Friday, December 6, 2013

Battle Report: Men of Dunharrow, Quest 2: Amon Hen Hunters


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur with another battle report!  On Black Friday my brother Tiberius asked me to come over for a game against my Dunharrow list, so I dropped by for a Lords of Battle game against him.  I should mention in passing that the email he sent me to extend the challenge was amazing - well done, Tiberius, :)  This will serve as Quest 2 for the Men of Dunharrow, who currently hold a Major Victory over an Easterling detachment for their record.  Walking into a Lords of Battle game against an uruk force is not an easy battle for a Rohan army, but coming off of a Major Victory and still getting a feel for the list, I was up for a challenge, :)  The lists being used in the game are below:

The Men of Dunharrow (Rohan, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields w/ armored horse (Army Leader): 130 pts
-5 Rohan Royal Guards: 50 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan: 13 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan w/ throwing spears: 15 pts
-2 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields/throwing spears: 18 pts
-2 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 14 pts

Warband 2
-Captain of Rohan w/ hvy armor/shield: 55 pts
-1 Rohan Royal Guard: 10 pts
-3 Rohan Royal Guards w/ throwing spears: 36 pts
-1 Warrior of Rohan w/ banner: 31 pts
-1 Rohan Outrider ("Hawk Eye"): 7 pts
-3 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 21 pts

TOTAL: 22 units, 400 pts, 5 Might

Amon Hen Hunters (Isengard, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Lurtz (Army Leader): 60 pts
-5 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields: 50 pts
-3 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes: 30 pts

Warband 2
-Mauhur: 60 pts
-2 Uruk Marauders with Orc bows: 20 pts
-4 Uruk Marauders with shields: 40 pts

Warband 3
-Vrasku: 60 pts
-5 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields: 50 pts
-3 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes: 40 pts

TOTAL: 25 units, 400 pts, 8 Might

Scoring

We're playing a Lords of Battle game today.  As a quick reminder, scoring works as follows:
  • Game ends when one force is reduced to 25% or less of its starting models (technically 50% then roll to see if game ends, but we can move it down to 25% since that what we usually do...)
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded for every wound an enemy unit takes and for each Fate point that an enemy casualty uses or has when he dies/flees.
  • 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 at the end of the game.
Deployment

We setup the terrain so that it would leave a lot of room for deployment and firing lanes for Vrasku (I'll just need to watch him to make sure there aren't a lot of clean shots; I was the first in our gaming group to purchase Vrasku, and I'm comfortable with my chances against him), as well as maneuvering room for marauders and horsemen.  Thematically, our aim was a Wold Map, with a few ruins, but otherwise a relatively open battlefield.  We rolled for placement, Tiberius chose his side, and I placed my RoCap warband first.  After deployment, the board looked like this:


Strategy for Glenstorm: This will be a hard fight.  Tiberius will likely match me (if not outgun me) in shooting before we close to melee, and then he will be wounding everyone on 5s or better with a higher FV.  The banner and Eomer are going to really need to pay for themselves for us to win.  Since Vrasku will likely camp out in the ruins all game, my plan is to hit him fast and hard with Eomer, and then flank the pikes quickly to break his force.  Once he's broken, taking out the heroes should neutralize the army and allow us to shield ourselves to victory.

Strategy for Tiberius: Ah, a battle between the Uruks and the Straw-heads. I love these fights - reminds me of some of the first fights I had against Glenstorm. Today's fight, I'm looking at speed with my army and using Vrasku as a tempting bit of bait. I know that of all the heroes I'm using, Vrasku is by far the deadliest, so my goal is to leave him somewhere, be a tempting target for that 130 point monstrosity I don't want to deal with, while Lurtz and Mauhur crumple everyone else. Should be fun...

...And with that... (For death and glory!) (BURN TO ASHES!!!)

Turn 1 (P: Uruks)

In the Move Phase, the armies moved toward each other, but otherwise nothing spectacular happened.  Vrasku loaded, but was out of range of all visible targets.  So we moved to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Uruks)

The armies continued to advance, with Lurtz and the uruk marauder bowmen only moving half distance to prepare for the Shoot Phase.  Vrasku loaded, ignoring the horsemen threat to his flank, and it was only after we started shooting that Tiberius realized Vrasku again did not have any viable targets (which is a bummer, because if he doesn't get any shots off this game, I'll feel like I didn't really get to play against - let alone beat if I pull off a victory - Vrasku) (yeah, I did a poor job with placing my unit - had a perfect in the way from enemy archers, but couldn't shoot anyone in return...will fix in next fight).


In the Shoot Phase, Lurtz kills an RRG, Rohan did nothing, so we moved on to Turn 3 (and the Orc bow captain gets the first ranged kill - "Vrasku, you getting this feed?").

Turn 3 (P: Uruks)

The armies continue to move up, and we are well placed for the beginning of melee combat in Turn 4.  I thought about charging the lower detachment this turn, but since my RoCap couldn't make it, I opted to spend a turn doing throwing weapon damage instead, and delaying the pain that is F4 S4 in close combat against the uruks.  Up top, Eomer prepares to charge Vrasku, and I begin to pull my forces around the rock in the hopes of breaking apart the pike formation in the center.


