Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Battle Report: Hold Ground: The Dragon Battalion v. The Chill of Angmar

Hey Reader!

Greetings again from all of us at TMAT!  As I get the final preparations done for a high school summer camp at my workplace in a few weeks (and probably won't be posting for the next few weeks because of that, fyi), I decided on Saturday night that I needed to unwind, so I got together with Donatello to get in a quick game with my new Angmar list.  This is the list I'm planning on bringing to the THRO October Tournament this fall (with some possible tweaks), so getting a handle for it is important to me.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this army is a "toolbox" army, doing all kinds of things in a 600-point list, with lots of different angles for attacks.

Don is rocking a modified version of my Host of Rhovanion list (Easterling Army), as he really likes Easterlings (and for new characters it is both very forgiving and gives a good introduction to most of the game mechanics that people will constantly use and face in a given tournament, so I like giving it to casual players), though he's planning on changing up the strategy and casting Fury with his War Priest this time (should help to charge all of those terror units he's got).  Also, he's opting not to take Khamul the Black Easterling, and is instead going with a Dragon Knight, 2 Easterling "Bunker" Captains, and a War Priest, and adding more archery to the list (something about fighting two trolls, a smattering of undead warriors, and a big block of orcs, I think, contributed to that decision, :) ).

Facing this list will be challenging for my army, in part because I'm not used to how each of the components of my army work and I have no Might Points, but also because his list is built to take on terror-causing or low-defense units - which is basically my entire list.  So we'll see how this goes, :)  The army lists we played with are below:

The Chill of Angmar (Angmar Warbands)
Warband 1
-The Dwimmerlaik (Army Leader): 120 pts
-3 Spectres: 45 pts
-2 Cave Trolls: 160 pts
-5 Orc Trackers: 25 pts

Warband 2
-Barrow Wight (Taradan): 50 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields: 24 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields/spears: 28 pts
-1 Orc Warrior with banner: 30 pts
-3 Orc Warriors with 2H weapons: 18 pts

Warband 3
-Barrow Wight (Methernil): 50 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields: 24 pts
-4 Orc Warriors with shields/spears: 28 pts

TOTAL: 602 pts, 33 units, 0 Might, 6 casters, 2 monsters

The Dragon Battalion (Eastern Kingdoms Warbands)
Warband 1
-Dragon Knight (Army Leader): 70 pts
-6 Black Dragons with shields: 60 pts
-6 Easterling Warriors with shields/spears: 54 pts

Warband 2
-Easterling War Priest: 60 pts
-10 Black Dragons with shields: 100 pts

Warband 3
-Easterling Captain with shield: 50 pts
-4 Black Dragons with shields: 40 pts
-4 Easterling Warriors with shields/spears: 36 pts

Warband 4
-Easterling Captain with shield (proxy: Amdur, Lord of Blades): 50 pts
-10 Easterling Warriors with bows: 80 pts

TOTAL: 600 pts, 44 units, 8 Might, 1 caster


The scenario we will be playing is a Hold Ground scenario, which is a scenario I don't often play (and Don has never played), so we decided to do it just because, :)  The scoring rules are below:
  • Game ends when one side reaches 25% of its starting force
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded for each model within 6" of the center objective at the end of the game
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded for killing the enemy army leader
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded if the enemy force is broken before the end of the game; 3 Victory Points are awarded if you break the enemy force before the end of the game and your force is not broken

We decided on a map with ruins leading up to the center objective (and with all gates and arches allowing for monsters to move through them), which is my model for Brandywine Bridge.  The statue at the center marks the center of the objective, and the area within 6" of the statue (the ends of the bridge, under the bridge, and 3" out from the sides of the bridge) counts as scoring radius.  We decided to play on a truncated map - only 24" across - to increase the brawl in the center and force both armies into scoring radius (not that either of us needed impetus for that, :) ) (quite right, :) ).  Don won the roll-off to deploy, and as we headed into Turn 1, the board looked like this:

Pre-Game Thoughts from Glenstorm: This will be an interesting game to test my civ with, as it pretty much does one thing: heavy defense against big baddies.  I'm planning on using the spectres to do most of the knifework (as they'll be wounding all heroes and warriors on 4+ when in range of the Dwimmerlaik), and trust to the trolls to just tie up some power units.  I'll charge the trolls up the center in the hopes of thinning out the ranks, and then I'll push hard with the wights and orcs to secure the sides, all the while keeping the spectres in range of the Dwimmerlaik.  The good news is that since I don't have a lot of heroes, the Drag Knight shouldn't be getting any extra Might Points, and he's also extremely weak to magic (as he has no Will Points to resist), so getting him paralyzed shouldn't be all that hard.  Throw in 2 captains who are weak to magic and a War Priest who will need his Will Points for casting his own spells, and you've got yourself a pretty good match-up on the hero front.  Should be interesting.

