Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Domination: The White Council vs. The Defenders of Eriador

After a very long break (I've been really busy), I'm back with another post. Glenstorm and I recently got together to battle again, in part to test out his Hobbit army after Operation Tookburough, and also because I'm looking at buying an Erestor model and wanted to get him tested. This game will be between my fun-filled White Council army and Glenstorm's Shire list. Here are the forces:

The Muster of Rivendell: 600 points

Gandalf the Grey - 170 points
Celeborn with heavy armor, Elven blade, and shield - 150 points
Glorfindel with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points
Erestor (proxied by Wood Elf Warrior) - 80 points
Arwen Evenstar - 60 points

5 units, 1 thrown weapon, 5 heroes, 11 Might

Defenders of Eriador: 603 points

Aragorn/Strider with bow, armor, and Anduril - 260 points
5 Dunedain - 120 points
Meriadoc, Captain of the Shire with shield - 35 points
Peregrin, Captain of the Shire - 30 points
Farmer Maggot with Grip, Fang, and Wolf - 50 points
12 Hobbit Shirrifs - 48 points
5 Battlin' Brandybucks (one proxied by Meriadoc Brandybuck) - 20 points
8 Tookish Hunters - 40 points

37 units, 14 bows + 28 thrown rocks, 9 heroes, 11 Might

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" x 48". The rules are as follows:
  • Game ends at the end of a turn when one side reaches 25% or less of its starting number of models.
  • 3 Victory Points are awarded for each objective marker that has at least one of your models, and no enemy models within 3".
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded for each objective marker that has both friendly and enemy models, but more friendly than enemy models, within 3".
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded for killing the enemy Army Leader.
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded 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.
The map is set up as follows: the Brandywine Bridge is in the middle of the map, with a river running to the east between the fences (no water to display, sorry). In the northeast corner is a marketplace, while the other corners have Hobbit smials or a Dunadan camp. The White Council won the roll off and have chosen to select their corner (the southwest corner). The Shire won priority for the first turn.
Pre-game thoughts by Tiberius: I'm excited about this fight - I've got three D7 heroes who can deal a lot of damage, I've got Gandalf to protect me from enemy archery, and I've got a few key magic users to mitigate the impact of Aragorn. I know that if I can kill off Farmer Maggot, the Dunedain, and of course Aragorn, the rest of the hobbits are likely to flee the field - hopefully to include those guarding objectives. If you want to see a Domination game won with this strategy, see one of the games I did during Fellowship month.

Pre-game thoughts by Glenstorm: This is going to be a hard fight for me.  I have him soundly beaten on the numbers, and physically I can control more objectives than him by sheer model count, but with most of my force testing at C3, if I hit 50% and don't have a Dunedain or Maggot in the mix to hold them in place, I risk losing objectives and being unable to reinforce them (because most of my army only moves 4").  Add onto that the fact that he boasts the higher Fight Value and most of my army wounds most of his army on 6/4+, and I'm going to have trouble breaking his army unless he rolls poorly.  My plan is to use Maggot's dogs to take one objective (and hold it at Maggot's Courage 5), keep Maggot alive, and then quickly drop to 25% against him to end the game while still sporting a lot of heroes.  He'll gain points for bringing me down to 25%, but I'll (hopefully) be able to hold more objectives come the end of the game.



Turn 1-3: (P - WC)
On the first two turns, not much happened - models began moving as you see in the picture above, with Gandalf casting Blinding Light and failing to cast Terrifying Aura, each time using his free Will point. Both armies are converging on each other. Gandalf successfully casts Terrifying Aura ("silly staff - WORK! Ah...") (free + 0/6W). The Shire is fanning out towards each of the external objectives and Arwen lay down behind the tent (for archery protection).


Turn 4: (P - Shire)
A few dogs have moved up to the northwest smial to head off Celeborn with the help of Aragorn. A Dunedain trained an arrow on Glorfindel through the blinding light, let the arrow loose, and though he was on target, the arrow hit the wall of the bridge. Aragorn shot at Celeborn and...failed to hit.


Turn 5: (P - Shire)
At the start of the Move phase, Gandalf targeted a Dunedain with Sorcerous Blast (free + 1/6W). He successfully cast the spell (5 high) and the Dunedain failed to resist the spell (1/1W). The blast bowled the Dunedain and two Tookish Hunters over and wounded them all. The Dunedain, much to his dismay, failed his Fate roll and died (1/1F) ("Thaaat...hurt...").
Everyone else moved as follows: no fights yet, thanks to the slow movement of the Shire list. A few dogs have rushed around the side of the northwest smial - see the next picture for a close-up. Arwen stands up behind the tent.
In the Shoot phase, Aragorn successfully wounds Celeborn, who decides to simply take the wound instead of trying to resist it.
Kill count: WC 3/37, Shire 0/5.



