Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Battle Report: Domination: Isengard v. Rivendell


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur here with another battle report!  This battle involves me testing out one of my crazy ideas for an army for THRO 2015 (which is coming up in October) against a very odd Rivendell army concept that Tiberius is dabbling with right now.  I'd mention what makes it odd but...you'll see when he lays out his army list, :)  Since this was a "Eh, let's just test some crazy ideas and see what works" game, we decided to play a Domination game (as it has very easy rules) to help get some of the dust off of my Isengard game (as it's been years since I've used Isengard in a tournament).  The lists are below:

Centaur's Crazies (Isengard, Warbands)
Warband 1:
-Ugluk (Army Leader): 60 pts
-10 Feral Uruk-Hai: 120 pts
-1 Uruk Scout with banner: 33 pts

Warband 2
-Uruk Siege Ballista with Engineer Captain and Extra Crew: 160 pts
-2 Uruk Scouts with shields: 18 pts
-3 Feral Uruk-Hai: 36 pts

Warband 3
-Uruk Shaman with Armor: 55 pts
-10 Feral Uruk-Hai: 120 pts

TOTAL: 599 pts, 32 units, 6 Might, 1 Caster

Tiberius Tries High Elves (White Council + Rivendell & Eregion, Warbands)
Warband 1 (The White Council):
Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin: 140 pts
Radagast the Brown - 150 pts

Warband 2 (Rivendell & Eregion)
Arwen Evenstar - 60 pts
6 High Elf Warriors with shields - 60 pts
3 High Elf Warriors with Elf bows - 33 pts

Warband 3 (Rivendell & Eregion)
Gildor Inglorion (Haldir model standing in) - 80 pts
5 Noldorin Exiles with throwing daggers - 50 pts
3 Noldorin Exiles with Elf bows - 30 pts

TOTAL: 603 pts, 21 units, 8 Might, 3 Casters

Pre-Game Assessment from Centaur: Okay, this list is just for fun.  Probably wouldn't win a tournament, but I'm always curious as to how it would do.  Everyone has 2 attacks (as the scouts are designed to always be shielding) except for the siege crew, and their job is to tear apart enemies from a far distance.  We'll see what I think about the siege captain; he's an Uruk Captain with heavy armor who costs 85 pts, but the added 30 pts allows him to use his Might to promote to-hit rolls, scatter rolls, and to-wound rolls made by the siege ballista, which I've discovered in past games is very handy (being able to nail the target you want to nail on a 4+ potentially?  Very handy).  The plan for this army is very simple: close distance as quickly as possible, contest the center objective, quickly fall to 25% once the throwing weapons and enemy archery do their work, and have sole possession of 3 objectives while contesting the fourth.  And that's a minor victory at worst, major victory at best.

Pre-Game Assessment from Tiberius: So I'll admit it - I'm finally investing (a little) in High Elves. Ever since getting the Free Peoples book, I've loved the High Elves, but they're expensive (especially their heroes). That's when I discovered a few High Elf heroes who aren't that expensive (like Erestor, Gildor, and Arwen), which allows you to throw the money you saved into big heroes. I'm also seeing how Radagast helps the list, since he not only heals my power guys, but also allows me to deal with enemy heroes well. While lacking in warrior count, I'm experimenting with a hero-heavy list with a handful of D6 warriors to protect the heroes from being overwhelmed. We'll see how this goes...

Scoring

We're playing a Domination Game (as it's very common at tournaments, and I'm testing a new list, so Tiberius was nice and let us play a Domination game to get me ready for battle), with the following scoring rules:
  • 3 Victory Points for each objective that only has models within 3" of it belonging to one player, or 1 Victory Point for each objective that has a majority of models from one player within 3" of the objective
  • 2 Victory Points for killing the enemy army leader
Deployment

We rolled for deployment, I deployed first, and when we were done the board looked like this:


And with that... (For death and glory!) (Rid this world of the filth!)

Turn 1 (P: Elves)

The Move Phase was pretty boring: the armies moved up, the ballista made sure it had a shot against the Noldorin archers to the far side (because when you can remove elf archers from a distance that helps, especially when they can move 4" and still fire), and the shaman got off Fury (1/3W), which was much appreciated.  The Shoot Phase was also boring, as the ballista missed.  With nothing else we moved on to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Elves)

The Move Phase saw both armies converging on the center location, with some ferals peeling off of the main body to threaten the two side objectives.  The Noldorin Exiles continued moving toward the top left objective (wow, I keep forgetting how much of a difference 8" makes in getting to objectives) (Rocket impression: "oh yeaaaaaaah").  Most of the elves remain hidden behind Weathertop, and we prepare for shooting.

