Thursday 27 October 2011

I'm going to have to do something about Chaos Armour...

It's half term, so it must be time for my regular appointment with Andy...

We're both teachers you see, and whilst we both used to be members of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wargamers, he went off about a year ago to join the tournament junkies that are the Dragon Slayers in Mansfield, whilst I've helped establish our new club in Sheffield. However we quite like playing each other because we're about as good as each other (i.e. not very) and our games are quite closely fought. So we always managed to squeeze at least one game in during the school hols.

In recent times, however, Andy has been getting the better of me more than I have him. Part of this was the advent of eighth edition and the nerfing of my Wood Elves, however it's mainly due to the fact that he regularly plays against people much better than me and has got better at WFB. However, never one to shirk a challenge I carted my 1800 points of Bretonnians over to his for our game.

My army consisted of my usuals: Level 4 Prophetess, Level 2 Damsel, Mounted BSB, Paladin on Foot. 30 Men at Arms, 20 Peasant Bowmen, 8 Knights of the Realm, 5 Knights Errant, 3 Pegasus Knights, a Grail Reliquae and 18 Battle Pilgrims and Trebuchet.

You never know what army Andy's going to bring (although you can guarantee it will be evil - he doesn't do good guys), and this time it was Warriors of Chaos. It consisted of: Level 4 Sorcerer of Tzeentch on a Disc, BSB on a Disk, 8 Chaos Knights, 25 Marauders of Tzeentch (Shields and Light Armour), 2 units of 25 Marauders of Khorne (Great Weapons), 2 units of 5 Chaos Hounds and a Hellcannon. That's a whole lot of armour cracking Strength 5 knocking about!

We rolled up the Dawn Attack scenario and so the random deployment rolls saw my deploy my Peasants on my left (annoyingly the Trebuchet was a bit undefended) and the Knights on the right. Andy was also similarly split, with his Khornate troops turning up on his left facing my Knights and his Tzeentchian models ending up on his right opposite my Peasants. My Pegasus Knights flapped forwards to get in the way of things.

I gave up first turn to pray (I'd need the blessing) and as even the Hordes of Chaos surged forwards threatening to charge on turn two. My Trebuchet and Knights looks under particular threat. Magic and shooting produced nothing of note save for four dead archers.

Realising that they would be on me next turn, I took precautions against the inevitable onslaught. The Knights Errant managed to resist charging foolishly off and moved up to redirect the Chaos Warriors and, if they could somehow hold, open a flank my Knights (twice in two games?). The Pegasus Knights popped over behind the enemy lines, ready to cause trouble. Meanwhile, the Men at Arms gained the blessing from the Prayer Icon and the Prophetess did what she could to protect the Trebuchet by casting Iceshard Blizzard and Curse of the Midnight Wind on the incoming Disc Rider and Harmonic Convergence on the Trebuchet. The Archers managed to bring down only a single Chaos Hound, not enough to force a panic test.

With the Knights Errant now in range, both units of Khornate Marauders tried to resist charging, but failed and then failed to reach. The Chaos Knights, however, chose to attack the young warriors and smashed into them, cutting them to pieces and riding straight past the Knights of the Realm.

On the other side of the table the Chaos BSB crashed into the Trebuchet and despite all the magical aid I'd given them, drove them from the field. Fortunately, the Men at Arms were able to resist the lure of panic thanks to the proximity of the General. The Hellcannon also failed its leadership test and charged the rear of the Pegasus Knights, who somehow managed to hold.

Realising I had to get stuck in, I declared a charge with most of my army. The Knights charged one of the units of Khornate Marauders, the Grail Reliquae charged the Tzeentchian Marauders and the Men at Arms charged one of the units of Chaos Hounds. The Khorne Marauders had to hold, but the other two units opted to flee. In the magic phase I was able to get Iceshard Blizzard, Harmonic Convergence and Wyssan's Wildform cast on the Knights' combat, and the Peasant Bowmen finally found their range by bringing down the rest of the Chaos Hound unit they had targeted the previous turn. The Knights cut through the Marauders, killing twelve of them, for no reply, and broke them. Crucially, I then opted not to pursue as I would have galloped into a Blood Forest, instead the Knights reformed to face the rest of the Chaos army. The Pegasus Knights continued to hold the Hellcannon.

On his turn, Andy turned the Chaos Knights around and angled his Sorcerer and the second unit of Khorne Marauders towards my Knights. Annoyingly he also managed to rally the other unit and I now became aware that I should have pursued the previous turn as Andy had created a situation where whatever I did, I was likely to get charged (probably in the flank) the following turn.

On a brighter note both the Marauders of Tzeentch and Chaos Hounds failed to rally and would continue to run off the board the following turn. However the Pegasus Knights finally broke from the Hellcannon.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, I opted for my Knights charge the Chaos Knights as that's a plan that has worked so well every other time I've tried it. Irritatingly, the Grail Reliquae failed its swift reform test than would have brought the Prophetess in range to cast supporting spells so I was only able to cast Pann's Impenetrable Pelt on the BSB.

As expected, the Knights of the Realm hit the Chaos Knights and collapsed like a concertina. Not only were three knights and the champion killed, but the BSB was also brought down. Let's just pause for a moment; the BSB had Toughness 6, and Armour Save of 2+ (Rerollable) and a Ward Save 5+ AND was only attacked by 3 attacks as Andy didn't want to waste attacks on an 'unkillable' character. Bugger. 'Fortunately' the Knights held.

Never one to refuse an invite, Andy now charged a unit of Marauders into the open door of my flank and the Knights were cut down to a man. He also charged the newly rallied Pegasus Knights with the Hellcannon, they failed their terror test and fled off the field and so the Hellcannon redirected into the Grail Reliquae. Both sides traded blows to little effect thanks to high toughness, effective ward saves and dead Chaos Dwarfs.

With nothing now to hold up the oncoming horde the Peasant Bowmen turned to fire a volley at the Chaos Sorcerer...they missed. The Men at Arms joined the attack on the unbreakable Hellcannon, hoping that volume of attacks would wear down the colossus. They didn't. It also became apparent that Andy was directing all his attacks at my General.

The the game continued much in this vein for two more turns. The Chaos Knights ran the Peasant Archers off the board. The Hellcannon (annoyingly helped by my own spells that the Chaos Sorcerer had stolen) brought down the Prophetess but was killed in turn by my Paladin who finally got his butt in gear.

There was no need to count up points. I'd been smashed.

In retrospect, breaking off the pursuit of the Chaos Marauders cost me the game. Had I gone after them I may well have lost a couple of Knights to dangerous terrain, but I would probably have destroyed the Marauders (more points) and got the Knights out of trouble. I then could have sent the Knights to help against the Hellcannon; their strength on the charge would probably have brought the thing down sooner and possibly have saved my Prophetess.

As it was, I chose to send my only hammer unit into a situation that even had the BSB survived the first round of combat, meant certain destruction. In short, I made a mistake and then was comprehensively outmanoeuvred.

On the up side, I've discovered that my Knights, supported by magic or circumstance, can smash through an infantry block on their own. This is worth knowing...

Also, I think that I need to squeeze in a character with Heroic Killing Blow, as I need some answer to rampaging monsters.

A good game. I'll get you at Christmas Andy! [shakes fist in a menacing manner]

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