Monday, April 13, 2015

Hold Ground: Easterlings vs. Wood Elves


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur with another battle report!  I got together with Tiberius last weekend for another Easterling game, and we decided to play a Hold Ground scenario.  We're testing the castle that I own (tons of fun - I love this thing), and the scoring radius almost perfectly lines up with the lower section of the castle (so all the attackers have to do is breach the walls and get down the slope; pretty simple).  So for this match I'll be the defenders (lose 150 pts from my list), and Tiberius is bringing a wood elf army to challenge us for control of the walls, which should be fun, :)

I changed up the list a bit since our last battle (so that I can test more ways to use the army, as this is in preparation for a write-up), and since I dropped 150 pts from my list as the defender (hence why Warband 4 doesn't have a hero), it also meant that there were some things in the list that I didn't have (my D7 "Bunker Cap," for example).  After modifications, the lists look like this:

The Dragon Maw (Eastern Kingdoms, Warbands)

Warband 1
-Amdur, Lord of Blades (Army Leader): 100 pts
-5 Easterling Back Dragons with shields: 50 pts
-1 Easterling Black Dragon Kataphract: 16 pts

Warband 2
-Easterling War Priest: 60 pts
-4 Easterling Black Dragons with shields: 40 pts
-4 Easterling Warriors with halberds/shields: 36 pts

Warband 3
-Dragon Knight: 70 pts

Warband 4
-2 Easterling Black Dragons with shields: 20 pts
-7 Easterling Warriors with bows: 56 pts

TOTAL: 448 pts, 26 models, 6 Might

Muster Of The Forest (Lothloien & Mirkwood, Warbands)

Warband 1
Thranduil (Army Leader): 90 ps
1 Wood Elf Sentinel: 25 pts
3 Mirkwood Guard with Elf bows: 33 pts
5 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf Spears: 40 pts
2 Wood Elf Warriors with throwing daggers: 18 pts

Warband 2
*Legolas with armor: 95 pts
1 Wood Elf Sentinel: 25 pts
3 Mirkwood Guard with Elf bows: 33 pts
5 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf Spears: 40 pts
2 Wood Elf Warriors with throwing daggers: 18 pts

Warband 3
^Haldir with Elf bow: 75 pts
1 Wood Elf Sentinel: 25 pts
2 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows: 20 pts
3 Galadhrim Warriors with shields: 27 pts
4 Wood Elf Warriors with throwing daggers: 36 pts

TOTAL: 600 pts, 35 models, 9 Might

Pre-Game Assessment from Centaur: On the one hand, Tiberius is not running Galadriel, which means I don't need to worry about Blinding Light taking my archers out of the game in the Shoot Phase (as 6+ to hit is not going to land anything).  On the other hand, my archers have a way of not contributing in the Shoot Phase as it is, so there's that, :P  My plan is quite simple: shield off my foes, kill the elves as they scale the walls with my heroes, and remove 2-3 elves/round so that we can break them before they break us (because they will break us).  That should keep the game close as the time runs down.

Pre-Game Assessment by Tiberius: I'm experimenting with running my Wood Elf army without Galadriel, since most members of the gaming crew have abandoned archery as a dominant element of their armies. Instead, I've opted for a shooting-oriented army that sports 15-17 Elf bow shots each round (that should translate into 2-4 wounds/round). I'm also excited because I've been on the defensive end of this particular fortress, but now on the offense, I'm hoping that all that archery will get past the in-the-ways of the fortress and nail some D6 guys before I get up there...

Scoring

We're playing a Hold Ground scenario (which would likely be the scenario for a "Castle Siege" mission in the future) with the following scoring rules:

  • 1 Victory Point for breaking the enemy force, or 3 Victory Points for breaking the enemy force and not being broken
  • 2 Victory Points for killing the enemy army leader
  • 2 Victory Points for bringing your opponent to 25%
  • 1 Victory Point for each model within 6" of the center objective

Deployment

We rolled for deployment, the Easterlings won the roll off, and to start the game both Amdur's warband and the Dragon Knight's warband rolled 1s for deployment (which means you don't come on the board the first turn, and when you roll for Turn 2 they don't arrive in the castle), so I paid a Might Point for each to get them on the board at the start (so starting at 1/3M gone for Amdur and 1/2M gone for the Drag Knight - great start to the game, :P ).  After deployment, the board looked like this:


And with that... (For death and glory!) (For the Lady and apple-pie-flavored-lembas!)

