No sooner had I got all my models back on their movement trays from the last game, we rolled another mission: blood and glory. My Empire army is rather good at this mission has I have a solid punch unit that has no banners that I can throw at stuff where needed. My Halberds are also used extremely defensively, so I rarely get out manouvered and get them stuck in unfavourable combats. Then again, my General has a massive 4+/6++ parry and t4 with 2 wounds to keep him going...
So my list:
lvl4: scroll, light
W.Priest: HA, SH, bad ass attitude (general)
W.Priest: Ha, 2hw, smug look on face and feels left out (queue Dark Angels style saga)
BSB: FPA, Charmed shield, Opal Amulet, immunity to hatred and other silly conditions
10 xbows: super sniper shooting ability, yet cant turn and shoot if asked
30 flagellants: crazed look and bounce lighting
46 Halberds: FC and Valten
5 Sisters of Sigmar detachment (free company)
46 Halberds: FC and some guy with shield that I havnt named yet
5 Sisters of Sigmar detachment (free company)
5 Pistoliers: M, suicidal tendencies
2 cannons: faulty barrels
1 Mortar: cork in the end
The army lined up on the other side was this:
lvl4: +1 powerdice Darkness
lvl2: scroll, fire
BSB with cauldron (in the movie depicted by chariot base)
23 Spears: FC
5 Dark riders
2x15 Black Guard: FC (one unit is pressed ganged goblins who will be referred to as the "Gobbo Guard")
From my count I have 6 and Delves have 6 as well...
SO we deployed our armies and we looked like this:
The Darkelves more efficient set up meant they went first after our fast calv had been vanguarded. The turn started well with the Gobbo Guard passing animosity. The shades moved in from their isolated positions on the left of the board. One of shade units (no in pic above) basically had a 4/5 turn goal of taking out all the artillery and I had no way/intention of stopping them (at least they weren't doing annoying stuff + my artillery usually explodes before they get a chance to take them out). The spears are given a 5+ ward. Note the darkriders in a really scary position...
The Magic phase however was a huge game changer. The lvl4 started with an IF 2 dice power of darkness, promptly became a lvl2 and lost power of darkness and the ws/bs hex. Thanks to the ward however, the lvl4 suffers no wounds from the generated dice it can no longer use. The lvl2, feeling left out by all the excitement then IF's a flame cage on the flagellants killing 2. The lvl2 however rolls it a little too close to the edge and gets sucked into the warp, killing 2 harpies. The remaining harpies then flee 6 inches towards the Empire line. The shooting phase results in the Sisters of Sigmar on the too big movement tray being wiped out and 1 xbow dying to the dark riders.
Ok: so a lot just happened! The Empire turn starts with the Halberds now detachment-less declaring a charge on the harpies who flee back to their original position. My Pistoliers move to shoot the Black Guard and redirect the spears. My lvl4's unit turn to face the Darkriders.
In a 5v4 magic phase 1 Dark rider dies to a magic missile and I get a 3dice net on the Black guard (horrible dispel roll). Shooting wise, my xbows, having an easy to hit target, fail to kill any black guard while the pistoliers manage to kill 1. On queue, the mortar misfires and 1 cannon misfires-not able to shoot next turn. The other cannon puts 3 wounds on the hydra.
Once again, no animosity on the Gobbo Guard. The harpies fail to rally and flee into this nice position:
So basically the overrun will pull the spears into the pistoliers allowing me to flank with Valten with an overrun into the Black Guard...who said tactics were dead in 8th?
Of course the point of this is to stop the charge from the spears and instead draw out the Black Guard who will fall into the same problem-either reform and get combo squished/awkward position to be in (pistols charge the cauldron or the xbows etc to allow the halberds to swing in) or over run and get combo squished.
My magic phase was an exact copy of my last one, expect 3 Darkriders die and the spears (+lvl4/2) are netted instead to hopefully completely shut down the magic phase.
The mortar takes aim and kills 6 xbows while the working cannon bounced off the hydra.
So the shades charge the cannon. The harpies flee 6. The 5+ ward is given to the spears who are feeling the heat. The Hydra comes out to play hoping to burninate the villiagers.
