Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Battle Report: To the Death: Easterlings v. Moria


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur with another battle report - the first in a series on the Easterlings, which is the army I'll be working with until the end of April.  The army list will likely vary from one game to the next (as I'm experimenting with different heroes and unit choices, so we'll see how that goes), but on the whole the army will be a Warbands-certified list that will feature a few mainstay heroes across all of the reports and a few changes here and there.

For today's battle report I met up with Tiberius and we got in a game with a unique Moria build (I really enjoyed the list), and mine will be a mix of traditional "battle line" Easterlings with a couple of kataphracts (heavy cav) supporting Khamul, the Black Easterling as its army leader.  So to show you all the army lists:

The Dragon Maw (The Eastern Kingdoms, Warbands)

Warband 1
-Khamul the Black Easterling with Armored Horse (Army Leader): 135 pts
-2 Kataphract Black Dragons: 32 pts
-4 Easterling Black Dragons with shields: 40 pts
-5 Easterling Warriors with bows: 40 pts

Warband 2
-Easterling War Priest: 60 pts
-9 Easterling Black Dragons with shields: 90 pts
-3 Easterling Warriors with shields/halberds: 27 pts

Warband 3
-Easterling Captain with shield: 50 pts
-6 Easterling Black Dragons with shields: 60 pts
-1 Easterling Warrior with banner: 32 pts
-4 Easterling Warriors with shields/halberds: 36 pts

TOTAL: 602 pts, 37 models, 5 Might, 2 casters

The Denizens of Moria (Moria, Warbands)

Warband 1
-Groblog, King of the Deep (Army Leader): 55 pts
-5 Goblin Warriors with shields: 25 pts
-5 Goblin Warriors with spears: 25 pts
-2 Goblin Prowlers with shields: 16 pts

Warband 2
-Moria Goblin Shaman: 45 pts
-2 Goblin Warriors with shields: 10 pts
-5 Goblin Warriors with spears: 25 pts
-5 Goblin Prowlers with shields: 40 pts

Warbamd 3
-Wild Warg Chieftain: 75 pts
-11 Goblin Warriors with orc bows: 55 pts
-1 Wild Warg: 8 pts

Warband 4
-Wild Warg Chieftain: 75 pts
-2 Goblin Warriors with shields: 10 pts
-6 Goblin Warriors with spears: 30 pts
-3 Wild Wargs: 24 pts
-1 Cave Troll with troll chain: 85 pts

TOTAL: 603 pts, 52 models, 11 orc bows + 7 throwing daggers + troll chain, 6 Might

This will be an interesting fight to start my education with Easterlings, as it sports a good number of monsters and fast cav while still getting close to the max of 60 models.  It also sports goblins with a 5+ Fury save, and they'll stick around forever - even after breaking - as long as Fury is up.  So this will be a fun game.

Strategy for Glenstorm: I'm really just trying to get back into the swing of conventional armies after spending so much time playing with Shire.  I'm really looking forward to wounding things on 5s (hehe - it's the little things, :) ) instead of just assuming that I need 6s to wound, and I've only got 5 archers, so I'm just assuming that they won't be doing a ton of damage to the enemy before we close to melee.  Having D6 across the board (with the exception of the archers and the War Priest) will be very nice, and I'm hoping to basically hit with a solid battle line, wrap with my ECap and a small contingent of Black Drags, and then just form a protective line to protect the banner and Khamul so that we win, :)

Strategy for Tiberius: so my first army was Goblins (besides the Fellowship of the Ring). And thanks to my Dwarves, I feel like I can't get rid of my Goblins. But I'm having a crisis similar to what I had three years ago with my Uruk-Hai: I'm having problems liking the civ. Ergo, I'm planning on playing more games with them to see if I can enjoy them more. When Glenstorm told me he was planning playing a series of games with his Easterlings, I saw a golden opportunity to try out some new Goblin moves. In this particular match, I'm going with the three-hammer approach (2 Wild Warg Chiefs and 1 Cave Troll) along with a limited 5+ Fury capability.

Scoring

We are playing a To the Death match, so scoring is pretty simple, using the modified rules for To the Death that we use here at TMAT:
  • 2 Victory Points if at least one friendly banner survives
  • 2 Victory Points if you kill the enemy army leader
  • 3 Victory Point if you break the enemy army, or 5 Victory Points if you break the enemy army and your army is not broken
  • 2 Victory Points if your opponent's army reaches 25%
Pretty straightforward game, very simple rules.  Which is good, because I need to focus on learning a new army, :P

Deployment

We setup a board with minimal terrain (as we didn't feel like putting a ton down).  Moria won the roll off for deployment so they deployed first and secured Priority on the first turn, and as we prepared for Turn 1 the board looked like this (with a number of horsemen and elves on the left-hand side for Tamwyn to play with - they're not being used in this match, :) ):


And with that... (For death and glory!) (Forth my minions!)

