of the last Barrow Wight - who could unhorse them if you managed priority next), so instead the Dwimmerlaik turns and casts Transfix on the Huntsman to save the last Barrow Wight (2/16 W).  I took the opportunity here to slide my force toward the center, preparing for the punch through his lines to the far objective.  I also remembered that I need someone at the South Objective to claim it, and ran one of my orcs back to tag the base.  The other archers broke into a run toward the far objective, knowing that we will not get a lot more time from the horses or the infantry formation.  At the end of my Move Phase, the Barrow Wight successfully cast Paralyze on the Rohan Royal Guard (2/5W):


And then we turned to fire on each other!  The Rohan Outriders did their dirty work to my archer troop this time, successfully landing a wound:


Narzug...succeeded at being useless this round - as evidenced by the 1 he rolled, :-/  For being almost purely an archery captain, this was depressing, especially since I needed to whittle down the infantry force a bit to prepare for those horsemen.  With no fights, we move to Round 4.

Round 4 (P: E)


...And the battle is met!  With priority on my side, I moved my forces in to engage the enemy archers, pin-pointing the attack around the paralyzed Royal Guard.  The Dwimmerlaik successfully cast Transfix on Eomer (4/16W), who opted not to resist the spell ("Saving your Will points for Paralysis, ayuh?" :) ) (you think?).  I then slid over the second formation of orcs to protect the rear of my main body, and Zorro was kind enough to engage them with the formation from the West Objective (more like, formerly-written-off objective is suddenly free for the taking, and I get to move my shield wall up to keep the orcs penned in to boot? yes please!).  You can also see a few of his soldiers that have broken off from that troop to advance South.  My archers moved up 6" to prepare to engage the far Rohan formation, and his men stepped up to throwing spear range.


In the Shoot Phase, Rohan did a lot of shooting...but there was very little productivity from it (and at this point, the Huntsman begins to fall from favor, despite his early critial hits).  Narzug also shot at the enemy and... yeah...forget him, :)  And then...THERE WAS MUCH BLOOD AND CARNAGE!!!


Working my way from left to right, the Rohan Royal Guard killed his orc warrior, and one of the Warriors of Rohan killed his twin.  All of the archers managed to survive the fight, though they did not strike any wounds.  One of the Warriors of Rohan was killed by a particularly savage orc that we refer to on the squad as "The Harbinger" (green orc with sword/shield), and the hunter orc, with 4 S4 dice, killed the paralyzed Royal Guard.  The Rider of Rohan also slew one of the hunter orcs in the adjacent fight.

Current casualty count: Angmar has lost 10/41 (11 to break point), Rohan has lost 4/48 (20 to break point).

Round 5 (P: G)


Zorro wrapped his men around my left flank, and brought his infantry in quickly to engage my archers.  Two of my archers were unengaged, and they joined Narzug in tagging some of the far-end warriors, in hopes of freeing some of their buddies through a Heroic Combat.  The Barrow Wight turned to the Rohan Captain that was leading the flanking formation, and successfully cast Paralyze on him (3/5W)--thanks to the Dwimmerlaik negating his resistance dice (nooooo)--before charging a Warrior of Rohan - which was the best thing my Wight could do, as both Eomer and the Huntsman (the real threats) were out of range.  As the Dwimmerlaik was tagged by an infantryman, no more magic came out this turn.  Eomer took the opportunity to make a break toward the archer fight, and the Huntsman squared up to do some damage to my spear support and bannerguard.  You can also see, near the bottom of the screen, two sneaky Warriors of Rohan preparing to rush the Southern Objective (which, with the way he's pinned my units, I don't know if I'll be able to free.  I may need to change my choice of objectives, depending on how these fights resolve themselves).  Amazingly enough, nothing of note happened in the Shoot Phase (Gandalf Voice: "For which I am very grateful..." :) ) (fail, Huntsman. just... fail).


As mentioned earlier, I called a Heroic Combat with Narzug, and with 6 attacks at S4 and a F4 from Narzug, the not trapped Rider of Rohan was killed (both him and his horse), freeing up 6 attacks to go into other fights:


I chose to engage the Rider of Rohan (as he had not charged, and would have 1 attack against my 4 attacks with a lower FV to win the fight), and ganged the Warrior of Rohan that slipped around our forces (Strategy: If there is a time to cause some serious damage to this formation, now is the time.  If we cannot crumple this force and the horsemen supporting it in 1-2 turns, we'll never reach the objective, and we'll lose the match) (just keep Eomer away from the Dwimmerlaik, just just keep Eomer away from the Dwimmerlaik..).