Pre-Game Thoughts from Donatello: I'm not taking a banner this time around - most of the players in our gaming group don't take banners, and they do decently well without them.  Glenstorm usually has a banner for each army because he likes the second chance at redemption on a low roll, but I want the 32 points for 4 more archers as opposed to a few chances at still losing to a troll who rolls a 6 to win the fight.  My plan is to wrap up the weak warriors with the Drag Knight, bunker against the trolls with the captains, and attempt to kill at least one of the trolls with archery before they kill too many of my men.  Simple play: hit strong on the sides, keep the trolls busy, and have more guys in the center when time is called.

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

Turn 1: (P: Easterlings)

As you can imagine, the armies just moved up this turn.  I blitzed my forces forward, and Don moved up all of his men toward the objective except his archer core, who moved up 3" and prepared to volley (just going to do one volley round - next turn we're splitting for the battlements, so that we can put some fire on those trolls when they move out).

In the Shoot Phase, Don landed 4 hits with volleying (wow - didn't see that happening), and after rolling to wound he landed 1 hit on one of the cave trolls (1/3H) (good enough - well done, archers).  With nothing else to do, we moved on to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Angmar)

As you can expect, my forces move up, my archers move 3" to their firing positions in the ruins, and the Dwimmerlaik casts Dark Dart on the Easterling Black Drag in the entryway and missed on a 4 (1/16W).  The trolls make their way to the bridge accompanied by a few orcs and Methernil, and the Easterlings respond: the archers break for the firing positions up top (which cannot be scaled by trolls, so even if he breaks through my center bunker force he will have to wrap around the bridge to get to the rest of my men), the Black Drags form ranks on either side of the bridge, the halberdiers prepare to support the northern ranks, and both caps start moving up to the bridge.  Down below the War Priest casts Fury on a 3+ and it goes off on a 3 (1/3W).

In the Shoot Phase my Orc Trackers did nothing (3 hit, 2 got 5s to wound, but we needed 6s); he had no archery, so we moved to Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Easterlings)

No picture here, but it was very straightforward: the armies charged to the south and on the bridge: the Easterlings fortified the bridge and went six-wide (so no flanking on the bridge), his archers took up positions on the north side, and on the south side the archers prepared to mount the battlements next turn.  The Dwimmerlaik casts Sap Will on the War Priest (2/16W), it was successful on a 5, so the War Priest spent 1 Will to resist, rolls a 6 to resist, and then got a 6 on his Dwimmerlaik roll to avoid spending the other to make it successful (nice play).  My orcs move up to the north, and Taradan casts Paralyze on the Drag Knight and gets a 1 (1/5W - didn't really need it to go off this turn; just going to frighten him and see if I can't get his force to pull back a bit.  We're caught in the terrain tactical dilemma of trying to force difficult spear support for each other, so anything I can do to get him to back up against that wall the better.  Plus it buys my trolls time on the bridge, and I'd prefer to have them attacking from behind against this formation).

On the bridge, Methernil cast Paralyze on the Cap and gets a 3 (2/5W - okay: I did need that one to go off, :P ), so unsuccessful.  The troll charges the Cap, the other troll moves up to prepare for next turn, and I moved up the trackers to put 3 shots on the Black Drag in front of the WP (and I'll hit him with overflow if we can kill the Black Drag).

In the Shoot Phase the Easterlings up north all failed to wound the troll on the bridge; down south one of the Black Drags was wounded by one of the Orc Trackers, opening up a lane to the War Priest.

In the Fight Phase the spectres win 2 of the fights and manage to kill one of the Black Drags, and one of the Black Drags kills off a spectre.  The orcs polish off one of the Black Drags in their fight, punching a hole through the Easterling battle line.  On the bridge the Cap shields off the Cave Troll on a 6, pushing him back (See?  I did need that Paralyze to go off, :P ).

Turn 4 (P: Angmar)

In the Move Phase, the orcs move up to the south and start surrounding the Easterlings as 3 of the Orc Trackers move up to assist (2 others prepare for the archers coming online - we'll get in the ways on each other).  The Dwimmerlaik casts Black Dart on the War Priest, got a 5 to cast (4/16W), the War Priest attempts to resist, gets a 2 (3/3W).  The Black Dart wounds and the War Priest fails his Fate Save on a 1 (1/1F), and takes a wound (1/2H) (Ow!  This isn't going to last very long!).