Turn 6: (P - WC)
At the start of the Move phase, Gandalf cast Sorcerous Blast on a Hobbit Shirriff (free + 2/6W, 5 high), but thanks to the Resistance to Magic rule, the Shirriff resisted the spell (6 high). Celeborn charged one of the dogs (couldn't tag both) and successfully got out of the LOS of Aragorn (yaye!). In the Shoot phase, 5 hobbits and a Dunedain attempted to hit Glorfindel and Gandalf with their ranged weapons, but none hit, thanks to the blinding light.
In the Fight phase, Celeborn called a Heroic Combat (1/3M). He won the tie against Grip and slew him and moved over to challenge his friend, Fang. Again, Celeborn won the tie and killed him too (strategically, I know that Aragorn has the advantage against Celeborn with his free Might point and Anduril - so I need to get rid of his supporting units to keep the number of dice being rolled under control).
In the Fight phase, Erestor won his fight against multiple foes and unfortunately failed to wound anyone (really lucky break there for me, as he wounds all my men in this fight on 4s).
Kill count: WC 5/37, Shire 0/5.



Turn 7: (P - WC)
With the White Council getting priority yet again, a Dunedain and Gandalf both called Heroic Moves: Gandalf won the roll-off and cast Sorcerous Blast on another Hobbit Shirriff (free + 3/6W, 5 high), but yet again, the Shirriff resisted the spell thanks to his Resistance to Magic rule (rolled a 6) ("Go team!!!" :) ). Celeborn cast Immobilize on Aragorn (2/3W, 4 high) and Aragorn resisted it (1/3W, 5 high).
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel won his fight (1/3M) and Erestor won his, and both proceeded to kill a Shirriff each. Gandalf lost his fight and took 4 wounds, but thankfully saved 3 of them (2/3M, 3/3F, 1/3H). Not shown here, Celeborn won an escalated roll-off with Aragorn (Celeborn: 3/3M, Aragorn free + 1/3M), but failed to deal any wounds (note: any time you can wound Aragorn, you NEED to wound him...).
Kill count: WC 7/37, Shire 0/5.



Turn 8: (P - Shire)
You can see that the hobbits are running across the map right now - the White Council is tied down in the center of the map, but the number of units on that side of the map are falling.
In the Fight phase, Celeborn botches his roll and Aragorn wins handily. In a deadly arch, Aragorn dealt two wounds with Anduril and despite needing 6s to wound, Wolf the dog successfully wounded Celeborn. All three wounds, thankfully, were saved by Fate (3/3F). Unfortunately, this means that Celeborn is two wounds away from death and Aragorn is untouched...
Elsewhere, Gandalf botched his roll and was killed by Merry and a Shirriff ("Meriadoc Brandybuck...I might have known..."). Glorfindel lost his fight, but due to the thickness of his armor suffered no wounds from the clubs of the bounders. Erestor, though, won his fight (1/1M) and killed a Shirriff.
Kill count: WC 8/37, Shire 1/5.



Turn 9: (P - WC)
Nothing interesting happened in the Move or Shoot phase. Celeborn tried to Immobilize Aragorn with his final Will point, but failed to cast it (bummer). Both Glorfindel and Erestor won their fights, but Erestor didn't wound anyone (when you wound everyone on 4s, this is really sad). Glorfindel, though, killed one Shirriff (which really isn't enough, man). Not show here, Celeborn got lucky and beat Aragorn and successfully dealt 2 wounds, only one of which was saved (3/3F, 1/3H) (And just like that: the fight over there is even again at 2 health remaining, :)  Gotta love it when two combat heroes duke it out!).
Kill count: WC 9/37, Shire 1/5.



Turn 10: (P - Shire)

No pictures of the move phase because nothing of interest happened. However, on the south side of the map during the Shoot phase, a Dunedain took a shot at Arwen. He hit on a 6, passed the in-the-way for the tent on a 6, rolled a 6 to wound, and Arwen saved the wound with her Fate point on a 6. (Pretty awesome rolling all around that turn, :) )

In the Fight phase, Aragorn won a roll-off against Celeborn: Wolf again did the unlikely and successfully wounded Celeborn and Aragorn finished the Elf leader (3/3H).
Elsewhere on the field, Erestor won his fight and wounded one of the Dunedain near him, but the wound was avoided with a Fate point (1/1F). Glorfindel won his fight handily and killed a Militia unit. It's important to note here that Glorfindel has gotten 3 kills in 4 rounds, scoring a whopping total of 12 points...yeah, not enough killing going on.
Kill count: WC 10/37, Shire 2/5.