Turn 1 (P: Goblins)

In the Move Phase both armies move up, with the goblin archers moving up 2.5" and the goblin shaman gets Fury off (1/1M, 1/3W) (Why Might point, why???).  My forces move up, Khamul and the Kats threaten on the left flank (where there is only one Wild Warg Chieftain, instead of a WWC, four wargs, and a troll, because that didn't look like a good idea), and my War Priest gets off Fury on a 5 (1/3W) (Why Might point, why???).

In the Shoot Phase the goblins loosed a volley against the Easterling lines, got two hits, but no wounds were landed so we moved to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Easterlings)

Pretty simple: the armies moved up, lines continued to be drawn, and I accidentally deleted the photo when I was cleaning up the pictures I downloaded for this battle report, :P  But nothing too serious happened in the Move Phase, other than the fact that both groups of archers were now preparing to shoot.


In the Shoot Phase my bowmen take shots at the WWC in the center-right picture above (because if I have to wound D5, might as well wound the monster cav) and I flub my wounding rolls (my archers, I tell you...it's always like this with my archers...) (Or maybe it's just the WWC being a BOSS!).  The goblin archers responded by killing both of the armored horses that the kats were riding (hehehe...one horse left), and one of them got a 1 on his D6 throw test (though he didn't take a wound, so he's just on the ground).  With nothing else in the Shoot Phase and no combats yet, we moved to Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Easterlings)

...And there was a big party as I got Priority, which meant I had a chance to stand up my poor Kataphract Black Dragon before he could be charged by the goblin prowlers in the area (as they would have gotten a +1 to wound for him being trapped if they won)!  The kats charged into the goblins (primarily just to buy some time for Khamul), as the Black Easterling headed north to take on the archers (which, with a horse, should be pretty fast - likely kill 2-3 per turn).  Before leaving the area Khamul cast Transfix on the WWC (1/2M, 2/12W), who resisted it (1/1M, 2/3W) (Why Might point, why???).  While not ideal for the WWC to be mobile this turn (as it pretty much means one of my kats is dead this turn), it was at least good to know that he wouldn't be doing any heroic combats or heroic moves for the rest of the game.

Tiberius then counterattacked with his Wild Warg Chieftain, and a wild warg, and moved his other wargs into position to close around my right flank.  This was actually potentially very dangerous, as I had both my War Priest (who is my Fury-provider) and my banner (Victory Points at the end of battle) on this flank, and whatever survived the WWC and the warg attack would have to face a troll, so this is actually much more dangerous than the picture makes it look.


In the Shoot Phase my archers do absolutely nothing to the goblin warriors, and would you believe it: the 11 goblin archers take aim, hit the armored horse with a single hit, and roll a 6 to wound (well, there goes my killing power with Khamul, :P ) (hehehe...horses gone).  Khamul passes his throw test (the little blessings in life, people - it's the little blessings in life...), so things looked like this.


Going in the Fight Phase the WWC kills the two Black Drags in his combat, but we killed the wild warg in the fight next door.


Up top on the left the WWC kills his man (no surprise - thanks for holding the line, man), and the other kat shields off the goblins in his fight (so we've got one more turn up here, :P ).

Turn 4 (P: Easterlings)

The WWC on the right flank opted to call a heroic move (smart call, as it guarantees that all of the wargs are on the charge this turn), and the wargs moved as you see them.  As we began our move I thought, "Eh, might as well go for the kill on the wargs if the goblins aren't quite in range to support yet, so this is the only chance we have of ganging up on the WWC."  So as you can see, we really ganged on the WWC (and if we lose that combat, we're going to lose a lot of guys, :P ).  I pulled the archers over, in part to assist on the right flank (as that's the most important part of the army - the rest is just a buffer force to keep out the goblins), and also to attempt to put some wounds on the troll before he gets into combat.

In the Shoot Phase we fail to do any wounds to the troll (because they're my archers), and the goblins fail to wound any of us, so we moved to the Fight Phase.  I called a Heroic Combat with the Easterling Captain (1/2M) in the WWC fight (because if I get a 6 and he doesn't he's trapped and we have a good chance of killing a D5 monster), and...


...Would you believe it, the gambit worked, :P  We were able to win the fight against the WWC, gave him the wounds we needed to kill him (boo...bad hammer...), and we slung our troops into the fights with the wargs and the goblins to attempt to put some hits on the goblin army.


