Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Throwing Weapon Theory: How to Make Them Work

Good morning readers,

So my wife and I just bought a condo, moved, and have been doing home-improvement jobs for the last few weeks. It's been really busy. But now that most of that stuff is put to bed, I can get back to writing on the blog. Rest assured, my hobbying-hands haven't been idle in the past few months, so I'm hoping to get up a lot of content over the next few weeks (give Glenstorm a break - thanks buddy).

Today, we're talking about throwing weapons, and this post constitutes the climax of a four-year journey in learning how and why to use throwing weapons. Since starting to collect in this hobby, I've really liked throwing weapons. First with Gimli, then with my Wood Elves, I learned that there is not only a reason, but also a tact to using these things. As a preliminary note, all references will be in inches - assume 2 cm for each 1 inch we talk about here if you use the metric scale.

1) Why Use Throwing Weapons?

Throwing weapons do two valuable things for your army: first, they allow more than 33% of your force to contribute to body-counting the enemy outside of the Fight phase. Second, they allow you to do damage in the Move phase, and not just the Shoot phase or Fight phase.
When I first looked into armies for LOTR SBG, I immediately liked Elves (any kind) and Dwarves. When trying to decide what kind of Elves to run, there were three kinds of units that I considered: heavy armor High Elves, light armor Galadhrim, and unarmored Wood Elves. Dedicated readers know that I've gone the Wood Elf route (though I have a small band of Galadhrim and am creating a small High Elf army), but the ultimate deal-breaker was that the Wood Elves could take throwing daggers and the others couldn't. Elves naturally come with a high Shoot value and the only way to capitalize on that for most of your army is to equip those who can't take bows with throwing weapons.

2) How Many Throwing Weapons Should I Take?

Throwing weapons can be taken in large quantities, but for most armies, throwing weapons are a supplement to the overall army killing power. Three of my armies field throwing weapons - Dwarves, Wood Elves, and Goblins - and because of how I've chosen to build them, throwing weapons are part of the overall strategy but not a large part. For 8 points/model, I can see why a general might take 2/3 of his Goblin army as Prowlers with shields/two-handed weapons (Corsairs can do this too for the same cost), but Wood Elves and Dwarves tend to rack up the points pretty quick if you're spending 9-10 points/model just to be able to shoot. This being said, having a 3+ Shoot value makes charges of this kind very, VERY dangerous.

There is one army that does well to have a large complement of throwing weapons: Rohan (though if you can protect Corsairs, you can do MURDER with lots and lots and lots of Corsairs). Since Riders of Rohan can take 8" throwing weapons on 10" movement units, your effective engagement (and escape) range is huge. Rohan infantry cost 9 points/model if they have throwing weapons and shields which can get expensive, but with a few cheap heroes, you can still have a high model count with a ton of throwing weapons.

I've often been asked the question by newer players in our gaming group (especially Rohan players), "How do you determine if the throwing weapons are worth it?" This is a legitimate question, since you're paying 2-3 points/throwing weapon in your army. My reply is simple:

"Tally the points you kill with throwing weapons and compare that to what you spend."

For some armies that overkill on throwing weapons (especially Rohan armies), if you're spending 40+ points on your throwing weapons, you want to see at least that many points being killed by them (not their wielders in melee - the throwing weapon itself needs to do the killing). Against Uruk armies, this means 4-5 kills, but for a Goblin army, you're talking upwards of 8 kills. Can you get that in before the fighting really gets started?

Consider, however, if you have 6 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes, you only need to get 2-4 kills before you've paid for the upgrade. Statistically, you're supposed to get 4 hits with your rangers each round, which translates into 1-2 kills in the first volley alone (assuming Defense 4-5). With some tactical positioning (to be covered next), you might get in another round or two of shooting before the melee begins, which effectively pays for the weapon upgrade. For most armies, I'd recommend only a few units taking throwing weapons and keeping them together in a group where their style of fighting and firepower can be concentrated.

3) How To Use Throwing Weapons

There are four cases that you might face with your throwing weapon units:
  • You are not in charge range of enemy targets AND your range is greater than the movement of the enemy targets (One-Round Safety);
  • You are in charge range of enemy targets AND your range is greater than the movement of the enemy targets (Quick Get-Away);
  • You are not in charge range of enemy targets AND your range is less than the movement of the enemy targets (The Dance); and
  • You are in charge range of enemy targets AND your range is less than the movement of the enemy targets (Possible Get-Away).
The second and fourth cases are often the same, so we'll consider them together (they're really only different if you get priority and your movement is equal to or greater than your opponents). We'll look at some case examples of each of these in order to see what you can do when you're in them.

Case 1: One-Round Safety
When you are outside of charge range, it doesn't matter if you get priority first or second - you'll still be able to skirmish and you don't need to call a Heroic Move - the only thing this affects is "how" you skirmish. The simpler case is when your opponent moves first (no duh here): you know where his units are and can position your own where you need them. Here then is the first tactical rule of throwing weapons:
(1.0)     Distance between thrower and target = [Movement of Target] + 0.5 inches

Since this case assumes that your range is greater than the movement the target, the target will be in range. Why tack on the 0.5 inches then? The reason is minor but valuable: first, you should still be in range. Since all ranges and movements are in full inches, you'll still clip roughly half the base of the target with your range (as seen in the case of the Wood Elves and Goblins above). For units with 8" throwing spears, you can actually pick targets in two ranks doing this, even if they're 6" movement models.