On the bridge Methernil casts Paralyze on the same Cap as last time, and gets it off on a 5 (4/5W).  The Cap rolls a 5 to resist (1/1W) but is within 12" of the Dwimmerlaik and fails the Dwimmerlaik roll: because he doesn't have another Will Point, it is unsuccessful, and he is paralyzed (wow...too much magic, not enough Will...) (Easterling armies, like Dwarf armies, just have a problem with low-Will heroes).  The trolls charge as do the orcs, and the bridge is locked in combat.  On the far side, Taradan fails to cast Paralyze again on the Drag Knight (3/5W), and the orcs hold position (since I've got him in the spear dilemma in this position - plus I'm pushing him on the rest of the map, so time is on my side, and I've got the lower FV with weaker troops, so I'll wait to charge until the last moment up here).

Don doesn't give up: the Black Drags start surrounding one of my spectres down south, and one of them launches after the Dwimmerlaik and jumps the barricade on a 3.  Up north the Easterlings charge into the orcs (I'll have archer support - we've got to try it, or we're toast up here), and the archers take their place on the battlements.

In the Shoot Phase, all 12 archer shots between both armies plink off of battlements and walls; nothing happens (*Shrug* that's what happens when basic archers have to do in-the-way rolls in addition to actually wounding a difficult target) (yep, that's our story).

F: Drag Knight calls HC (1/2M), as does the Amdur Easterling Captain (1/2M): From the Drag Knight HC (Don Strategy: Those pillars restricted deployment for my Easterling block, keeping me from spear supporting my entire column.  To consolidate my firepower, I used my 6 halberdiers to reinforce the four Black Drags on the edges and 2 pikes on the Drag Knight just to make sure I won combat.  Sure enough, I won the combat and killed the orc, allowing me to punch into the deep ranks of this unit.  We should have it down in a turn or two).  The Amdur Cap on the bridge also wins combat, kills his man handily, and moves onto the spearman.

Down south we had a bunch of nothing: the attackers always lost, or they didn't wound - no units lost down there (wow, that was crappy...) (yeah...that was really bad...).

On the bridge, the troll is shielded away from the paralyzed cap by the Black Drag in the fight (wow...totally should have had that one...), the wounded troll kills one of the Black Drags in his combat (only breaks today...), and the Amdur Cap kills his spearman easily.

Up north, orcs take down a Black Drag, Easterlings take down 2 of the 2H orcs, and the Drag Knight gets shielded off by the spearman (yay spearman! :) ).  At the end of the turn, the ECap does not remove Paralyze, so he will be paralyzed next turn.

Casualty Count: Angmar 6/33 killed (11 to break), Easterlings 6/44 killed (16 to break)

Turn 5 (P: Angmar)

M: Don chose after much agonizing not to call a HM (not worth it - I'm so short on Might now I need it to win combats), Dwimmerlaik aims a BD at the WP, gets it off on a 5 (6/16W), and wounds with a 2, which is unsuccessful, then charges the Black Drag.  Methernil cast his last Will against the ECap and failed on a 1, so I charged him into the Cap along with a spearman.  Taradan cast his last 2 Will against the Drag Knight and failed (5/5W) (I give up on you guys this game: 1 successful cast all game...dumb as I'll get out), so I charged him into combat too.  Don moved up the few warriors he had free to move, and we moved into archery.

In the Shoot Phase, my archers did nothing; he responded by killing one of mine...

...And then he killed one of my orcs in combat as well, :) (Dude, I love playing Evil armies!)

In the Fight Phase, Drag Knight and ECap call HCs again (2/2M for both): Drag Knight wins combat, rolls to wound (on 5s) and gets 4s... (ughhhh...), so that ends combat for him.

The ECap wins combat, rolls to wound the warrior on 5s...and after 4 rolls to wound he only gets a 4 high, so his Heroic Combat also comes to an end (*Throws up his hands* wow...just wow...).

-Down south, Black Drags win every fight except 1 (in which the orcs failed to wound), including the fight with the Dwimmerlaik (no wounds, though, as is to be expected, but brings him to 7/16W), and they manage to kill 1 tracker.  The War Priest tied in combat with the Orc Tracker, paid his Might Point to win the fight (1/1M), and wounded the tracker.

