Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Battle Report: Axes of Erebor v. Angmoria


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur with another battle report!  For the past week I've been out of town with no internet connection, riding horses, roping cows, throwing tomahawks, shooting bows, and all kinds of other things that (apparently) cowboys do at Latigo Ranch, the #1 Dude Ranch in Colorado (and the world, in this blogger's humble opinion).  If you need a getaway and don't mind being in the middle of nowhere in Colorado, you should seriously go sometime.  It's an excellent summer getaway, hosting guests from all over the world.

Earlier this month I promised you all a battle report from my bout with Tavros at a game night we had, and after getting the feedback on the game from Tavros, I'm really excited to write up my first attempt, and we decided to play a 600-pt To the Death scenario.  I decided to try my hand at my first ever Dwarf army build, and Tavros decided to experiment with a new approach to Moria.  While most Moria players rely on trolls and possibly a Wild Warg Chieftain, Tavros wanted to try two new units as crux members of the army: wild wargs, and a Dweller in the Dark.  The lists looked like this:

Glenstorm's Force - Axes of Erebor (LOME, Erebor + Wanderers in the Wild)
-Shieldbearer: 60 pts
-1 Dwarf Warrior w/ banner: 33 pts
-10 Iron Hills Veterans w/ shields: 110 pts
-10 Dwar Warriors w/ dwarf bows: 90 pts
-4 Khazad Guards: 44 pts
-4 Iron Guard: 60 pts
-4 Dwarf Rangers w/ throwing axes: 40 pts
-2 Dwarf Rangers w/ 2Hers: 16 pts

-Murin (Army Leader) and Drar: 150 pts

TOTAL: 603 points, 38 units, 8 Might

Tavros' Force - Angmoria (Moria, LOME)
-Wild Warg Chieftain (Army Leader): 75 pts
-1 Dweller in the Dark: 75 pts
-2 Goblin Shamans: 90 pts
-4 Goblin Prowlers with 2Hes: 32 pts
-18 Goblin Warriors w/ shields: 90 pts
-15 Goblin Warriors w/ spears: 75 pts
-10 Goblin Warriors w/ bows: 50 pts
-6 Wild Wargs: 48 pts
-1 Bat Swarm: 35 pts
-1 Warg Marauder: 35 pts

TOTAL: 605 points, 59 units, 3 Might


I've never played dwarves before, though Kellar and Tiberius have played them, and they really enjoy them (though I think Tiberius would take his Wood Elves over the heavy armor dwarves any day of the week other than Tuesday - because rolling dice on a Tuesday is just a bad idea).  To up the anti, my build does two things that no player so far on this blog has attempted.  First, I have not taken a F6 dwarf hero.  While this may seem like a small thing, consider: all of my units lose ties to the Wild Warg Chieftain, who is not only the enemy army leader, but also knocks down opponents on the charge (which, if Tavros uses his Might points and Priority well, which is a given, he'll do for at least three rounds solid).  With a S6 hero, Tavros will be able to make a mess of my lines, eating my high defense units on 5s (including my heroes), and my less defensible banner and archers on 4s.  Not the strongest build for this list.

What is more, I'm investing a lot of points in my shield wall.  Murin and Drar allow you to upgrade your Dwarf Warriors to Iron Hill Veterans, who are S4 instead of S3.  Against a primarily D5 army, it makes no difference whether your units are S3 or S4.  It makes a difference against shamans and archers, but considering the 33 Greenskins, 8 wargs, bats, and Dweller in the Dark between me and them, I'm not counting on too many fights against D4 that will not involve a lot of opposing dice.  Still, this is a list I've always wanted to try out, and as the inaugural game for my newly painted Murin and Drar, the list suits me.

I'm also testing out Iron Guard in this list (using base painted dwarf warriors for placeholders), as the 2 attacks at S4 and F4 appeal to me.  Add in a 3+ Shoot Value coupled with S3 throwing axes, all from a D6 warrior, they strike me as a good investment for any dwarf army, and remind me of the Hunter Orcs I fielded in the TMAT Grand Tournament this past March.  All dwarf armies invest points in a heavily armored force; the typical problem for dwarves is not being able to convert a lack of casualties into kills per round, and I'm hoping that the Iron Guard will make that conversion happen.

