Thursday, April 24, 2014

Battle Report: The High Ground: Goblins vs. Wood Elves


Hey Reader!

Greetings again from all of us here at TMAT!  Things have been a bear over here for all of us, and I was extremely excited to get together with Tiberius over the Easter weekend to get a game in with him.  Because he has been working on a Weathertop map and we haven't done a High Ground scenario in ages, we elected to do a High Ground mission.  I wanted to test out his goblins (as I've never run goblins, I like a good challenge, and there's a small side of me that just wants to see how they run firsthand), and he brought out his wood elves (which he hasn't used in ages).  Here are the forces:

Drums in the Deep (Moria, Warbands): 600 points
Warband 1
Durburz - 60 points (Army Leader)
5 Goblin Warriors with shields - 25 points
5 Goblin Warriors with spears - 25 points
2 Cave Trolls - 160 points

Warband 2
Goblin Shaman - 50 pts
6 Goblin Warriors with shields - 30 points
6 Goblin Warriors with spears - 30 points

Warband 3
Wild Warg Chieftain - 75 pts
4 Goblin Warriors with shields - 20 points
3 Goblin Warriors with spears - 15 points

Warband 4
Wild Warg Chieftain - 75 pts
Bat Swarm - 35 pts

36 units, 6 Might, 4 Monsters

The Protectors of the Forest: 603 points

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 130 points
*Legolas with armor - 95 points
Thranduil, King of Mirkwood - 90 points
11 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf Spears - 88 points
8 Wood Elf Warriors with throwing daggers - 72 points
3 Galadhrim Warriors with shields - 27 points
5 Mirkwood Guard with Elf bows - 55 points
3 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows - 30 points
1 Wood Elf Sentinel - 25 points

34 units, 11* Elf bows + 8 thrown weapons, 3 heroes

Deployment

The scenario we will be playing is a High Ground game on a board that is 48" x 48".  We played around with the rules a bit, adding in a special rule for Weathertop.  Warbands will deploy 6-12" from the board edge normally, but in addition, the following special rule will be in effect:

Special rule: During short spans in the game, mist covers the highest parts of the map. On any turn where the roll for priority is tied, two rules are in effect: units that attempt to shoot models via direct fire that are on the high ground (regardless of where they are on the map) must pass an in-the-way roll on a 6 (King's Huntsmen pass on a 4+). In addition, due to the distortion of the light in the mists, all units on the High Ground count as causing Terror (units that already cause terror may force a reroll of one courage test to charge for each charging attacker).

Scoring

Scoring for this game will work as follows:
  • 1 Victory Point for each unit that is "on" the high ground (within 3" of the center of the terrain piece);
  • 1 Victory Point if the enemy is broken (or 3 points if the enemy is broken and your own army is not broken); and
  • 2 Victory Points if the enemy army leader is killed
After rolling and deploying, the map looked like this:


The Goblins won the roll off and have chosen to select their side, ceding priority to the Elves for the first turn.

Strategy for Glenstorm: So, last time I tested out a new civ that I'd only fought before, it went decently, but I got squashed, :P  I'm not expecting to beat a high FV, high archery/throwing weapon army with a goblin force, but with F6 trolls, 2 F5 high-damage 10" move monsters, and Fury up on my goblins, I should be able to do some decent damage once he reaches the top.  I'm also curious to see whether I'd take shamans, as they are almost purely support heroes and lack the typical captain firepower in close combat.  The plan is to park the trolls near the bottom of the platform just to keep the heroes busy (and to prevent those heroic combats), and then I'll ram the Wild Warg Chieftains into his forward guard just to keep him back from the top as long as possible.  The plan then is to swarm over the top objective (climbing rule bonus should help me get up there quick), and then we'll quickly fall to 25% while I'm the only one in scoring distance, which should outweigh his points if his army is not broken.

Strategy for Tiberius: Goblins are tough to play on "High Ground" scenarios, because though they're below average in their attack stats, they are cheap with an average defense profile. With Fury keeping a few more alive (no Groblog, thank goodness), it'll require a lot of archery to kill these blokes. I also need to make sure that my melee warriors are charging straight to the top of the mountain. If not, I could be killing way more Goblins than I lose and still lose the game by a lot.