In the Shoot Phase, Lurtz killed another RRG (what's up with that?!?!  No Might points spent, and he's knocked down 2 guys on 6s?  Wow...) ("Get in the action you blokes - am I going to have to kill them all one at a time?!?!?!"), and, despite a lot of throwing weapons and an archer, nothing for Rohan in the Shoot Phase.  In retrospect, this is a serious problem, as I am now way down on the model count (20 against 25), and he's stronger in melee combat.

Turn 4 (P: Rohan)

And we have melee combats!  Down below, the RRG and Warrior of Rohan take down two of the marauders with shields with their throwing weapons, which allowed me to swarm the rest of the frontline warriors.  I braced for a charge on the center (which, in retrospect, was really stupid; I should have charged them with at least a few models), and I crashed the flank with the rest of my warriors and one of my horsemen.  Eomer and one of the Riders of Rohan also engaged Vrasku in an attempt to get a quick hero kill and silence the S4 archery from the corner.  Lurtz and the other archer counter-charged the axeman, and we headed into the Shoot Phase.


Thankfully, my spearmen in the center were not idle during this phase: two of the Warriors of Rohan were able to take down pikemen, which should help to even the odds in a few fights near them.  Next turn, though, I'm going to need to hammer home to rescue my squadrons (especially the northern one).  With no archery from Tiberius, we moved into the Fight Phase, where Mauhur (1/3M), Eomer (1/3M), Lurtz (1/3M), and the RoCap (1/2M) declared heroic combats, resolved in that order.


As you may expect, Mauhur won his combat, killed the warrior handily, and his men split apart: one uruk charged the banner, another engaged the RoCap, and Mauhur engaged two other warriors in the center line (which also basically keeps me from reinforcing that side - well played, Tiberius) (Thank you - I love playing gutsy).  By the way, the dice near the models mark the order of the heroic combats, just so you're aware of where they are happening.


In Eomer's heroic combat, Vrasku paid all of his Might to win the combat (3/3M), and finished off the Rider of Rohan.  My hope off of that move was to quickly finish off Vrasku so that I could charge home into the pikes, and now that plan is looking dubious.  That really complicates things.


In Lurtz's heroic combat, the uruks handily slay the warrior of Rohan, and then Lurtz charges a spearman while one of the archers charges into another warrior in the center, and the other archer joins in a fight against one of the RRGs.


And in the final heroic combat, the RoCap kills the Uruk he is up against, and charges to assist the banner (because, if I lose this banner, this flank is going to fall *really* fast).


Up top, we lost the outnumbered Rider of Rohan (not surprisingly), as well as one of the RRGs, but otherwise we successfully fended off the uruks.  On the whole, I'm very glad of this - I saw that set of match-ups being a lot more bloody than they turned out to be.


In the center, Mauhur lost combat but was not wounded, and neither was the uruk marauder (so no changes in the center match-ups; I kind of need to start killing these guys to help reinforce the main detachments).


Down below, two RRGs fell, one of the RRGs managed to kill off one of the uruk marauders, and while the banner and RoCap won combat, they failed to wound the uruk (which, if you include Hawk Eye behind the log, leaves us still 1-1 down here; that's not a good sign).  Current casualty count:

Kill count: Rohan 9/22 (2 from break), Uruks 6/25 (7 from break)

Turn 5 (P Rohan)

Sorry I didn't take a pic - things were a bit harried, :)  The armies slammed together, with my northern force desperately attempting to stem the tide, and the lower force matching the uruks man-to-man.  With no shooting and no heroic combats, we moved into the Fight Phase as I wanted to call them.


In the Fight Phase, Eomer completely botched his roll to win the fight (Dude, you've got one job to do!!!), and Vrasku succeeds in killing Firefoot (which, per scenario rules, will actually count as a point for scoring purposes - interesting how that works out) (UUURRRRRHHHH!!!!).


Just below the hill, I did a ton of shielding, and succeeded in only losing one RRG (which, considering the odds, wasn't bad).  Thankfully, the fights just below went better:


The three Warriors of Rohan defeat, trap, and slay Mauhur (NOOOOO!!!), and the other warrior is unable to wound the marauder.  Further down (and, because I was in a frenzy, I didn't take a picture of that one as well), the uruks slew another RRG, and while we managed to beat Lurtz and do 2 wounds, Lurtz saved 1 with Fate (1/1F, 1/2H), and his mean now outnumber our men down there 5-4 (And things just got a lot more interesting...and by interesting I mean uncomfortably close).  What is more, the loss of the RRG brought me to 11/22 casualties, which breaks my force.  Not including points for broken forces, though, the game is close at 13-11 in favor of Isengard.