At the end of the Fight Phase we lost another Black Dragon, and we were able to take down one of the wargs - the fights up top resulted in a number of failed wounds and successful shields, so no wounds against the goblins up top.


On the left flank the Kat dies to the prowlers (yeah, that was expected), and we shielded off the WWC this turn and manage to kill a goblin.  Otherwise there was a bunch of nothing: lots of shielding wins and failures to wound, so we're just kind of pillow fighting up here right now.


And then just because he's trying to remind me of what he's capable of, Khamul spends a Will to gain +1 Attack (3/12W), loses combat epically against this goblin archer (who thankfully doesn't wound him), and he loses another Will for being in combat (4/12W) with nothing to show for it, :P  Oh, Khamul... :)  So on that sad note, we moved on to Turn 5.

Turn 5 (P: Easterlings)

Groblog called a Heroic Move (1/3M), which allowed the troll to charge in (no wound from the troll chain), and one of the prowlers took down a Black Drag with a throwing dagger (that's 10 points killed for 14 points paid for the throwing daggers).


So as we did our movement we were able to get a number of charges in, including charging all of the wargs (which should keep me alive longer).


Up top we were able to get two Black Drags into combat with the WWC (a third failed - the guy facing the camera), one of which was Bladewrathed for this turn by the War Priest (2/3W) (to give us a chance of doing some wounds) and Khamul charges a different archer (to get him closer to the rest of the combats).  The rest of the goblins swarm us, the non-Bladewrathed guy gets pulled off of the WWC, and the archers keep moving forward to do some shooting into combats.

In the Shoot Phase nothing of interest happened, so we moved into the fights...


In the Fight Phase the troll won combat against the guys he was facing (not surprising), and then he threw one of the Black Drags, knocking over the other Black Drag in the combat and the two supporting pikemen, and would you believe it: the S3 hits didn't wound any of the other guys, and the S6 hit wounded and was saved on a 6 by Fury (1/1 saves so far) (no fair).  The ECap killed the Wild Warg (2/2M), as did the archer at the bottom of the screen (good job, archer!).

Sorry for the blur - it was the best one I got for this scene!
Up top the Black Dragon won the fight against the WWC (solo - great work man!) (boo), and with Bladewrath all he needed was a 4+ to wound - and he gets a 1, :P  The way I see it he's not dead, so that's not so bad, :)  Khamul payed a Will Point for +1 Attack (5/12W), won the fight, wounded his opponent twice and diminished 1 Will for being in combat (so back to 4/12W spent).  Other than that, there was a lot of nothing - a lot of almost wounds but no actual change in casualties (which is a problem, because we're losing).

Kill Count: Moria 10/52 (16 from Break), Easterlings 9/37 (10 from Break)

Turn 6 (P: Goblins!!!)

Tiberius was pretty happy about getting Priority this round, and we don't blame him, :)  He got in a lot of charges up top (including two goblin archers who successfully charged Khamul - which is impressive since they were on Courage 1 without Fury).  The WWC tagged two Black Drags, and one of the prowlers took down a Black Drag with a throwing dagger (that's 20 pts he's already taken off the field with those throwing daggers, which I'm pretty sure pays for all of them almost three times over.  Pretty solid) (20 points for 14, so about 150% of cost).  There's a lot of charging down below, and with nothing significant in the Shoot Phase, we move to combats.


In the Fight Phase the troll goes romping through my men, striking normally just to get the kill count up, and lands a hit on the Black Drag and archer in his fight (no Fury saves on those).  His goblins next door landed a wound against the Black Drag in their fight, but that wound was Fury saved (2/4 so far - not bad for a 6+ save), and a pikeman on the end of the battle line was also slain.  For our trouble we took down one of the goblin warriors, and we threatened the shaman with men around the flank (including the ECap).  Up top a lot of nothing happens; Khamul kills his man and regains his Will Points (still at 4/12W spent), and we move to Turn 7.

Kill Count: Moria 13/52 (13 from Break), Easterlings 16/37 (3 from Break)

Turn 7 (P: Easterlings)

Groblog led off with a Heroic Move (2/3M), which is really painful because the troll is free and ready to romp, so he slung the troll into combat against my archer, hit and wounded him with the troll chain, and I Fury saved it on a 6 (3/5 so far!  Go team!), so he charged into the archer and the War Priest (which is potentially a problem, as I'll lose Fury if we lose the combat).  One of the prowlers killed an archer with his throwing dagger (28 pts so far for the throwing daggers - that's like paying for themselves twice over.  Good use of points, Tiberius) (thank you, thank you), and the goblins come crashing into us as Groblog moves to safety.