The fights turned out like this:


As you can see, a three of the orc warriors on the flank were killed, and the orc spearman successfully wounded the paralyzed Rohan Captain, who saved it with fate (1/1F).  Moving up the line, the Rohan Outriders proved to be amazingly resilient, refusing to die to the onslaught of orcs on the whole.  Only one Outrider died in combat, and that to a spear-supported orc warrior and a hunter orc.  The Dwimmerlaik successfully won his fight against the Warrior of Rohan, and (4+ required) killed him.  The Barrow Wight and Orc 2H also won their fight against the Warrior of Rohan, and as wights wound against the unit's courage value, and the Dwimmerlaik reduces the courage of all units within 12" by 1, the S2 attack from the Wight (4+ now against a C2) killed the warrior.

Small aside: everyone expects you to do your magic within range of the Dwimmerlaik because he makes spending Will points risky, but did anyone else see attacking with Barrow Wights within the radius?  Did I keep that under the radar well, or what? ;)  Okay: aside over (considering I didn't know wights had the ability to wound against courage, no of course I didn't see that coming =P).

On the far side, Narzug and his hunter orc took down the Rider of Rohan, and two of the other hunter orcs took down a Warrior of Rohan and a Rohan Royal Guard.  In response, one of the Royal Guards killed one of the orc warrior bowmen.  To close the phase, the Rohan Captain failed his roll to dispel paralyze (requires a 6), and we prepared for Round 6.


Death tally for you: 16/41 for Angmar, 11/48 for Rohan.

Round 6 (P: E)

Eomer calls a heroic move (2/3 might - thanks to the Dwimmerlaik) and engages Narzug's warband to the East. In an effort to save the game before being broken, I started to rush my forces through the thin line of archers, attempting to cut a hole through to the North Objective (and it was only about now that it occured to me the problem I was about to face from having archers as my center line against S4 units *facepalm*).  The Barrow Wight finally caught up with the Huntsman and successfully cast Paralyze on a 6 (4/5W), and would you believe it?  He rolled a 6 to dispel it!  (booyah! look at me and my bad, er, good self!) Otherwise, a lot of the same match-ups from the last fight took place, as the soldiers of Rohan attempted to save their paralyzed captain, engage as many of the orcs as possible, and continue wrapping around our lines.  Nothing remarkable happened in the Shoot Phase.


Sorry for the blur, but as you can (kind of) see, the captain was left unwounded, and his men pushed back the spearmen that attempted to engage him.  Two of the orc warrior 2Hs were killed, and the Warriors of Rohan successfully wrapped around my left flank.  Up top, two of the Outriders were killed (one by the Barrow Wight, one by an orc warrior), and two warriors were finished off by the Dwimmerlaik and the Harbinger Orc.  On the far side, Eomer and his allies killed Narzug in one round (stupid Dwimmerlaik preventing me from risking a heroic combat with my last might point *grumble*) as the hunter orcs killed another of the warriors near the East Objective - there was more fighting to the far side that was off-camera.



Casualty total: 24 for Angmar (broken), and 21 for Rohan (3 from breaking).  The Rohan Captain rolled again to see if he rose from his paralysis, and he failed again.

Round 7 (P: G)

Zorro wisely engaged all of my remaining heroes and most of my warriors, and a few of my orcs then began to Courage Test.  Two of them ran away (pictured below near the center of the board), counting as casualties.  This brings my army to 26 of the 31 required to end the game. Those who passed, make a break for the Northern objective. One of the Rohan Warriors took a moment to stand by the Rohan Captain to attempt to assist in raising him from his paralysis, and the sneaky warriors finally reached and trapped my archer at the South Objective.  Amazingly enough, the East Objective (top right corner) is oddly vacant...


Needless to say, the Southern Objective fell to Rohan. :)  Quite decisively, :)  Near the East Objective, Eomer won his fight against the two hunter orcs, knocked them to the ground, and then attempted to wound them...and would you believe it...


("Yeah...every now and then he does that....Sorry...") (I hate this game) So, with two boys on the ground, I am thankfully not up to 28 casualties, :)  In the adjoining fights, the hunter orcs won out every time, but only wounded the spearman on the right side, missing their opportunity to capitalize (and, since his force is not broken yet, I need to break his force in order to keep him from getting 3 points).  Across the rest of the board:


One of the Warriors of Rohan lost to the Harbinger, and the Dwimmerlaik failed to wound either of the men in his fight.  With 8W remaining, the Dwimmerlaik has been doing his fair share of the fighting, and is also my only unit in scoring distance of the center objective (3"), which creates a problem....