Turn 1 (P: Easterlings)

In the Move Phase the elves moved up, mostly going 3" forward to screen the archery this round, though a few of the throwing dagger elves moved up 6".  My forces to the north moved up, with a few infantry moving into the guard house entryway (just in case the elves sweep that way), and the kataphract moves up to join them.

The War Priest also gets up Fury (1/3M), and one of the Sentinels targets the Dragon Knight and attempts to move him (Courage Test), and the Drag Knight passes the test.


In the Shoot Phase my archers do nothing (which I've come to expect), and one of the Mirk Guards takes down one of my bowmen.  Haldir burns through 2 Might, but successfully kills one of the Black Dragons (2/3M) (gotta spend them on something...).  Nothing else happens in archery, and we head to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Wood Elves)

In the Move Phase one of the Sentinels targets the Drag Knight again with that moving song he's got, and the Drag Knight passes.  Otherwise the elves move up, the throwing daggers are now in throwing range (strike true!), and my War Priest and forces continue to charge forward to reinforce the south.


In the Shoot Phase Haldir kills two bowmen (3 kills so far for Haldir), and we return fire and kill one of the wood elves.


Down below one of the Mirk Guard kills a Black Dragon, and with no other shooting we move to Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Wood Elves)

Heading into Turn 3 we have the elves first assaulting the walls.  Thankfully the throwing daggers didn't kill anyone on the charge, and five of my models found themselves engaged against six elves.  The Wood Elf Sentinels all ganged on the Drag Knight, singing their moving song against him and (thankfully) he passed all three tests before being engaged in combat (boo).  In the Shoot Phase we all had a lot of misses (in the case of the elves it was a lot of shots against the walls), and we moved into combat.


In the Fight Phase we won combat about evenly, though there were very few wounds.  The Drag Knight managed to kill one of the elves in his fight, but otherwise no wounds dealt.

Kill Count: Easterlings 5/26 (8 from Break), Wood Elves 2/35 (16 from Break)

Turn 4 (P: Easterlings)

Move Phase was pretty straightforward: my War Priest and and his troop got into position (just in time to fend off the elves - you go, guys!), my men formed up on the walls, and the kat moved out of the entryway to prepare his charge against the elves next turn (and to divert archery away from the guys on the walls).  The elves moved up as you see, had six groups of scalers coming up the walls (Galadhrim is not engaging Amdur yet, so he will not be in combat this round), and none of the throwing daggers hit their targets on the charge.


In the Shoot Phase we failed to hit anyone (as per normal), and Legolas manages to kill one of the Black Drags near Amdur (failed Fury save) (finally).  Haldir picks off one of the bowmen (please, take him - I want him to die), and one of the Galadhrim archers kills the armored horse that the kat was riding, and he passed his throw test to maintain his footing.


In the Fight Phase one of the Black Dragons kills the wood elf in his fight on the south side, the Dragon Knight kills the elf in his fight on the west wall, and one of the elves kills one of the Black Drags on that side (failed Fury save).  So as we approach Turn 5, things are looking tight for the Dragon Army.

Kill Count: Easterlings 8/26 (5 from Break), Wood Elves 4/35 (14 from Break)

Turn 5 (P: Wood Elves)

In the Move Phase nothing interesting happened; the elves continued their assault, and any wounds caused by throwing daggers were Fury saved (don't think there were any, but if any were caused we didn't lose anyone).  Virtually everyone is engaged now, and I started pulling my archers off of the tower to bring them into scoring range.