In the Shoot Phase the elves had no shooting, so the ballista opened fire...


And BOY did it work!  Scoring both a successful hit and a 6 on the Scatter roll (hits the intended target with a direct hit), the elf went flying back about 8" and knocked over a ton of elves.  The rolls to wound were utterly terrible, but we still managed to land a wound on one of the Noldorin Exiles and a wound on Gildor Inglorien which he opted to simply take as a wound (1/2H).  Worst case scenario, it slowed down the elves so that my ferals could get up the field to the far objective. (BALLISTA!!!) (ouch) Nothing else happened in the Shoot Phase, so we moved to Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Uruk-Hai)

The armies moved up, the elves took up firing positions to cover the map, and the mass of ferals began to scale the hill and continue their mad rush across the map.


In the Shoot Phase the ballista opened up on one of the elves, hits his target, gets a 6 on the Scatter roll, and takes his man out (BALLISTA!!!) (ouch).  In response, the elves returned fire and the exiles took down a feral:


...And then the high elf archers downed a feral:


So the game is starting to even out in regards to kills (which we will start tracking in a few rounds when serious numbers of bodies are on the field).

Turn 4 (P: Uruk-Hai)

The armies continue to move up, and we have our first melee combats up top in the trees near the top left objective (yay melee!) (into the fray!).  As the elves begin to race to the top of the hill Arwen casts Nature's Wrath and gets it off on a 5 (2/3W, 1/1M), and Ugluk resists it (1/1W, 1/3M) (that was close!) (boo, was hoping to take down 2-3 Might with that, oh well).


The Shoot Phase was much more boring than past turns - the ballista missed (and there was much rejoicing), the exiles missed, but the high elves keep up the war of attrition on my ferals near the bottom of the map (really, shooting is my only hope of contesting that objective given how few guys I have...).


In melee combat we traded blows evenly, with an exile and a feral falling in the woods (and GILDOR lost his fight...LOST his fight...).  With nothing else to do this round, we moved on to Turn 5 (and the promise of lots of combat).

Turn 5 (P: Uruks)

We started with a Heroic Move being called by both Gildor Inglorien (1/1M) and Glorfindel (1/3M).  Gildor was able to cast Immobilize on one of the ferals (1/4W), one of his men killed a feral with a throwing weapon, and the ferals up top were heavily engaged (yeah baby!).

Glorfindel and his men took up positions and charged the uruks, I took the men in my center unit that were not engaged and counterattacked, and then Radagast cast Immobilize (1/6W + Free Will Point, 1/3M) on Ugluk who had no Will points to resist (no killing for you, thanks), so it went through.  Arwen then joined Radagast, and the board looked like this:


You'll also notice that I split up the ferals heading toward the bottom right objective - since I was likely safe from the archers up top I figured there was no need to keep four of them at that objective, so I sent half of the survivors north to the carnage in the middle.


In the Shoot Phase the ballista missed, and the high elf archers picked off one of the two survivors I sent north (was expecting that - it falls into the "fall quickly to 25%" part of the strategy) (normally, charging my archers with two guys would be certain doom, but since I only had one of them shooting, worked out pretty well).  Otherwise archery was pretty boring.


In the Fight Phase we killed two of the high elf archers and two of the swordsmen in the center and didn't take any losses there.  Unfortunately...


Up top we lost both the immobilized feral and another feral, though we downed one of the exiles in return.  Now with one feral against two exiles with throwing daggers as well as a hero who can cast Immobilize, things are looking bad for the north objective (at least there's one part of the map I don't need to worry about...).

Kill Count: 8/32 Isengard (8 from Break), 8/21 Elves (3 from break)

Turn 6 (P: Elves)

I opted to call a Heroic Move with Ugluk (mostly because if not I'll be immobilized again by Radagast, :P ) and Tiberius opted not to resist it, so we moved in to engage the elves.  The ferals tied down Glorfindel (okay, Fury covers a multitude of sins, even before factoring in the 6+ save), we moved up to the top of the hill, and the shaman cast Transfix on Glorfindel on a 6 (3/3W), which he resisted (2/3W).  Since we couldn't get to Radagast he went ahead and cast Immobilize on Ugluk again, which succeeded (1/6W + Free, 1/3M), and Arwen and Radagast charged into combat (hooray for heroes who don't fight well!).