The Magic phase COULD have been scary (11v7), however the net held tight to the unit, killing 1 spear with 1 armour save, and 3 wards saving the other 4 wounds. The hydra then gets burninating, killing 7 flagellants with its s2 breath. Another 4 halberds die to shooting and the lone darkrider, being consistent, kills 1 xbow. In the combat, I was hoping for heroics, but the cannon died and the shades overran into the other cannon.
In reply, the Flagellants, annoyed at being burnt, charged the hydra. The rest of my army shuffles about exploiting the traps set, waiting to pounce when best suits. In the magic phase, the net gets recast on the spears and Valten's halberds get pha's protection-just in case someone tries something risky. The xbows, with nothing to shoot at, kill a harpy...nothing like shooting a running victim JUST as it is about to get to safety. The mortar then targets the Gobbo Guard who are 1 turn away threatening the flagellants, killing 6. In the combat, The handlers manage to kill 1 flagellant who in return (with re-roll to hit and wound) slay the mighty hydra and hold its head(s) up high. They then soo caught up in their celebrating that they only overrun 2 inches. The other cannon dies and the shades over run 6.
The shades charge the cannon and the harpies run off the board. The lvl2 passes a strength test and hops out of the spears as their demise + the lvl2 would lose the game.
The Gobbo Guard swift reform into a single line and get +1 attack from the cauldron. In the magic phase, soul stealer is unsuccessfully cast on the halberds. Shooting results in the pistoliers being wiped out-Sisters hold the line, and 4 flagellants dying. In the combat, the mortar crew are not completely wiped out, but are run down anyway, the shades copying the flagellants and moving 2 inches.
The Flagellants, sensing a trap, declare a charge on the xbows who flee. THey then try to redirect into the Gobbo guard, but the distance is too great and they stumble forward in an intimidating way. The stalemate is then ended with the Sisters throwing themselves at the Blackguard, giving Valten room to launch on into the spears.
So the Black Guard charge the other horde of halberds with +1 attack. IF they can break that unit, then they win the game. The xbows rally. The Cauldron moves to block Valten's valiant men.
in an 11v8 magic phase, Soul stealer and Black Horror are stopped, letting bladewind through, which kills 5 halberds from 11 attacks (thank you pha's). In the combat, the Black Guard kill 14 halberds who kill 10 in return. They pass a nail biting steadfast test.
So what to do? Valten and his men + feeling left out W.Priest charge the Cauldron. The Flagellants also launch themselves at the Gobbo Guard.
With the power of pre measuring, the lvl4 can buff all combat units :D
I the magic phase I get a big speed of light off with pha's failing to cast. The xbows, now with a target to shoot, kill 2 shades who hold.
In the combats, the Flagellants blink and the Gobbo guard are gone! The Halberds wipe out the Black Guard, while Valten, the W. Priest and 4 trusted lieutenants kill the bodyguards of the cauldron. The Hag cuts down 3 halberds in return and holds her ground. As the dust settled, the Dark Elves realised they had no fortitude, stopped fighting, shook hands with the Empire troops and left the battlefield in an orderly manner.
So a convincing win for the Empire. I lost my chaff and artillery, which was to be expected, and held all my banners. There was no "turning point" per say, just 2 really unfortunate IF's in the first turn. If the lvl4 had stayed a lvl4 my magic defence would have stopped most of the magic as it usually does. However, the unknown that is the power of darkness would have been an interesting mix into the equation. Losing the lvl2 was the real blow as it meant no scroll. Though looking at the report, the only "scrollable" phase was the 12 dice phase which didnt really matter as I only got pha's off. Having Hatred really gets around the pha's issue, so not much gain if scrolled it. I guess one of the nets could have been scrolled.
As usual my defensive style of play paid off. Only my flagellants crossed the half way line intentionally. Instead of taking the initiative, I seek to control it through consequence of action instead application of action; gotta love chaff.
Anyway, we played 3 games in the weekend, and the 3rd game I use a COMPLETELY different play style...stay tuned!