On the Bridge, the orc shields off the Black Drag near the paralyzed captain, the Cap is hit by the troll twice, passes his Fate save, does not pass the Dwimmerlaik roll, and thus loses the effect of the Fate Point and dies (2/2H) (dumb Dwimmerlaik...).  In the fight next door, the Easterlings beat the troll in combat (who rolled a 3 high), but fail to wound him.

Up top an orc 2H goes down (when it's 3 on 1 and you're -1 to win the fight...yeah, not unexpected), and one of the Black Drags is taken down.

Casualty Count: Angmar 11/33 killed (6 from break), Easterlings 8/44 killed (14 from break)

Turn 6 (P: Easterlings)

Sorry - no picture here either (we got carried away - it was kind of tense); the Easterlings charge on all fronts, except for 3 Easterling halberdiers, who all in succession failed to charge the cave troll (well, I guess I'm not pinning them down - here they come, boys!). I moved the rest of my guys into attack range, and was able to fit the cave troll into the fight with the Amdur Cap (wow - didn't see that one!).

In the Shoot Phase the archers down south fire into the Tracker-Black Drag fight and only kill the tracker (nice shot - I should look into running more archers with these guys).

On the other side the archers fire into the banner fight, land 5 hits in the combat, 2 hit the banner but do not wound him, the other 3 kill the halberdier, :P

Down south the Easterlings kill a spectre, and it was at this point that I remembered the spell that spectres have, and that I haven't been using it to thin out the front ranks of the enemy, :P  Oh well: I'll remember next game. :)

On the bridge the Black Drag kills the orc swordsman, and both trolls win combat and use the Rending Monster Attack on their targets, killing the Black Drag and the Amdur Captain (who failed his Fate Save).

Up top one of the orcs was killed, as was one of the Black Drags; the Drag Knight was shielded off by the swordsman, so nothing came of his attack.

Casualty Count: Angmar 15/33 killed (2 from break), Easterlings 12/44 killed (10 from break)

Turn 7 (P: Angmar)

In the Move Phase we charge, making a concerted effort to keep as many guys as possible in scoring range.  The Dwimmerlaik used 2 Will (9/16W) to cast Transfix on the War Priest, which was successful.  The Easterlings don't have anyone left to charge, and we prepared for more archery.

In the Shoot Phase the archers down south landed 5 hits in the archer/Black Dragon fight and killed the archer (wow: now I really need to run archers for Easterlings more often...), and the archers up top pumped 5 shots into the banner-halberdier fight and no wounds were dealt.

In the Fight Phase the Dwimmerlaik wins combat with a 2H, rolls a 3 to wound which is unsuccessful (*Shakes head* Oh, guys...), and loses his Will Point for being in combat (10/16W).  The result of the battle down here is 2 dead orcs (we're broken) and no dead Easterlings.

On the bridge we win all the combats, and...

...Yeah...the bridge is ours, :)

Up north, everything goes topsy-turvy: the orcs manage to kill a spearman and a black drag, we fended off all of the other guys (including two fights with double halberd support), so the numbers are more evenly matched now up top.  As we head into Turn 8, the outcome of the battle is still uncertain.

Casualty Count: Angmar 18/33 (broken, 7 from game), Easterlings 18/44 (4 from break)

Turn 8 (P: Easterlings)

In the Move Phase all of my guys at north and south were engaged (so we didn't need to Courage test), the Easterling on the bridge failed his Courage test to charge the troll, and Methernil passed his Courage test (Courage: 14), and caused the trolls and orc to pass their tests via his "Stand Fast!"  One of the trolls charged the poor terrified halberdier, and the others headed toward the southern battle.

In the Shoot Phase the archers fired at the orc near the Dwimmerlaik and nothing happened; archers up north fired at the troll on the bridge, and while 4 shots landed (3 on the troll, 1 on the Easterling) no wounds were dealt.

In the Fight Phase the Dwimmerlaik wins combat using his 2H and kills the Black Drag in his fight (11/16W) as one of the spectres near him goes down.

On the bridge, the troll wins combat and kills his man easily, as expected.

Up top the Easterlings kill 2 orcs, and Taradan loses combat but is not wounded, which means we have almost no one left up top as we near the end of the game.

Casualty Count: Angmar 21/33 (4 from game), Easterlings 20/44 (2 from break)

Turn 9 (P: Angmar)

In the Move Phase the Dwimmerlaik casts Black Dart on a Black Drag and it doesn't go off (12/16W) (oh well - I need to kill at least two guys now, and I'm not certain of any of the fights this turn).  Methernil fails his Courage Test (Courage: 8) so he runs off the board, but both trolls stick around (one of whom stoops for a rock), as does the orc near the troll who charges one of the archers.  Easterlings swarm the remainder of our force, and the archers level against the trolls.