In the Shoot Phase the ballista hits the exile he was aiming for on a 6, passes his "In the Way" roll for shooting into a forest, passes his Scatter on a 6, and takes down the exile (Ballista!!!) (ouch).  With no other archery, we moved on to the Fight Phase.


...And boy was it a crazy Fight Phase.  We were able to down two of the high elf swordsmen and one of the archers, and we lost a feral on the left side of the hill (not enough guys to hold the center...).  The feral engaged by Arwen and Radagast won combat and managed to do a wound to Radagast who had a stream of bad luck on his Fate rolls (1/3H, 3/3F) (really bad, man - you'll pay for that later, I'm sure).

The fight that was most interesting was the fight against Glorfindel.  He had 10 dice against him (5 ferals), lost the combat (as we can all understand), and with 20 dice to wound (because go figure, he was trapped), we got...one...wound.  One wound.  On 20 dice.  Looking for 6s.  It was insane - we cracked up a lot about it, :)  He opted not to spend the Fate Points and just took the wound (1/3H), so we moved on to the next round.

Kill Count: 9/32 Isengard (7 from Break), 12/21 Elves (Broken, 4 from Game)

Turn 7 (P: Uruks)

As we started Turn 7 Tiberius called a Heroic Move with Radagast (2/3M), and I counter-called with the shaman (1/1M) (which means he now literally is just a glorified spearman with Fury), the shaman won the roll to go first, and we charge.  The elves moved into position to claim the back objective, and because of the flurry of excitement that was calling a Heroic Move, I forgot to snap a picture, :P  The Shoot Phase was a wash (as the ballista missed and the elf archers missed), so we moved to the Fight Phase.


Ugluk called a Heroic Combat in his bout with Radagast and when all was said and done he won combat, finished off the wizard, and he and his feral engaged Arwen in her fight.  Things were looking good for Isengard in that fight...


...And then in typical Tiberius-playing-Arwen fashion he won the fight (respect: he's down 6:1 in the dice count and we all wound on 3/4s) but failed to wound (which is less typical for Tiberius - usually she kills people left and right) (you can't have it all...).  In other news Glorfindel won the fight (not surprisingly) and took down one of the ferals and we killed one of the high elf swordsmen up top.  We wrapped up the turn, and prepared for Turn 8, which we both expected to be the last turn...

Kill Count: 10/32 Isengard (6 from Break), 14/21 Elves (Broken, 2 from Game)

Turn 8 (P: Elves)

Arwen led the charge into the uruks after passing her Courage test and calls "Stand Fast!"  Glorfindel also passes and charges the shaman and the banner (oh crud...) ("Now...we end this..."), and Gildor and the exile join the fray in the middle of the map (because we couldn't make it to the ballista...).  We respond by piling in (as that's literally all this army is designed to do other than shoot with a ballista).

In the Shoot Phase the ballista rolls a 2 on the to-hit roll, but because I was pretty sure this would be the last turn I decided, "...Oh why not, let's spend 2 Might to land the hit!"  So we spent 2 Might (2/2M), I roll the Scatter roll, and it scatters off and does nothing, :P  Oh well. :)


In the Fight Phase Glorfindel wins handily (as we all knew he would), and he kills the banner though he fails to wound the shaman (some Lord of the West you're turning out to be in this game...).  Because the shaman lost combat though, Fury is now down for my army, so we'll need to Courage test to charge Glorfindel now.  Arwen lost combat to Ugluk and the feral, she backed down the stairs (but passed her footing test, so she wasn't trapped), and in the picture you can see what Ugluk (looking for 3s) and the feral (looking for 4s) rolled to wound...yeah, it's just one of those days (the grace of the Valar is with us...), :P

This actually presented a problem because it meant that the elves held on - they didn't lose the two models they would need to lose to bring them to 25% (only lost 1 elf swordsman), so we went on for another round, this time with the uruks not having Fury up to help them.