In the Shoot Phase Haldir kills another bowman (5th bowman killed by Haldir), and Thranduil pops one of the archers in the tower (nice shot, Thranduil).  So with my army 3 from Break Point, we headed into the Fight Phase, :P


...And thankfully we didn't get mauled in the Fight Phase!  We lost a pikeman (not a huge problem), and we were able to down two of the throwing dagger elves, so we can't complain too much about that.  So heading into Turn 6, the kill count looked like this:

Kill Count: Easterlings 11/26 (2 from Break), Wood Elves 6/35 (12 from Break)

Turn 6 (P: Easterlings)

So for starters, the Move Phase actually looked pretty good for us at the start of the Move Phase, :P  We moved up, formed up to block a good number of the elves as they approached the wall, and then Tiberius took his turn.  Thranduil cast Nature's Wrath in the near vicinity, Amdur attempts to ressist it (as I didn't want to resist with my War Priest), and he rolls like a 2 to resist the spell (1/1W), so the spell still goes off.  So a bunch of my guys get knocked over, elves start pouring over the walls, and a number of my guys get tagged by people (oh, and to make matters worse, the Drag Knight failed his roll to stay standing because...reasons).  Once again we didn't lose any of my forces to the throwing weapons (a good number of hits against the walls; the elves were actually throwing really well here), nothing really happened in the Shoot Phase, so we moved to the Fight Phase.


Legolas called a Heroic Combat, killed the Black Drag he was against (3/3M) and took his place on the wall before charging the Black Drag on the ground (bringing me to 1 from Break).


At the end of the Fight Phase the wood elf spearman on the west side kills the Black Drag in his fight (so my force is broken), Amdur is able to kill the Galadhrim in his fight, and the Black Dragon next door kills the sentinel in his fight.

Kill Count: Easterlings 13/26 (Broken, 7 from Game), Wood Elves 8/35 (10 from Break)

Turn 7 (P: Wood Elves)

The Wood Elves finally get priority, and on a turn where it really helps them.  Legolas charges the War Priest and the pikeman near him, Thranduil is able to jump over the wall and attack the Drag Knight, and the elves not only completely take over the western wall, but also pop through the gate.  We countercharge them, running two of my archers into the galadhrim closest to the objective, and I make a desperate effort to save the War Priest.  With no shooting, we commenced with fighting.


Amdur calls a Heroic Combat (2/3M), is able to kill the wood elf with throwing daggers in his fight, and charges into the two spearmen (one on the wall, and one spear supporting Legolas), so that Legolas is not alone taking on the War Priest, the pikeman, and two other pikemen who are charging him from the side, and the re-roll from Amdur, which is the best I can do, :P


...And it wasn't good enough; Legolas wins the fight (on a 6) (yeah-yeah), kills the pikeman on the ground, and Fury goes down.  Up top one of the wood elves kills one of my bowmen, Amdur downs both of the spears in his fight, and we are able to kill one of the spearman in the fights on the southern wall.

Kill Count: Easterlings 13/26 (Broken, 7 from Game), Wood Elves 12/35 (6 from Break)

Turn 8 (P: Easterlings)

Good news: we got priority!  Better news: the War Priest passed his Courage Test (1/1M, 2/3W), so he's still around and capable of casting Fury.  Still better news: he got Fury off on a 4 (3/3W)!  So the whole army (which believe it or not fits within 6" of him) sticks around!  Gotta love it when a plan comes together, :)  We formed up, started the slow advance to get back toward the center objective, as I'm going to need all of the 13 models I still have on-table within scoring range.

I wasn't able to totally protect the War Priest, so he's back in combat this round (which is not exciting), and against a Galadhrim (so I wound on 5s, which is not good with a 1A War Priest).  Otherwise the combats are as you see; Amdur is in combat with Legolas, the elves are crumpling our western line, and we are badly outnumbered on the southern wall.  With no shooting on either side, we move to the Fight Phase.


In the Fight Phase we get really lucky: our bowman at the top, who was surrounded by 5 guys, got off very easy (Haldir whiffed his dice, the sentinel whiffed his dice, and the lone galadhrim archer wounded him, and then he saved the wound on a 6 with Fury, so he's still with us (eh, happens).  We did lose one of the pikes to two of the wood elf spearmen (not surprising) and one of the Black Drags was able to kill one of the spearmen (Yay!  Someone is contributing!).  There were also some really amazing things that happened: the War Priest won the combat (didn't wound, but hey: we've still got Fury up!), Amdur won combat and was able to put a wound on Legolas (1/2H), and the Drag Knight, believe it or not, won combat against Thranduil and dealt a wound to him (1/2H).