Turn 11: (P - WC)
The move phase is not that interesting: Aragorn is heading over to the other battles, having been out on the outskirts of the battle fighting Celeborn. I got a little bored, so the next few pictures will show off other parts of the board we haven't seen much to showcase the terrain that Glenstorm provided.
On the far side, Arwen's position has become perilous, and the hobbits know that they are in danger of getting bowled over, so they have taken on the famous scatter formation not seen much on this blog. (The joy of not having to care about spear support, :) )
On the southeast side of the map, Pippin guards a smial. You can see some of the detail on both the model and on the smial.
On the northwest side, a smial is being guarded by a Hunter and the triumphant dog, Wolf.
On the northeast side, the marketplace is empty, featuring a few hunters and a bounder. Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase.
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel won his fight (2/3M) and killed another Shirriff. Erestor lost his fight and was wounded once by Farmer Maggot (1/1M) and once by a Dunedain (1/1M). Erestor proceeded to fail two of his Fate saves (3/3F, 1/2H).
Kill count: WC 11/37, Shire 2/5.



Turn 12: (P - WC)
Aragorn joins the melee and the battles rage.
Arwen prepared to charge some of the hobbits and unleashed Nature's Wrath with 3 dice (I figured I'd only get one shot) (3/3W, 4 high). For the third time this game, the Hobbit Shirriff who resisted the spell, nicknamed "feather-dandy," resisted the spell with his Resistance to Magic rule on a 6. (*Happy dance*)
The Hobbits surrounded Arwen after the spell was resisted and everyone swarmed. The Dunedain nearby raced to the camp to claim the objective.
In the Fight phase, Erestor lost a roll-off to Aragorn and was killed (free + 1/3M). In the other fight, Glorfindel killed a Shirriff and a Militia.
Arwen lost her fight and took 1 wound (1/2H).
Kill count: WC 13/37, Shire 3/5. The White Council is broken and the Shire is 6 away from breaking.



Turn 13: (P - tied, Shire)

No pictures of this round - it went quickly. In the Fight phase, Arwen was killed by a big band of hobbits. Glorfindel lost his fight (high 2...why???), was trapped, and despite rolling 6 dice, Aragorn wounds ONCE (wow...talk about an epic Aragorn fail...), while Farmer Maggot wounded Glorfindel twice. Glorfindel proceeded to save 2 of the wounds with Fate (3/3F, 1/3H). 

Kill count: WC 13/37, Shire 4/5. The game is over, so we calculate points:

  • Shire holds 4 unchallenged objectives for 3 points each.
  • One objective is unclaimed (no points).
  • The Shire broke the White Council and was not broken for 3 points.
  • Neither army leader was killed (no points).
Final score: Shire 15, White Council 0. Major victory for the Shire!


Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

I liked this game a lot - I was using a team that I've written before is purely for fun (all-hero teams can be hard to be competitive) and I was playing against a team that was built to be fun. Yes, the Resistance to Magic rule ruined my magical dominance during the game, but that's an oddity of the game and it's fun. I was pleased that my D7 heroes I invested in were almost exclusively wounded by Anduril or needed to be trapped by 4+ units. I've been bouncing around whether I want to take this army to the upcoming Hunter's Red October tournament, but it was good to test the list out and see if it'll work.

Assessment by Glenstorm:

The more I see the White Council list, the more I'm impressed with how much it can sustain.  Surround them with men, and they'll hold out for 10 rounds of close combat, even with low rolls and failed Fate rolls.  Because I was able to bottleneck all of the heroes away from the objectives, my aim to hold them down worked well, which carried the day for us.  And props to the halflings for stopping some pretty deadly magic at critical points!

Stellar unit for Tiberius: Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin

It's hard to pick a "best player" for this game. Gandalf and Arwen were nerfed in that they couldn't get their magic off (and I left Arwen at the back, so she didn't have a chance to do anything really). Gandalf did kill a Dunedain and 2 hunters (for a total of 34 points) and blocked archery early in the game from doing anything - not that much would have happened. Notable mentions need to be made for both Glorfindel and Erestor, as Erestor successfully killed 2 units though he was always charged by the most units (not causing terror does that for you) and stayed alive to speed-bump against Aragorn, while Celeborn successfully kept Aragorn out of the fight for most of the game and bought an extra turn of inaction after he died. Glorfindel killed 5 units (highest total) and is the most dependable hero you'll find out there. It is quite likely that if he didn't botch his final roll, Glorfindel could have killed even the mighty Aragorn because of his Fight 7.

Stellar unit for Glenstorm: Aragorn, Strider with armor, bow, and Anduril, Flame of the West

You've got to hand it to him: he's the reason you play with this list, :)  Winning fights with F6, wounding anyone on a 4+ or better regardless of defense, and a free Might point each turn?  It makes beating him in combat very difficult, which makes him a redeeming quality to an otherwise squishy list.  You'll see more of him in future posts on the Shire, especially leading up to the TMAT Grand Tournament in March, :)

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