So the comp rules have changed (read "thrown out the window"), however I opted to keep my list the same-out of principle and stubbornness. So I fielded:
W.Priest: HA, SH
BSB: FPA, charmed shield, opal amulet
30 Halberds: FC
29 Halberds: FC
5 Pistoliers: M
28 Great Swords: FC
The Dark elf list I was up against was a little changed
Super unkillable BSB
24 Spears: FC
15 Black Guard: FC
We Rolled Meeting Engagement my least favourite mission: the side that deploys 2nd has a MAJOR advantage (see 1600 pt emp vs WoC) and my anecdotal evidence suggests that the team that deploys first rarely wins. That wasn't going to stop me from trying however, As I got the fortune of deploying first.
So given the massive disadvantage I had by deploying first I opted for a very conservative deployment, basically castling on a hill. However, as you can see by this next pic, there was a flaw in my deployment.
The darkelves are a lot more aggressive in their movement. The Darkriders however decide they have had enough and flee off the board. The shades in the forest also turn around to let loose a few shots at the pistoliers.
The 6v4 dice magic phase continues the relentless Dark Elf aggression. All dispel dice are used to stop flame cage. Power of Darkness nets 3 dice, then a flame storm is cast (not too worried by it because it scatters...) on the lvl2's halberds, a "hit" is rolled and 16 halberds are BBQed. sigh. The shooting phase sees 4 dead Pistoliers who flee and 1 dead halberd.
So not a good start! The lvl2 decides to jump ship into the Great swords and my line moves forward. with a 10 v5 magic phase, a 6 dice big fireball at the lvl4 is scrolled, meaning the firestorm is easily dispelled. In the shooting phase my xbows continue to hit above their weight killing 1 harpie (-4 to hit). The mortar on queue misfires while the cannon kills 3 spearelves.
11 v 7 magic phase starts with me dispelling a flame cage on the Great Swords. Firestorm is then cast IF. A 6 is rolled on the table, the lvl4 takes a wound and 5 spearelves a smited in the explosion. In the meantime the flame storm AGAIN hits-this time the other halberd unit-and kills 16. The unit holds. In the shooting phase, another 6 halberds die to shade shooting. The Hydra then gets its flame on and kills 14 Great swords from 14 wounds...not a single armour save. To make things worse the Greatswords + all my characters decide to flee 10 through my xbows and artillery. The other shades then kill 2 halberds and the 40 shots from the xbow units kill 1 halberd. Still, not looking good...
The flagellants, enraged that everyone is dying around them charge the harpies who are caught and pulled apart in a righteous frenzy. Valten and his retinue charge the other harpies who hold.
However, the Great Swords run off the board. My other unit of halberds turn to face the shades in the venom thicket. In the shooting phase, the hydra regens the cannon, but the xbows (as usual) get a wound through. In the combat, the harpies do nothing while Valten plucks one from the sky. The harpies hold.
SO what for the darkelves to do? Well the Hydra charges the cannon (obviously scared of the xbows stand and shoot...), fails and moves forward 1 inch, while the shades flank Valten.
another 10 v 5 magic phase means the flagellantds look like this:
IN the combat, the shades kill the musician while Valten kills the remaining harpies.
So with nothing left to do, the Halberds charge the shades in the forest, who flee. I halberd trips on a root and skewers himself on a twig.
So, the Black Guard are called into deal with Valten who stubbornly refuses to die.
The Hydra, finally remembers how to charge, and successfully gets into combat with the cannon, but loses a head in the process. The shades also rally.
The magic phase is a perfect example of how magic defence should be. I let the power of darkness be cast, then the firestorm missed, then I dispelled the fireball. Perfect haha. 40 xbow shots = 1 dead halberd. In the combat, Valten and his standard bearer are brutally cut down. The Hydra's fun is also ruined by the handlers who kill the cannon crew.
So we end the game there with a convincing win to the Dark elves.
So very much out gunned and blown apart by magic. I was not helped by the mission where I could be easily out deployed. 2 hits from the firestorm made my life difficult, but the Great Swords + characters fleeing was the icing on the cake. No real return from that position.
I think my list has to be seriously revised to take into account the destructive power that can be brought to smaller games (and therefore be disproportionately more destructive). That I shall ponder...