Strategy for Glenstorm: Tavros has me outnumbered 3:2, and with the unpredictability of Fury Saves, it's difficult to tell how many wounds we'll need to deal in order to break his army.  My plan is to quickly rush the Dweller in the Dark and attempt to take him down on a round where he rolls poorly to win the fight.  Since he is only D5 with 4 health, I'll engage him with a few Iron Guard to win the fight and some Khazad Guards to finish him off.  If he wins the fight, though, at F7 S7, he'll wound any of my non-Murin warriors on 4s, so let's not lose, :)  Otherwise I'll form a solid battle line to keep the wargs from my flank, use the archers to take down the bat swarm early, and then hew through the goblins to get to the shamans as quickly as possible.  Once the army breaks, mopping up the remaining wargs and warriors should be manageable.  So, to call the ball: protect the banner, take down the support/power models, and keep a solid battle line that will bottleneck the hoard until we break the army.

Strategy for Tavros: Dwarves are by far the most intimidating civ to me; a battle line of nearly impenetrable, walking tin-cans with sharp things trying to kill me.  Greenskins are not to be underestimated by they don't survive particularly well and they aren't going to do much to these mini iron-men...and I'm not bringing trolls.  I'm not even taking Durburz or Groblog along for if/when I break (I'm just gonna hope the Fury spells from my two shamans will be enough to keep guys around).  I'm always nervous without trolls but I'm hoping the warg pack and Dweller in the Dark will give me enough punch.  My strategy is simple: engage as much of his battle line as possible with the Greenskins and have the wargs and the Dweller hit the flanks.  I have a lot of high mobility units (one 8", eight 10", and one 12"), I'm hoping this will help me make the most of my high strength units while keeping them out of too much trouble.

Scoring

Today's match will be a To the Death scenario, as both of us were testing new builds, and a good ole' fashion scrap is a good way of testing the mettle of a new list, using the following rules:

  • Game ends when one force is reduced to 25% or less of its starting models
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded for killing the enemy army leader
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded if a team has a banner remaining once the game ends
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded if the enemy force is broken.  3 Victory Points are awarded if the enemy force is broken and your force is not broken by the end of the game

There was another game running right next to ours (between Captain Glot and Zorro), so if you see other models next to ours, don't worry - it's just a graveyard, :)  They were playing a fascinating game where Zorro tested out a monster-based Angmar list against Glot's Rohan, who now sport Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields (which, from one Rohan player to another, is a must for any Rohan list, in my humble opinion) and Erkenbrand, which is pretty amazing.  I won't spoil much about the game, but let me just say right here that it was quite entertaining watching the game go down, :)

We agreed to the terrain, rolled for placement, and the board looked like this as we headed into Turn 1:


And with that... (for death and glory!)

Turn 1 (P: Goblins)


In the Move Phase, the armies just marched toward each other.  Both of the shamans attempted to cast Fury, and both failed the roll (1/3W for each).  Both volley lines lined up for shots, and nothing of interest happened, so we move to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Erebor)

The armies move up further, with the Dweller in the Dark screening the Moria army, and my forces filling in the gaps around the rocks.  Both of the goblin shamans successfully cast Fury (2/3W for each used).  In the Shoot Phase, Drar's shot landed a wound on one of the goblin shields, and the wound was saved with Fury (1/1 saves).  The Goblin archery lands no wounds, and we move to Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Goblins)


As the armies start closing the distance, the goblins formed their battle lines with the wargs in reserve.  The Dweller in the Dark moves in on the strike force on the far side, and the bat swarm placed itself near the bridge, effectively allowing him to strike wherever he chooses on Turn 4.

In the Shoot Phase, the goblins land no wounds (which makes sense with S2 bows hitting on 5+), and with my archery, I pounded into the Bat Swarm (since it will cause me to lose my prized higher Fight Value).  My archers landed 3 wounds on the Bat Swarm (3/4H taken, so not quite finished), and the throwing axes of the Iron Guard on the far left hit the Dweller in the Dark (1/3H) (yeaaah...serves me right for leaving him out in the open).

Turn 4 (P: Erebor)


And as we enter Turn 4, we move into glorious combat!  I took the opportunity to charge the main lines on the left side, and after attempting to wound the Dweller in the Dark with a throwing axe (which didn't work), and I tucked my banner in a safe spot near the center of my force.  Tavros brought as many wargs as possible to bear on me this turn, opting to hold the goblins on the right in reserve.  On the left side, one of the wargs took a climb test to see if he could get over the stone wall, and after rolling a 6, proceeded to charge into my men past my battle line.


In the Shoot Phase, my men do nothing helpful (which is a problem, because we still haven't caused a single casualty to bring Tavros' force closer to his 30-model break point), though the Marauder manages to kill one of my 2H Rangers.  As we enter the Fight Phase, my Shieldbearer must declare a Heroic Combat, so we begin there.