In the Shoot Phase the troll scores a hit and lands a kill (1 from break), and the archers do not score a hit to wound in response.

Down below the four archers level shots at the troll, and they land 1 wound.

In the Fight Phase, the Dwimmerlaik wins combat on a 3 using his 2H (13/16W) and kills the War Priest (which takes down Fury as the enemy army breaks - hold the line, guys!  Let's force them to test this round: if the Drag Knight fails his test or we engage him, we can still win this game!), as the orc on the battlements kills one of the archers, and the Black Drags take down the trapped orc (2 from game).

Up top one of the orcs dies, and Taradan falls to the Drag Knight (which ends the game), and we were unable to kill any more of the Easterlings.  Final Casualty Count before calculating extra points:

Casualty Count: Angmar 26/33 (game), Easterlings 23/44 (broken, 10 from game)

For scoring purposes, both teams were broken (1-1), both army leaders are still alive (still 1-1), none of the guys to the south were in scoring range, none of the archers were in scoring range, and all of the northern warriors (except the halberdier) were in range, placing 3 orcs, 1 troll, and 6 Easterlings in scoring range, bringing the final count to a 5-7 Minor Loss for Angmar.


Assessment by Glenstorm: Wow, that was a wild ride.  It would have helped to remember the spectre spell early in the game, as it would have given me a good chance (50% likelihood) of moving his warriors out of combat in a given round, giving me more breathing room and time to gang up and kill off more of his men.  I enjoyed the game, though: magic didn't work for me this game and the trolls have a rough start, so I see this game as basically the worst this list can do, it and it killed 22 D6+ people and held on for 9 turns.  Not too shabby.

Assessment by Donatello: I really like the new build for Easterlings.  As much fun as it is to have Khamul, the extra Bunker Captain does a lot to help hold down big threats while still dealing some decent damage, and the archers helped a lot in adding some extra killing power that for the most part wound on the same roll as a S3 warrior.  Plus the 22 Break Point was wonderful.

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: I'm giving it to the Dwimmerlaik on this.  The spectres had their moments (and I enjoyed using them), the wights just tanked this game, and the trolls were inconsistent and took a long time to start going (in fact, they only had 2-3 good rounds of combat, and brought in less than 10 kills between the two of them).  The Dwimmerlaik was the one consistent thread through each round, casting magic, doing damage, and weakening key heroes so that other units could get the kill.  If I had been able to take down Fury faster (and thus forced him to do more Courage testing), I think he would have sealed the game for me, at least in regards to getting models into scoring range.  I've reached a very comfortable level using this hero in terms of managing his Will and output to the team, and I'm glad to have him as my army leader.

Stellar Unit for Donatello: Easterling Warriors with bows.  These guys racked up more kills than all of my heroes put together, put two wounds on the trolls (and could have done more if I had gotten them into position faster), and kept almost 25% of my army out of reach of the trolls (well, until they started lobbing rocks at us).  I liked the addition of them to my army, and look forward to using them again!

I'm hoping to get in another game with my Angmar force soon - as I mentioned earlier I have a high school camp at my workplace in two weeks, so I probably won't be posting until after that, but once that is done expect more battle reports, as well as some vlog post series on my updated analysis and insight on running Grey Company.  Until then, you know where to find me,

Watching the stars,


"We are not all like the traitor Firenze, human girl!  Perhaps you thought us pretty talking horses?  We are an ancient people who will not stand wizard invasions and insults!" ~ Magorian, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


  1. well played gents. that looks like a fun board setup.

    one tip though Don, around turn 7-8 when the game was about to end all those archers should have made a run for the sides of the bridge to get into scoring range. It would have done more good than taking potshots at the troll or into combat. The hardest thing about objective games is remembering the goal is to claim the objective - not kills.

    also, I should point out that Dragon Knights are independent heroes - they can't lead warbands. So it is not a warbands-legal army (although it is modified-LOME legal).

    Centaur I'd love a run against your Angmar army - just let me know who you want to test them against.

    1. Hey Zorro!

      Hehe - I forgot that little bit about the Drag Knight when I built his army for him, :P Shows I'm a bit out of practice, :P

      Anytime you'd like to get together to test this army, I'd be game! I've got a lot going on this week and next week, but after Friday the 25th I'm free, :)