Kill count: Rohan 11/22 (+2 for horses) (broken), Uruks 7/25 (+4 from heroes) (6 from break)

Turn 6 (P Rohan)

Lurtz called a Heroic Move (3/3M), allowing him to charge my banner and overwhelm my forces down below.  Eomer expends 2 Will to pass his Courage test (2/3W) (I don't know what is up with this guy today.  Something is off...), and after charges are completed, only one Warrior of Rohan fled, and my army is starting to look tattered against the onslaught of F4 S4 warriors that dominate the middle of the board.  With no shooting and no heroic combats, we moved directly into the hard fighting.


Eomer lands a wound on Vrasku (2/3M), bringing the balance of power back toward him in the fight (as Vrasku is now at 1/2H with only 1 Fate and no Might to help win the Fight).  Down below, though, things got worse:


My warrior and my RRG fended off their assailants, and the trapped RRG was slain.  But it getseven worse: not only am I extremely close to 25%, but then this happened:


Yep: we lost to the marauder archer, :)  (Okay...I get it: he has the higher FV, and granted he didn't wound any of my guys with his marauder, but having him beaten 3-1 on the dice count, and being one of the few wounds I could have dealt that round?  Seriously guys?  Please wound the marauder! :P )  With the pikes and swordsman coming in next round, any hope we had of easily finishing off anyone else in this area is slim.


At the bottom...yeah: we got trashed, :)  The RoCap now stands along against his men (he even lost the fight against the shield on a roll off, though he escaped being wounded.  Heading into Turn 7, the kill count showed that it was only a matter of time...

Kill count: Rohan 14/22 (+2 from horses) (3 from game), Uruks 7/25 (+5 from heroes) (6 from break)

Turn 7 (P: Uruks)

So, I figured that this would likely be the last turn, as they only need to kill 3 of my 4 Warriors of Rohan to end the game, so I decided to call a Heroic Move with Eomer in order to get S5 for this turn (as I'll wound Vrasku on 4s).  He passed his Courage test, charged Vrasku, and then Tiberius engaged (and in most cases trapped) everyone, so no one else had to test.  With no shooting, we moved into combat.


Eomer won over Vrasku (who choked his dice), and dealt 2 wounds, one of which was Fate saved, though it was still enough to finish him (1/1F, 2/2H).


Then came the expected, :)  My trapped warriors lost their combats and were handily defeated by the uruks, bringing me 1 away from game.  Further down:


...The uruks polish off the last man they need to end the game, and the rest of my men valiantly fended off the attackers through shielding.  And then, as if to give a bit of hope at the end...


...With no Might remaining for Lurtz, the RoCap successfully shields off his opponents, :)  How does that work out, :P  The game was called, bringing the final casualty count to:

Casualty Count: Rohan 18/22 (+2 horses, no wounds/fate on heroes) (game), Isengard 8/25 (+6 for heroes) (5 from break)

Because both army leaders were still alive at the end of the game and Isengard was not broken, the game ended as a 23-14 Minor Loss for Dunharrow.

Summary

Thoughts from Glenstorm: Wow, that was a brutal game.  Granted, Lords of Battle is hard for Rohan to win against a higher FV, higher Strength, higher Defense team, but I don't think the scenario would have changed much.  Reflecting on the game, it might have been more beneficial for me to just ignore Vrasku and go for straight damage count against the phalanx with Eomer, but honestly my list just didn't have an answer for three S5 F5 heroes, a phalanx, and a fast attack option.  Tiberius beat me on the board - plain and simple.

Thoughts from Tiberius: Playing at 400 points requires a different mindset from games at 600 points - as an Uruk player, you need your Fight 4 Defense 6 units to keep your army alive and your heroes need to be active. My early game could have been a lot better if I had gotten more use out of Vrasku, but as it worked out, Lurtz did a great job making up for it in the shooting game.

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: Rohan Royal Guards

These guys are tanks.  Against terror teams they really shine, and they are Rohan's only way (other than Sons of Eorl) to build a F4 D6 core.  The three RRGs at the top of the map held that flank against the phalanx for a long time, and I respect that.  They do a decent amount of damage for being S3, and they've been among the most dependable units I've ever fielded.  Thank you for your service, guys!

Stellar Unit for Tiberius: Uruk Marauder with Orc bow

I could give this award to anyone - and I mean anyone - in my list. Today, though, I'm giving it to my Uruk Marauders with Orc bows. These guys are fast archers with weak bows, but since they tend to be shooting for most of the game, they can be strategically placed to fire into the foe and also boast a high speed rating that allows them to sweep in unexpected into the enemy to extend your battle line. Today, their kills were tolerable compared to everyone else's kills (besides the heroes), but they arrived in critical positions and held their ground. Good job guys - glad to have you on-board!

After we concluded the game, Tiberius wondered what I was doing that afternoon, and I mentioned that I wasn't doing anything, and he brought out a second list - a Moria list, :)  We made a double header of the afternoon, and I hope to have the battle report for Quest 3 up sometime within the next few days, so stay tuned!

Watching the skies,

Centaur

"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch." ~ Glenstorm, Prince Caspian

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