Kill Count: 11/32 Isengard (5 from Break), 15/21 Elves (Broken, 1 from Game)

Turn 9 (P: Uruks)

As we entered Turn 9 my ferals Courage tested to charge Glorfindel, and courtesy of Courage 5 they all passed.  The exciting thing for this round was that at the top left (it's hard to see in the picture) my feral actually caught the Noldorin Exile back there, and we have combat on the back objective!  Otherwise everything is as you see it.

In the Shoot Phase the ballista hits his target (the guy in the trees that my feral is engaged in combat with - more on that in a bit), and scatters off.

Now some may wonder why I took this shot - after all, if I keep my guy there the objective is worth 0 points to both sides, but if I kill my own guy Tiberius gains 3 points.  Well, the fact that I didn't much care about the points aside for just a moment, the thinking was that there were two number results that would result in not scattering off: a 1 (which hits me) and a 6 (which hits him).  In either scenario I have a 66% chance of killing the elf (removing the chance for it scoring for Tiberius), I have a 50% chance of killing myself (which isn't going to break my army, and would send me flying into him which does a S6 hit to the elf, which is still a 66% chance of killing him), and if I got the 6 (as opposed to the 1), I'd send him out of scoring range (as he'd move back at least 2"), and I'd be knocked prone, keeping me in scoring range, assuming that I don't get wounded on the 4+ S6 hit.  So in my very clouded calculus, I thought it was worth trying, :P  So there's that (welcome to the mind of Centaur, for those who have wanted to know why I do some of the things I do, :P ) (very intriguing...moving on...).


In the Fight Phase there was a lot of nothing - Glorfindel won combat (3/3M) but failed to wound his targets (boo), Gildor won his fight and failed to wound (boo), we were able to finish off Arwen (boo-hoo) and the exile near Gildor won combat but failed to wound.  But we weren't done yet...


...Up top the fodder guy did his job and finished off the exile at the top objective (so I guess it was good I didn't send a ballista shot into him, :P ), which swung the points a bit more in favor of Isengard.  With the elves at 25% of their starting force we quickly tabbed the points but we knew it was a Major Victory for Isengard, so we called it there.

Post-Game Assessment by Centaur: Wow, that was a fun game.  The uruks by far had numbers on their side during the match, and it was strange not facing nearly as many ranged weapons in an elf list (as most Rivendell players will bring 10 bows to the fight).  I liked having the ferals - it means you don't shield ever, but you get the extra dice from shielding with the ability to still strike wounds, which I really like.  Since the entire army is C5 it also means Courage testing is less stressful too, which is really nice.  The ballista didn't make its points back in models (at 150 that's hard to do), but I also thought it gave some nice cover to the army, and am pleased with its work.

Post-Game Assessment by Tiberius: All told, I'm not crushed by this game. I know that I need more guys, which means passing on either Glorfindel or Radagast (in favor of Erestor or the twins, probably). I was very impressed with the performance of the Noldorin Exiles, though I'm really not surprised that I liked their speed and ranged capabilities in a Domination game (very handy). Gildor proved to be more of a tactical piece that I first imagined, but with a little back-up, he's a great find. Can't wait to test out more High Elf lists in the coming months, and since I just finished a good round of painting on them, I should have some pics up soon for viewing!

Stellar Unit for Centaur: The ballista!!!  Oh my gosh, the BALLISTA!!!  Did you see that thing?  Accurate as I'll get out, and way too much fun to use, :)  Sure, it's not the strongest way to build an army, but I really like it, and it's putting in a lot more than my uruk (or orc, for those of you who remember way back to when I first started collecting) archer force, so it's going to stay, :)  Looking forward to using the ballista more!

Stellar Unit for Tiberius: tell you honestly, no one deserves this title. If I had to pick someone, it would probably be the High Elf archers, only because they weakened a flanking attack force that was also trying to hold the objective that I knew I couldn't take. However, nobody really did much of anything EXCEPT Gildor and his crew. Even then, I spent way more points fighting a small skirmish band that eventually took the objective I raced to anyway, so not sure how effective that was as a game plan (granted, I did abandon one guy with a lone archer...).

This will likely not be the army that I take to THRO this October - I'm still refining it, but I like where it's going.  The lack of power heroes in melee combat does worry me (I really only have Ugluk in this scheme, and he lacks the firepower to take a serious hero), so we'll see where that goes in future builds.

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"Lie back on the floor," said Firenze in a calm voice, "and observe the heavens.  Here is written, for those who can see, the fortune of our races." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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