There's another reason for tacking on the extra half-inch: your opponent's move on the following turn gets cut by half an inch too, giving you an extra half-inch to retreat on later turns. The reason is the rule on control zones: you're not allowed to enter the control zone of an enemy model unless you're able to complete the charge. Since you're beyond his movement stat, he can't complete the charge and so must stay out of your control zone. You may not see the overall distance gain as all that much, but trust me: over time, the distance stacks up. Ultimately, though, you've still bought yourself another turn with this strategy - if your opponent moves first, he tries to reach you but ends 1" away from you and you just move back so that there is the same distance as before between you and him (unless you move slower, which happens for some civs). In either event, you've gained at least one more turn to make those throwing weapons pay for themselves.

This begs the question though: what do you do when you have to move first? The answer is simple (kind of...):

(1.1)     Distance between thrower and target = [2x Movement of Target] + 0.5 inches

It's important to note that if you have less movement than your target, you won't actually get this far, but the reason for this distance should be easy to understand: you want to either choose to move his full distance and be in range of your guys this turn and not able to charge next turn, or to stay outside of your range and hence not be able to charge you on the following turn. In either event, you've won yourself one extra turn of shooting (hence, why this is called the One-Round Safety strategy).
Two words of caution on this particular strategy: first, it wins, but can be very, VERY frustrating for your opponent. There's nothing quite like having to take fire from an opponent you can't catch. The second point of caution though is for you: it is rare that you get this same strategy two turns in a row (if you keep not getting priority and your movement is at least as much as your target's movement, you can do it). As such, you need to be ready for the next two cases - especially the one we're tackling next.

Case 2: Quick/Possible Get-Away

In these cases, you begin in charge range and now need to adjust your movement to make sure that you aren't charged this turn and can get one last round of firing in. There's an important caveat to both of these cases: you need to have priority OR successfully get off a heroic move. That's hard and in many ways not up to you as much as it is to Lady Fortuna. Without priority/a heroic move, you're dead in the water (since you begin in charge range). Therefore, for this use case, we're going to assume that you've already got priority/the heroic move, and you're just trying to figure out how to get in one more turn.

If your throwing-weapon units were skirmish cavalry (e.g. Riders of Rohan/Warg Riders with throwing spears), it might be possible for you to get more than one turn of shooting out of your movement, but let's assume that that's not the case for now (because at that point, you basically become one of the other two cases we're looking at in this post).

In the quick get-away case (where your range is greater than your opponent's movement, my recommendation is to move just out of charge range (see Equation 1.0). You won't be able to move to a distance that is more than twice his movement, so don't worry about it - you get in one more valiant throw and then it's "fix bayonets" time.

In some cases, though, you only have a possible get-away: in the picture above, the Dwarves were only able to leave 2" between them an their warg oppressors, so now we have a different tact:
(2.0)     Distance between thrower and target = 1 inch + [Make Shooting Attack] + [Complete Charge]

In some cases of the possible get-away, you can put the opponent's movement + 0.5 inches between you and them, but since their movement is greater than your range, they could wait outside of your range if they wanted. Therefore, if your opponent gives you the opportunity to charge, just charge (you still get that one-more shot in - wounding-in-the-move-phase-for-the-win!).

Case 3: The Dance

This case is in many ways the worst of the cases - which is why we're tackling it last. :) Here, not only are you in charge range, but your opponent can also wait just outside your shooting range for a good turn to charge. In the example above, you see some Goblin Prowlers who are being outmaneuvered by some Uruk Marauders - 8" movement beats 5" move and 6" range. So...how do you win?
It's important to note that since this scenario assumes that you begin within charge range, you also need to start with priority OR call a heroic move. Without it, you're charged and that's that. In the scenario above, the Urus have waited outside of your weapon range and therefore stayed outside your shooting range. So, we use Equation 1.1 - get to just outside their movement range. I know what you're thinking: "but we just did that - we know they'll just stay out of throwing range and we'll be back where we started next turn! What are we doing?!?!?" To answer this question, let's look bigger than the throwing weapon damage itself.

In the scenario above, the Prowlers are 6.5" away from the Marauders and knowing that the Prowlers can't charge them, they choose instead to move 2" directly away from the Marauders, getting out of charge range. If the Marauders want to not be shot at this round, they are capped to moving 2" towards their opponents (essentially 2" - they could try to maneuver around with their 8" move but still being 6.5" away from their assailants). In this case, the throwing weapons aren't doing damage, but they are denying the opponent his full movement and saving the Goblin army valuable space on the board (perhaps to protect an objective or to stretch the game out a little longer).

This is kind of scraping a value out of the situation (I said this was the worst one, remember?), but there are still tactical benefits to be gained. If your opponent gets hasty, he could choose to move up to the edge of your control zone, in which case you have bought yourself one turn of shooting and hopefully a charge on the next turn (that's two shots with your throwing weapons). So...here's to hoping that with enough wear-down, you can get some actual shooting out of your opponent.

Thanks for reading - in the coming weeks, I'll be getting some more posts on throwing weapons, as we look into how you can use them to augment your overall strategy, but more immediately, expect a post on the most recent work coming off the workbench and a sneak peak into this year's THRO tournament. Until then, happy hobbying!

Tiberius

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