In the Fight Phase, my Shieldbearer loses his Heroic Combat (I know, right?  What shieldbearers lose combats against goblin swordsmen?), but he takes no wounds.  The Dweller in the Dark wins his combat and kills the Khazad Guard and a Dwarf Ranger, leaving the Iron Guard alive.  The warg nearby wins his fight, knocks over the Dwarf Warrior, but fails to wound him.  One of the Dwarf Warriors in the main battle line is killed by the warg in his fight, and the golden Dwarf Warrior on the far side of Murin kills his goblin, but the wound is saved by Fury (2/2 saves).  Murin wins his fight (despite the Fight Value penalty), and wounds the Bat Swarm and the goblin, though the goblin's wound is Fury saved (3/3 saves) (as a reminder, this is on a 6+ save; Groblog is not part of this army.  This was truly incredible; I've never seen anything like this before) (I'm not asking any questions.  I'll take it!).


Near the center, the Iron Guard is killed by the Marauder (ok...having a warg with three attacks on defense is just awesome), and my dwarf ranger on the bridge loses his combat with the goblin, but is not wounded.  One of the Dwarf warriors kills the goblin in his fight, and the wound is not Fury saved (3/4 saves).  As you can see, my force is now vastly outnumbered, and I'm beginning to worry that if I do not get priority next round, we will be completely surrounded.


On the far right, the wargs win two of their fights, resulting in a number of warriors on the ground.  One of the Dwarf Warriors is killed by the gray warg, and the Wild Warg Chieftain next to him kills both the Dwarf Warrior and the Khazad Guard in the adjacent fight.  At the end of the first round of close combat, the kill count stands at:

Kill Count: Dwarves 8/36 (11 from break), Goblins 3/59 (27 from break)

Turn 5 (P: Goblins)


The armies advance, with Tavros taking advantage of the fact that I have a number of dwarves on the ground, who at best can stand up this turn, and will be counted as trapped if they lose the combat.  As you can see, by the end of the Move Phase, the Dweller in the Dark charged toward my main battle line, and the goblins begin to press the attack on the far left.  Most of the wargs have wrapped around my guys, and my archers charged and surrounded one of the wargs.


In the Shoot Phase, nothing of interest happened; the Warg Marauder had two shots, but nothing came of them.  So we quickly moved to the Fight Phase where the Shieldbearer and Drar both called Heroic Combats.  Drar and his loyal company of archers easily overwhelmed the warg, wounded him, and then proceeded to engage some of the goblins and the nearby warg.  A few of them also headed across to support Murin's company.


On the other side, the Shieldbearer won his combat but completely missed the goblin, so his combat came to an end.  The Iron Guard slew one of the wargs, and the Dweller in the Dark was beaten by the dwarves, but they failed to wound him (I seriously need to do something about firepower in this list; I'm just not converting combat wins into wounds here).  One of the Dwarf Rangers with 2H was also killed, as was one of the other wargs.  Murin paid a Might Point to win his combat (1/3M), but failed to wound on both attacks, even after both of them were re-rolled (Yeah...just, yeah...insert the point about firepower, :) ).


Moving further down the line, one of the dwarf archers lost his combat against the two goblins, but was not wounded.  The other dwarves in the battle line fought bravely, and managed to kill one more goblin in the front rank who failed his Fury save (3/5 saves).  As we headed down the line, though, the fighting got brutal.  Two dwarf archers were killed by the Wild Warg Chieftain, and one of the Khazad Guards was torn apart by the blood-scarred wild warg.  The dwarf ranger on the bridge also won his fight, but was unable to wound the swordsman.


The Iron Guard lost his fight, but was not wounded by the goblins.  He'll live to fight another day.  So, at the end of Turn 5, the current kill count looks like this:

Kill Count: Dwarves 12/38 (7 from break), 7/59 (23 from break)

Turn 6 (P: Erebor)

Turn 6 finds my forces in dire straights.  If we're not careful, Tavros will surround select units in my army, kill them off, and break my force with no hope of me breaking his before the end of the game.  This means that if that happens, my only hope for pulling out a draw or win is if Murin survives, my banner survives, and/or the Wild Warg Chieftain dies.  Since I'm not counting on any of my forces on that side of the board being able to kill the chieftain, I'm going to make an effort this round to protect my banner and thin out the ranks in that part of the field.  Once Move Phase ends, the board looks like this:


As you can see, I made a valiant attempt to block out the main body of soldiers, but my banner was engaged nonetheless (move of 8" *shrugs*).  At this point, I'm desperately short on models, and my battle line is way too long to be of any use against this horde.  Most of the wargs are down, and Murin is only two models away from one of the shamans, so my aim this round is to start wading through the goblin ranks in an attempt to get rid of their Fury support, and prevent them from having Stand Fasts for when (well, if/when) I break his army.  In the Shoot Phase, a few goblin archers shot into combats (most notably the one on the bridge), but nothing happened (really just wanted to shoot something) (I'm D5; I don't mind, :) ).