Turn 1: (Priority - Elves)

Both armies moved up, the Bat Swarm got into base contact with the top objective (I'm in the lead! :D) (It's early...just you wait!), and the elves moved up their volley team 3" and prepared to fire.  The goblins made a push to the high ground and start a flanking attack along the right with the WWCs.


In the Shoot Phase, the elves took down 1 goblin with shield,  and two wounds were put on one of the Wild Warg Chieftains, which cost Legolas a Might point (1/3M) (a point well-spent, though: that WWC is basically on a timer now.  Bummer...) ("Let your arrows sing!").



Turn 2: (P - tied, Goblins)


The armies move up, there are a number of jump tests, and the Wild Warg Chieftains charge into the forward guard of the elves ("Brace!").  The shaman attempts to cast Fury and fails on a 1 (1/3W) (lame...).  The elves advance, with two warriors now in scoring range.


In the Shoot Phase, one of the spearman was killed by the volley fire, and a goblin shield on the other side of the board was killed by Legolas (five wounds so far with archery; so not cool) (that's a lot of guys who will be scoring next turn...).


In the Fight Phase, the uninjured WWC won combat and killed the Galadhrim warrior he was fighting, and the other WWC lost combat, was wounded once, and Fate saved it (1/1F) (that was close, :P) ("GUYS!" *looks sneakily at his small hit-squad that is moving up the mountain*).



Turn 3: (P - Goblins)

A lot happened in this Move Phase.  Galadriel called a Heroic Move and I opted not to counter it (something about not being able to stop the caster, and only moving 2 people with precious Might points), targeted the WWC on the stair with Immobilize (Free+1/6W), and got a 6.  I opted to use 2 Will to attempt to resist, rolled a 5, and boosted it with Might to resist it (2/3W, 1/1M) (lame).  Galadriel's force then surrounded the WWCs as both armies reached the top of the fort.  My shaman spent another Will to attempt to cast Fury, and failed again on a 1 (2/3W) (lame again).


In the Shoot Phase, the volley team and Thranduil combined to get a wound on one of the goblin spearmen (Thranduil: 1/3M), and Legolas scored two wounds on one of the cave trolls (aaaaand, now I've got two almost-dead monsters, :P ) (Note to other players: archery works - use it).


In the Fight Phase, both of the WWCs lost combat, but no wounds were dealt.  Which brings us to the usually bloody Turn 4...



Turn 4: (P - Elves)


The injured WWC calls a Heroic Move (1/1M), Tiberius opts not to counter it, and the two WWCs charge the guys up top.  The elves then charged with the archers (primarily to get Thranduil into the action), and the sentinel used his madrigal on a goblin with shield, who passes his Courage test (Courage: 12) (also lame).  Galadriel then attempted to transfix the healthy WWC (Free+2/6W), got a 5, and he resisted it on a 5 (3/3W).  The goblins move up, swarm the top scoring area, and one of the trolls got into combat on the ramp.  At the top of the lower section, one of my spearmen attempted to hold the ramp against the enemy for a turn (he's not going to last long, but I've got to slow them down now that they're past the monsters), and my shaman attempted to cast Fury again and rolled a 1 (3/3W) (Okay: each time I rolled a 1!!!  Wow...just, wow... :-/ ) (Every Goblin-loving part of my body is very, very sad).


In the Shoot Phase, the four archers at the top left killed the spearman (yeah...no stopping that...), and Legolas killed the weakened troll (2/3M) ("They shall all fall!").  That makes 7 kills and 11 wounds so far with archery for the elves (which, in four rounds, is not bad) ("Soften them up, lads!").


In the Fight Phase, the healthy WWC kills both of the elves in his combat, and the other WWC is killed by Thranduil and company (yeah, baby).  The troll kills his man, and the goblins downed both elves up top (aaaaand we're scoreless up top...time to get some more guys up there).