Kill Count: Easterlings 14/26 (Broken, 6 from Game), Wood Elves 13/35 (5 from Break)

Turn 9 (P: Easterlings)

As we headed into Turn 9, things looked bad - really bad, :P  We were badly outnumbered, but courtesy of Fury we didn't lose anyone to failing Courage tests for being below our Break Point, and we were able to centralize our position around the War Priest, though we still weren't able to get him out of combat.  Oh - and there are a host of elves in scoring range, :P

In the Shoot Phase the wood elf with throwing dagger standing to the left of Legolas threw a throwing dagger at the pikeman who is spear supporting and he failed to wound, so we moved to the Fight Phase.


In the Fight Phase we lost a ton of guys - yeah...we lost a ton of guys, :P  We lost the Drag Knight to Thranduil and his men, the archers got womped by Haldir and his men, the Black Drag on the walls and the other guys in the tower all got crushed.

There was good news, though: the Black Drag near Amdur who was fending off Legolas + spear support + two more archers won his fight, Amdur won his fight but failed to wound the Galadhrim, and the War Priest (WAR PRIEST!!!) killed the wood elf in his fight (WAR PRIEST!!!).  So we were brought down to 6 models remaining, which ended the game.

Kill Count: Easterlings 20/26 (Game), Wood Elves 14/35 (4 from Break)

So for the final score, the Wood Elves received 3 points for breaking the enemy force and not being broken, 2 points for bringing the Easterlings to 25%, 10 points for models in scoring range, and 0 points for failing to kill the enemy army leader.  The Easterlings received 6 points for models within scoring range, bringing the final score to a 6-15 Major Loss for the Easterlings.

Concluding Thoughts from Centaur: Wow, that was brutal, :P  Archery didn't work hardly at all (one kill I think the entire game; not terrible, but not great), we didn't kill nearly enough people on the walls, and those two rounds where we were on the ground and then lost Priority really hurt, as it both cost me the fights on the wall and then control of the walls the following turn, allowing him to get into scoring range with a flood of guys.  On the whole, though, there wasn't much else we could do; it was a fun game, and elves are tough to beat.  Well played, Tiberius.

Concluding Thoughts from Tiberius: That was fun - I've played one mission where I was defending the walls and I think both Glenstorm and I agree that the mission works (who knows, you might see this mission in the next THRO tournament). Still trying to figure out if the cost is right, but I think it works on the whole. Having D6 foes on the other side of that wall can be really painful - if I didn't have a dedicated archery front I this game, I would have had a much, MUCH harder time.

Stellar Unit for Centaur: Easterling Warrior with halberd/shield.  These guys don't get a lot of praise in the battle report itself all that often, as they often work from behind the scenes to contribute.  In this battle they gave me extra attacks where I needed it to kill a few elves each turn, and that was valuable when I had the barrier helping to save some of the wounds coming my way from the elves as they scaled the walls.  Once the walls were breached they provided both the shielding support we needed and the extra attacks required to do a few wounds on the ground.  While not the best troops in the game, in this game these guys performed well and helped us hang in until Turn 9.

Stellar Unit for Tiberius: Mirkwood Guard with Elf bows. Tough call between the "mirk guard" and the wood elves with spears, but these guys got extra hits on target which translated into more kills before the fight got going. The trick to beating D5+ teams is getting plenty of hits, and these guys do that very well.

Hope you enjoyed the battle report - I got in a "double header" set of games against Glot and Tavros (Rohan and Angmoria armies) on Friday night, which was a blast - I made a few changes to the army list, most notably the addition of these two bad boys:


Not a lot of commentary here on how they did (as I'd like to test it out some more), but you'll definitely see some commentary on chariots in the army write-up in May at the very latest.

I'm hoping to get the second post in the army list building series up this week (though I've got a huge event at work on Thursday/Friday, so it may not be until the weekend), and I'm also hoping to get in a few more Easterling games as well.  Until then, you'll know where to find me,

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch, as it is your's, Badger, to remember." ~ Glenstorm, Prince Caspian

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