In the Fight Phase, we had two Heroic Combats: one with Murin (2/3M), and one with the Shieldbearer.  The Shieldbearer won his combat and wounded his man, and then moved into Murin's combat.  Murin and the Shieldbearer won their fight, they wounded their man, and Murin moved up, as you can see here (3/7 Fury saves).  Murin then won his fight, wounded his man once, and that was saved by Fury (4/8 saves).  On this side of the field, the Iron Guard took down the last warg on this flank, and one of the dwarves killed a goblin archer.  The Dweller in the Dark dispatched my banner, though, so I won't be gaining any points from the banner this game.


On the other side, the Wild Warg Chieftain tallied up another archer kill (failed to wound one of the archers he knocked over), as Drar added another goblin archer to his count (4/9 saves).  The dwarf archer with him died fending off more goblins, as did the Iron Guard in the far corner.  I also lost a Khazad Guard, a shield, and another archer on the far side.  As you'll notice, we didn't kill very many people this round, and with the death of the Khazad Guard, the kill count comes to...

Kill count: Dwarves 20/38 (broken, 8 from game), Goblins 14/59 (16 from break)

Turn 7 (P: Goblins)


Tavros was really hoping that I would get Priority, and I was desperately hoping that he would.  As it happens, fortune favors the bold, :)  Following his charges into my men, I found I didn't need to do any testing, as my forces were being surrounded across the map.  Nothing of note happened in the archery phase, and we moved into the combats.

Heroic Combats were called by the Shieldbearer (automatic), Murin (3/3M), and Drar (2/3M).  The Shieldbearer loses his combat, and the goblins fail to wound him.  Drar also loses his combat, and the archers fail to wound him as well (what's up with this, guys?  Seriously: they're goblins!), and Murin wins his fight and slays both of the goblins in his combat (4/11 saves).  He then moved up to threaten the safety of the Shaman.


By the end of the Fight Phase, I've lost two more archers to the Wild Warg Chieftain, and one of my shields lost the fight with the Warg Marauder, but he was not wounded.  One of my shields was killed by the goblins, and Murin not only lost his combat against the shaman and a spearman, but was also wounded once, and failed his Fate roll (1/1F, 1/2H).  I...was, just, speechless: he's supposed to mop the floor with D4 lower FV infantry, and...yeah, just, yeah, :)  (I was just as surprised.  Just throwing that in there)


On the other side, an archer loses his fight against the Wild Warg, but he does not take a wound.  One of the other archers was not so lucky, which can also be said of the shield and Iron Guard that also lay dying on the floor near the rock.  The Dwarf ranger on the bridge won his fight yet again, forcing the goblins back to where we started Turn 4 when this combat got started.

Kill Count: Dwarves 26/38 (2 from game), Goblins 17/59 (13 from game)

Turn 8 (P: Goblins)


So, this game is going down fast, :)  The Warg Marauder slung around and helped tag Murin, the Wild Warg Chieftain engaged the Shieldbearer, and the rest of my men were surrounded.  Nothing of note happened in the archery phase, and with only two kills to go, we headed into the Fight Phase.


The Dweller in the Dark won his combat against the golden shield warrior, and decided to use the Monster Rules from The Hobbit to fling the shield into the wall.  In the process, he killed the Dwarf Ranger, the goblin archer, and the shield warrior.  The Iron Guard was knocked over, but won the combat between him and the spearman, causing him to stand up.  Murin falls to the Warg Marauder, and the Shieldbearer was slain by the Wild Warg Chieftain (who dealt 4 wounds at 5s in this combat - it was quite impressive).


On the other side, Drar won his combat and killed the Prowler (4/12 saves), the dwarf on the bridge won his combat again, and failed to wound the goblin (ok, these two guys have been fighting for a long time.  One of them should be dead by now...statistically me, but whatever).  The goblins and the last remaining warg slew their archer, and the other dwarves held on valiantly to the end.  As you can already tell, though, the game was over, and the final tally was pending.

Kill Count: Dwarves 30/38 (game), Goblins 19/59 (11 from break)

For the final score, the game came out as a 5-0 Major Victory sweep for the Greenskins.