Casualties: 7/36 Moria (11 from break), 6/33 Elves (11 from break)



Turn 5: (P - Elves)


To kick off the Move Phase, one of the elf swordsmen charged the WWC, and wounded him with a throwing dagger (1/3H).  The bat swarm was hit with the madrigal, and passed Courage test (Courage: 12) (Really? Twice passing on Courage 2?).  The rest of the elves charged the cave troll and rammed toward the center, as the goblins swarmed down the objective to fend them off.


In the Shoot Phase, not much happened; Legolas took down one of the goblin shields (7 wounds and counting...), and we moved to the Fight Phase.


In the Fight Phase, the WWC lost combat, took a wound, and failed his Fate save (2/3H, 1/1F).  The goblin shield on the ground near the base of the steps survived his fight after losing combat, two elves were downed up top (still keeping them out of scoring range - keep it up, guys!), 1 goblin spearman was killed, and the troll completely botched his roll (rolled 3 1s against a 6 for the elves), and was wounded once (1/3H).

Casualties: 9/36 Moria (9 from break), 8/33 Elves (9 from break)



Turn 6: (P - Elves)


I called a Heroic Move with Durburz (1/3M) and Galadriel challenged it (2/3M).  Galadriel won, she moved up the ramp, and cast Immobilize (Free+3/6W) and got it off (3/3M) on the troll (well, that sucks, :P ) (At what cost, though?).  Thranduil then followed up by casting Nature's Wrath, and since I had no Will points in range, the spell was successful and knocked everyone over (wow, we're going to get owned this round, :P ) (In the words of my friend Kellar, "FOOOOOM!").  A goblin spearman was killed with a throwing dagger on the charge, and one of the goblin shields was moved by the madrigal after failing his Courage test (Courage: 8) (That's how it's done!).


In the Shoot Phase, the elves killed 1 spearman, and Legolas downed a spear and a shield (3/3M) (Paid for him in kills - now it's all gravy!). The Wood Elf Sentinel and co. shot at the loner shield (under the madrigal), and failed to wound him (come on...).


In the Fight Phase, the troll loses his fight (again), but escapes without a wound (pity).  Thranduil handily polishes off the WWC (Paid for him in kills), and 2 goblin shields are also killed.

Casualties: 16/36 Moria (2 from break, 11 from game), 9/33 Elves (8 from break) 



Turn 7: (P - Elves)


This was a desperate turn for me, as Durburz was needed in a position where he could call "Stand Fast!" next turn.  Durburz called a Heroic Move (2/3M), Tiberius opted not to counter it, and the goblins poured over the wings into the elves.  Galadriel casts Immobilize (Free+4/6W) on the troll successfully, so he won't be a factor this round for damage count.  The sentinel used his madrigal against the same shield as last time (who fails it, Courage: 9), and the elves ran up.  In the Shoot Phase, the elves killed a shield and 2 spearmen, which means my army is now broken.


In the Fight Phase, Durburz called a Heroic Combat, won it handily (yay for bat swarms), and polished off the elf swordsman on 4s.  The army then rushed off to engage more targets in a desperate effort to break the elf army, and Durburz ran up top to prepare for a "Stand Fast!" next round.


In the rest of the Fight Phase, we managed to kill one Galadhrim and an elf spearman, and Thranduil handily took down the cave troll (which...pretty much means we're in trouble, because there goes our damage dealer/meat shield, :P ) (4 monsters down, but hardly any Elves in scoring range...).

Casualties: 20/36 Moria (broken, 7 from game), 13/33 Elves (4 from break)



Turn 8: (P - Goblins)


Centaur's plan: Okay, it's a long shot, but believe it or not, we can still win this game, :)  If we can keep the elves out of scoring distance and quickly fall to 25%, we can stick 4 people on the top (which is easy with Durburz up there calling "Stand Fast!") and win the game 4-3.  So my plan is to tag as many people as possible, quickly drop to 25%, and beat him on speed.

Tiberius on Centaur's plan: the sad thing is...that will work. Archers, please kill somebody in scoring range...