Round 8 (P: G)

Zorro engaged my forces that rushed to the North Objective, though one orc successfully reached them, contesting the objective.  Most of my orcs that were not engaged failed their courage test, resulting in 4 more casualties for me.  As you will recall, things brings me to 30 casualties - one more, and the game is over.  With nothing important happening in the Shoot Phase, we move to the Fight Phase:


In the center, the Barrow Wight lost the fight against the Huntsman, the Royal Guard, and the two Warriors of Rohan, but none of them wounded him, causing them to back away.  The 2Her orc warrior, on the other hand, was not so lucky, resulting in casualty 31.  The Dwimmerlaik won his fight, but failed to wound anyone.


On the far side, Eomer led his men very well, and they did what I have come to expect of them: overcome.  Eomer successfully won his fight, knocked his enemies over, and trounced them soundly, with his Royal Guard and infantry finishing off a trapped hunter orc as well.  The other orcs won their fights, but failed to wound.  Amazingly, though, the East Objective (as you can see), is still vacant (yeah, got a little over zealous with killing orcs there), scoring no points for either side.

Final Score: 11 for Zorro (6 for two controlled objectives, 2 for two contested objectives, and 3 for breaking the enemy force without being broken), and 0 for Glenstorm, ending in an 11-0 Major Victory for Zorro.

Conclusion

Assessment by Zorro: Well, strategy-wise, I managed to do nearly everything I wanted to do. I made a few dumb mistakes (leaving an objective unclaimed, leaving my D4 troops as the main barrier to S4 troops, not remembering to assist my captain in getting up until the end of the game), but I also lucked out with a "free" objective and a few key kills from the Huntsman early on. The Dwimmerlaik really messed with my hero game plan. I'm getting the sense that he will quickly become my least-favorite nazgul to face. Thankfully the rank and file troops were able to tip the scales even without the support of heroes. Luckily for Glenstorm, most armies won't be fielding snipers like the Huntsman or Legolas and will have to wade through a few lines of orcs to get to the wights, so I look forward to seeing the kind of terror this army can wreak (on someone else of course!). Well fought Glenstorm.  

Assessment by Glenstorm: Major props to Zorro for effectively cancelling the strengths of my list.  I walked into the game against an opponent who had almost no Will points, and my aim was to couple brute firepower from the Hunter Orcs with the magic of four casters.  Zorro picked his targets very well, taking out two of my casters and a number of my hunter orcs early in the game, and with only one wight and a Nazgul remaining, my magic game was easy to handle.  From a strategy perspective, it doesn't get prettier than that!


Stellar Unit for Zorro: I think I am going to have to go with the Outriders on this one. The Huntsman got a few key kills with the wights, but quickly petered off into dead weight who couldn't even use his might points to assist - thanks to the Dwimmerlaik. The F4 of Royal guards helped win some key combats, but oddly enough it was the Outriders that carried the day. Not even counting the archery kills, they managed to hold a steady line against superior-and particularly lethal-foes when their inept leader forgot to back them up with shield support. As much as it pains a primarily evil player to say this, well done sons of Rohan!

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: Hunter Orcs.  Okay, some may label this as "New Unit Syndrome," but let's face it: who can say that they have had orcs without spear support unhorse and kill cavalryman, hold a flank when outnumbered, and keep a major hero (like Eomer on a horse on the charge) tied down with orcs that only cost 9 points/model?  To date...no orc commander ever.  In fact, I'll even wager that Morannon orcs have never done it.  I was highly impressed by what I saw in this army, and, after discussing the game with Zorro, am seriously thinking about fielding more of them in the next game - perhaps removing a Barrow Wight to do so.  I think they complement my force well, allowing me some additional muscle to back up the wildcard that is magic.


As we head into the rest of January, I'm looking forward to experimenting against different civs using different tactics, so stay tuned to this site for more painting projects and games with the forces of Angmar!

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

"I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane - yes, with humans alongside me if I must." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

4 comments:

  1. Nice report, and some interesting dynamics going on. The table looked rather sparse though, would more terrain have affected the outcome? Some clumps of woods here and there could have lessened the effectiveness of archery...

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    1. yeah, unfortunately I was a bit short on terrain, but considering there were only 6-7 total archery kills in 3 rounds of shooting, I don't think that was as huge of an impact. If there had been more terrain to block shooting, I wouldn't have been about to get into close range until the Huntsman had picked off a wight or two - considering that he does that on a 4+ (thanks to his handy special rule that gives all his might back when he kills a hero or monster and passes all in-the-way rolls on a 2+). In instances like this, Methinks he is better than having Legolas!

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    2. A bit more terrain would have helped to stem archery a bit (I left my Osgiliath Ruins at home), but since this is a test game for my civ, it was actually really nice to see how they would do in a completely open combat. I'm expecting the archery kills to be lower in more covered games (which should be almost all of the games I play), so that's encouraging for me.

      And the Huntsman is a really helpful hero to have in this scenario. SO glad I own him, :)

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