Conclusion

Glenstorm's Thoughts: Wow, that fight was brutal.  I've always admired the swarm ability of the goblins, but adding the wargs instead of a troll or two?  Call me crazy, but for the shaman-Wild Warg Chieftain build, it might work better to use the wargs than the trolls.  Especially if you pass one-third of your Fury saves, :)  I'd be interested in seeing more battles with Moria teams so that I can compare the two builds.  The list I faced played well against the heavy armor of the dwarves, using units that, though wounding on 6s, reliably threw enough dice into the mix to deal the wounds he needed in each round.  He managed his assault well, and I cede defeat.  Well fought, friend.

Tavros' Thoughts: There were several points where I think the die were just in my favor, but the high mobility that I fielded definitely had a major impact on this game.  When you've got two armies that move 5", having 10 speedy units (most with some nasty teeth) to play with was just a huge advantage and it worked well in the match...that and passing 1/3 of my Fury saves, :)  I think my overall strategy worked out better than I anticipated: the wargs/dweller managed their flank fairly well and the WWC and his minions wreaked havoc.  I guess leaving the trolls was fine after all.

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: Definitely the Iron Guard.  The four Iron Guard I fielded in this army didn't pop up in too many of the glamor shots (though, let's face it: most of my team didn't do anything too spectacular in that game), but the amount of fire they attracted was very beneficial in preserving softer elements of the team, and they gave me some much-needed kills at critical points in the game (the warg kills on the far left being the most notable).  I am definitely sold on getting a blister of them now, and am likely going to spend my birthday money on that, so that I can have them painted up for anyone who may want to field them in the Hunters Red October Tournament.  Plus they are dwarves with swords, which I really like, :)

Stellar Unit for Tavros: I really had a hard time with this...and I hate to give the award to a hero, but the WWC was by far the most effective unit in my force.  He killed two dwarves almost every round of combat (that adds up).  Cavalry in general work very well with infantry, and I was able to use them pretty effectively this game.  So I'm going to say the "warg pack" led by the WWC.  They were fast to where I needed them, they landed wounds, and drew attention.  With the low defense, wargs' performance is highly unpredictable because sometimes they just die.  Fortunately they operated well tonight.  Hat-tip to Glenstorm for a good game.

For as bad as my team got hammered in this game, I was actually pleasantly surprised with the list.  As I mentioned, this was a softer build: F6 would have helped a lot against the Wild Warg Chieftain, and my S4 on my front line did not help me in any combats whatsoever.  That being said, I don't think it's a bad build, and I learned some important tactical lessons regarding placement and usage of archers, how thin you can go with a spearless set of heavy infantry, and points to ponder when facing monsters and S4 cav.  Over the next week I'll be working on a few random painting projects to help me in clearing off my desk (while watching White Collar), so expect some posts on random civs that I haven't used yet on this blog, but I look forward to using (and building terrain for) in future posts.  I am also hoping to get in an all-hero game against Tiberius as well as a few other games with my Easterlings and some of my newly crafted Grey Company models.  Until that time, you'll know where to find me,

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

"Sybil Trelawney may have Seen, I do not know...but she wastes her time, in the main, on the self-flattering nonsense human beings call fortune-telling.  I, however, am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

4 comments:

  1. looks like it was a fun game. it was hard to get a good sense of it at the time with all the rohirrim being thrown around on our end of the table.

    I really like your list Glenstorm - personally I would drop the rangers for more armor, but mostly that is because I don't like D5 units. Maybe toss in a second blister of IG to increase your firepower. Nothing quite like "shielding" with pointed objects

    Those wargs are pretty nasty. There is a reason I usually try to kill them ASAP. The dweller seemed like a nice addition too. Well played Tavros.

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    1. An extra blister of IG is not a bad idea; I may even cut into the number of Khazads I run, but I'm still thinking that through. I really like Iron Guard, so I'm definitely not opposed to it. That being said, though, I'm also somewhat concerned about my break point, as it's already pretty low, giving me a smaller margin of error.

      One of the biggest problems in that game was that my archery only landed 3 hits on the bat swarm in terms of actual damage count: I lost a lot of critical rounds not putting out any wounds, which my team badly needed to bring him to his break point. C'est la vie, though, :) I'd definitely be up for another run with this list, though!

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  2. That was an enjoyable Battle Report to read. Nice one. Too bad the Dwarves lost though :(

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    1. Yeah...for my first spin, though, I didn't think it went all that bad. I was actually very pleased with their performance on the whole. I'll be itching to do more with them in the future, :)

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