We counterattacked (no picture for that - sorry; it was pretty straightforward, though), and Khamul casts Transfix on the troll on a 6 (5/12W), so it guarantees that I won't die in that fight.  We were also able to charge the shaman with a Black Drag, so that's awesome.  Nothing really happened in the Shoot Phase, so we move into the Fight Phase.


In the Fight Phase we managed to slip two wounds in on the troll (boo), we beat the WWC (that was surprising) (my hammer units just aren't doing it today), and we took down four goblins along the front lines down here on the right.


Up top Khamul tags and kills his man doing one wound (so now at 6/12W), and the goblins kill two more Black Drags, which breaks our force.

Kill Count: Moria 19/52 (7 from Break), Easterlings 19/37 (Broken, 9 to Game)

Turn 8 (P: Goblins)

Tiberius was elated to charge first without having to expend Might with Groblog, and I was okay with this as we are currently broken and I'd prefer not to test for a ton of my guys if I don't have to.  I was also feeling pretty good about my ECap passing his Courage test, and he was in range of all of the important models that needed to pass, so I was good with it.

He charged as you see, and put his WWC in combat against my War Priest, and put his troll against my banner, so that's not very good.  He then threw both of his remaining Will Points with the shaman at Fury and rolled Snake Eyes, so Fury will be off for the rest of the game for the goblins (although at this rate I'll lose mine, too, as there's almost no way that the War Priest beats the WWC without magic assistance) (this has just been a disappointing game...).  My ECap passed his Courage Test, rallied the rest of the gang (no one ran away), and we counterattacked, attempting to get to the shaman this turn (which we did!).  I attempted to charge a Black Dragon into the troll and he failed the charge (you can see him at the bottom right, facing toward the camera), so that's going to make that fight a bit harder.  Nothing happened in the Shoot Phase, so we moved on to the Fight Phase.


...And boy was it a painful Fight Phase for both of us.  The WWC killed both the War Priest and the pikeman in his fight (War Priest passed his Fate save, but we still died), and we lost our last remaining Black Drag on the left flank.  We were able to kill five of the goblins, though (bringing Khamul to 7/12W), and we got the troll down, which brings Tiberius close to breaking and centralizes a lot of our army into a solid central core (but still a bit strung out).

Kill Count: Moria 25/52 (1 from Break), Easterlings 23/37 (5 from Game)

Turn 9 (P: Easterlings)

We started off with Priority, so we Courage tested for both the ECap and Khamul, thankfully they both passed, and we were able to keep the whole army on the field between the two of them.  We slung a ton of the troops against the orcs, attempted to just tie down the WWC, and am going for the kill against the shaman (as he's a Stand Fast! if we can kill one more model).  Tiberius begins slinging more of his troops around the edge, and moves Groblog closer to Khamul's side of the board to avoid my main core of troops ('cuz that's a good idea...).  In the Shoot Phase the goblin archers let off a few rounds into combats, he lands a hit on one of my guys, and there are no wounds.


In the Fight Phase we lost the pikeman against the WWC, a Black Drag who was up against an archer (I know, right: since when do goblin archers kill D6 models?  Only Tiberius, friends, :) ), as well as the archer who was engaging the solo goblin.  In return, however, we were able to pop the shaman with the ECap, got three more goblins, and Khamul killed another two goblins up top (keeping him at 7/12W spent), though it costs him his last Might Point (2/2M).  This means both armies are now broken, and since both army leaders are still alive and I've got a banner, so long as I can keep the banner alive to the end of the game, we've got a Minor Victory in the bag.

Kill Count: Moria 31/52 (8 from Game), Easterlings 26/37 (2 from Game)

Turn 10 (P: Easterlings)

Khamul passes his Courage Test and spends 1 Will casting Drain Courage on Groblog (because if I can pop the enemy army leader on a Courage test that will help) (so not good), my ECap keeps the army in line, and we charge with the aim of killing four models this turn (and secretly hoping that we lose two guys and keep the banner alive so that the game quickly ends).  Groblog then takes a Courage test, passes it, and holds the goblins in line; unfortunately the WWC fails his Courage test and runs (which swung a lot of the momentum of the game).  We had no shooting, so we moved to the Fight Phase.


In the Fight Phase Khamul took down his man (8/12W spent so far), and we lost one Black Drag (which means we're 1 away from game, and we need to protect the banner for another turn), and we bring down three goblins (which means that in addition to the WWC we got the four we were looking for).  So as we approached what would turn out to be the last round of the game, the armies are still really close in regards to points.