Durburz passed his Courage test to stick (Courage: 14), and...then it hit me that the only way to guarantee that all of my guys near the top stuck around was to move forward, moving myself out of sight of the guys in the lower section, which was the majority of my army, :P  I opted to move him up (as I needed to box him out first and foremost), and started testing for my shaman and my warriors below.  The shaman ran away (useless...completely useless...), and consequently 2 spears, 2 shields, and the bat swarm also fled the field, which dropped my army to 25% (no we'll see if my evil plan will work!).  Galadriel cast Immobilize on Durburz (Free + 6/6W), gets it off on a 6, and I dumped all of his Will on the roll and got a 5 with no Might remaining (2/2W), so he will not be striking wounds this round (which means...I think one of the guys will still be in base contact with the top.  So maybe a tie) (yaye - a better chance!).  The sentinel targeted one of the spears with the hymn and he fails (Courage: 5).  Tiberius opted not to move him out of scoring range (honorable man, that Tiberius) (I can't deprive you of your master plan, buddy), and set him up for archery instead (which is perfectly fair) (and a lot more fun!).


The elves killed the spearman in the Shoot Phase (it's karma: thanks for giving me a shot at scoring with him, Tiberius, and well-shot!) (sorry man, shooting is what we do), and we moved into the Fight Phase.  Ironically, most of the combats didn't really matter, since only the guys in base contact were factors in the final result...


By the end of the Fight Phase, the elves killed 2 shields, and the goblins killed 1 elf spear and shielded one of the Galadhrim off of the mound (and out of range), though it was not enough to force a draw.  Final casualty count:

Casualties: 29/36 Moria (Game), 14/33 (3 from break)

With 3 goblins and 1 elf still in scoring range and 3 points to Tiberius for breaking my army without being broken, the game ended as a 4-3 Minor Victory for the Elves.



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius: It's always interesting to play against a Goblin army on a map that prizes body-count. In this game, I lucked out with the Shaman failing to cast Fury and I got a lot of priority rolls throughout the game. My heroes did wonders, weakening one power hero after another (or killing them outright with archery) and bought enough time for my light units to finish off their foes on the way up to the top. I liked the map and look forward to finishing the piece in the next month. Big kudos, by the way, to Glenstorm trying out a four-monster army and I look forward to seeing what he does with his "Halloween" list!

Assessment by Glenstorm: Wow - well, that was interesting, :)  Running with Moria is interesting, and I'm grateful that Tiberius gave me a map that allowed me to use the goblin climbing bonus, and played a strong team that forced me to keep thinking on ways to outmaneuver him.  I enjoyed using the "monster mash" list, focusing on WWCs, cave trolls, and the bat swarm to reduce FV in key fights, and I'm also a big fan of Durburz as a cheap way to get both the support options generals prize and 3 Might with a decent FV and Strength.  I was disappointed by the shaman (read: terribly disappointed, to the point where I'm childishly thinking of never running a goblin shaman again to spite them), though I'm sure the readership will tell me it was just an off day for them (I mean, who fails to cast Fury on a 3+, with a Might point, three times?).  But I had a lot of fun running the greenskins, and I will likely try them again.

Stellar unit for the Wood Elves: Thranduil. I generally try to not give this award to heroes, but Elven armies tend to be hero armies.  Elves are great units, but Thranduil finished off two Wild Warg Chieftains, one of the Cave Trolls, and bought my men a turn of not being wounded thanks to Nature's Wrath. He also got a few wounds in archery. Though he shoots incredibly accurately, I actually view him as one of the more powerful melee heroes that the Elves can get - the Elven cloak makes sure he's safe during the early phases of the game and his spells make his foes more easy to wound (and the foes of his friends nearby).

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Definitely the Bat Swarm.  They don't tend to do much on paper, though getting elves down to F2 against my goblins gave me a sizable advantage, especially in fights with Durburz.  I've fought these things many times before, and while positioning the swarm is hard, it's a ton of fun to do, and I really enjoyed using them.  I'll likely field them again.

On Friday I'll be doing a WIP post on my "Halloween" army for Angmar, so I look forward to posting again tomorrow!  Until then, you know where to find me,

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"I know that you have learned the names of the planets and their moons in Astronomy...and that you have mapped the stars' progress through the heavens.  Centaurs have unraveled the mysteries of these movements over centuries.  Our findings teach us that the future may be glimpsed in the sky above us." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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