Kill Count: Moria 34/52 (3 from Game), Easterlings 27/37 (1 from Game)

Turn 11 (P: Easterlings)

As we started the Move Phase Groblog called a Heroic Move (3/3M), sticks his Courage Test (Courage: 10), and the goblins charge.  One of the prowlers picks off one of my archers (so the game ends this round), and my ECap is tagged, so he won't be calling a Stand Fast.

I tested for Khamul and he passes, and as he moved in to pull off the spear support I made a move that in hindsight was pretty stupid: I opted to cast a Black Dart against the spearman first (primarily in hopes of saving the Black Drag), and I threw two Will Points at it (bringing me to 2 remaining).  It failed, so he charged (which was the huge mistake - covering that in a bit).  Also one of my pikes was outside of the radius for the Stand Fast! so he took a Courage test and failed (far left).  With nothing important happening in the Shoot Phase (I think the archers fired into combats again, but no wounds resulted from that), we moved to the Fights.


...And I was an idiot, :P  I spent another Will with Khamul to add +1 Attack (like I always do), and it wasn't until after I rolled against the spearman and his spear support that I realized I was down to 1 Will left, which meant I was counting on doing a wound with those two attacks.  I won the fight, rolled to wound and rolled like a 1 and a 2, so I failed to wound, spent my last Will Point for being in combat, and diminished off the board (so Tiberius got 2 VPs for killing the enemy army leader, :P ) (what luck!).  So now I have to keep the banner alive, :P  Sure enough we did - we lost combat in the banner fight but he failed to wound, we lost two more pikes, and we killed two goblins, which meant that at the end of the game we were both at 25% of our starting forces.  We'll show the final kill count, and then we'll calculate the final score.

Kill Count: Moria 40/53 (Game), Easterlings 31/37 (Game)

So, final score: Tiberius scored 3 Victory Points for breaking my force, 2 Victory Points for killing the enemy army leader, and 2 Victory Points for bringing my force down to 25%, and I scored 3 Victory Points for breaking his force, 2 Victory Points for having a banner at the end of the game, and 2 Victory Points for bringing the enemy force to 25%, resulting in a 7-7 Draw for the Easterlings.

Conclusion

Glenstorm's Thoughts: Wow, Priority was heavily in favor of the Easterlings this game (8/11 rounds), which I think helped us a lot when the goblins eventually broke.  Being able to pick and choose guys that we wanted to fight, centralize our position on the right flank, and clean up some of the chaff models was integral to keeping the banner alive to the end of the game.  I shouldn't have charged Khamul - that was poor planning - or at least I should have make sure my opponent was trapped so I'd be wounding on 4s with 4 dice (as that would basically insure he got at least 1 Will back.  But oh well - good to know as we go forward.

Tiberius's Thoughts: So my hammer units pretty much failed - some kills with the Wild Warg Chieftains and the Troll, but pretty much nothing. I saw far more output from the extra 3 Prowlers I've added to the list (total of 7) and I've got to say I'm thinking about growing my number of Prowlers quite a bit. I'm writing something up on throwing weapons and I'm planning on talking about the current army lists I've got and how throwing weapons augment them, so watch or that!

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: War Priest, hands down.  That guy saved like 3/5 wounds when Fury was up, was able to redirect attention (and land a wound on the WWC) with Bladewrath, and even held his own in combat, for which I was very grateful, :)  This guy is a staple of my Easterling armies, and I'm really glad, especially for this game, that I took him, as I would have lost a lot more guys and would have had to Courage test more often to charge the WWCs and the troll.  Major thanks for this model.

Stellar Unit for Tiberius: Moria Goblin Prowlers with shields. The Fight 3/4+ on these guys isn't impressive, but since it leads to ties against archers (and many other guys in other army lists), there is some greater resiliency provided by them. You can also get throwing weapons (which are awesome - expect something on this in the coming week) and decent defense.

A few days after this game I was able to get in a game against Zorro's dwarf army that he brought to the tournament three weeks ago; we did a Lords of Battle game, and as you can imagine I lost the game (I think it was like 17-5, or something like that - it was brutal).  But, if there are three really good things I got out of that game (and hence why I mention it here) it was this: 1) when your heroes get tied up and don't kill stuff the Easterling kill count gets stalled, 2) the archers killed like three people in four rounds, so my limited faith in my Easterling archers has been quasi-restored, and 3) I got the Lords of Battle game out of the way, so I don't have to do another one for the next month or so, :P  So there's that, :)

I'm hoping to get in a double-header soon with Tavros and Glot (looks like it will likely be an Angmar-Moria army and an all-hero army), so we'll see how that goes, and I hope to get both up on the blog, so keep watching this space!  Until then, you'll know where to find me,

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

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

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