Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Sword of Anti-Wood elves...a lament for the fallen

So having taken down the slimy undead with the High Elves and the Empire on home turf, I figured it was only polite to check out Ryan's gaming pad with an expeditionary force. Ryan has given me prior permission to whine about how "broken" stuff is and how much he cheated and then (successfully) tried to bribe me with peppermint tea and brownies.

Anywho my list:

Highborn: Ogre Blade, Stone of Rebirth, AoN                        240
Lvl4: life, Rhymers Harp, Dispel Scroll                                      350

BSB: Silvered Steel, Luckstone                                                   140

32 Eternal Guard: FC-MR(1) banner                                          429
16 Glade Guard: m-SB-flame                                                     220
14 Glade Guard: m                                                                       174

5 wardancers                                                                                 90
5 wardancers                                                                                 90
5 Wardancers                                                                                90

Eagle                                                                                               50
Treeman                                                                                         285
5 Way Watchers                                                                           120
5 Way Watchers                                                                           120


SO a winter themed list for a very, very wintery evening. The Internetz has told me that wardancers suck and Eternal Guard are a waste of naturally I decided to try them out. Hopefully you can see from the list that I was going for a "current meta" style list as described by Pete on fields of blood the other day: big points sink that is hard to move (Eternal Guard "death star") with lots of little super hammers worth nothing (the rest of the stuff). Though I have pre-empted the current meta change with Mr(1) on the Eternal Guard to give them a 4++ vs direct damage stuff.

Ryan's list:

Vamp lord: lvl4, earthing rod, sword of anti-heroes, 4++, Quick blood, red fury

2 wightKings on horse-defensive builds
Vamp lvl1 on foot with 5 attacks (so prop 2hw) and the book of free vanhels
Necro lvl1: scroll

23 zombies: m, sb
40 something zombies: m, sb
30 something skellies: fc-board and sword
2x10 doggies

10 black knights: fc-banner of the burrows
2x1 spirit hosts
corpse cart

2 varghulfs

A much scarier build than his previous list.

We rolled up blood and glory and deployed. We ended up looking like this after vanguard:

I went for a defensive position. My flaming gladeguard are in the complete wrong position-but I was covering the easy approach for them and  deployed before the varghulfs. Bit of a mistake on my behalf, but not the biggest I made all game. My way watchers are placed to get within range of knight bus turn 1, but as you will see, the right unit of way watchers should never have been on that side of the board when there was an easy banner in the 23 zombies on the other side that 16 Gladeguard + 10 waywatchers could have easily dealt with.

Anyway. I got first turn.

Turn 1:
I started by consolidating my position. With 3 wardancer units I knew I had to get the charge for them to be effective. But I also knew that the generous forests on my side (Ryan actively chose other side of the board) gave me a defensive bonus if I needed to anchor my flank...
My first turn of movement looked like this:

Treeman and Eternal Guard have moved up to present a solid line. Archers are slightly further forward to get s4 on doggies + give plenty of flee room. Eagle is behind because it was cold and I wasnt thinking right-but has re-rolling ld10 for any panic so pretty safe.
The waywatchers on the right found themselves in an awkward position because I couldnt get them within KB range of the black knights without being in LOS and awkwardly close to the doggies. Really should have pre measured that when deploying-but had to deploy before vanguard so forgot the anticipate that.
Magic resulted in 6 dice vs 5 that were all thrown at dwellers on the skellies that was dice dispelled (only JUST got 21).
In the shooting I didnt KB a knight-but he rolled two 2's for armour save.... Glade guard opened up on left doggies

and glade guard + waywatchers opened up on right doggies

So the Vamps get their turn and shuffle up. The left doggies pull and crazy long charge on the watwatchers (I held being a little too confident he wouldnt kill enough to pull me out of the forest and lose stubborn...). The corpse cart charged the right waywatchers as I expected it to-fled, but forgot to take into account the doggies getting the charge too = off the board. Silly, silly, silly me.

magic results in a million dice vs not many (bit of a theme all game tbh). I let him cast invocate and raises all bar 1 doggie back -though right unit cannot put back rank down due to varghulf being too close...and 16, yes 16 extra zombies for the massive unit. I then throw all my dice to stop vanhels and (of course) fail meaning the board looks like this:

In combat he kill enough to pull me out of forest, but I killed a fair few myself and held without the stubborn HA!)

Turn 2:

SO my turn. First off my left wardancers charged front of doggies seeing a sweet overrun into uber zombie block. Wardancers next to it charged into skellie block, wardancers on my right charged flank of doggies as the reform meant I could swing into forest for stubborn. I then had a massive choice to make. Stay still and get charged, or charge. I opted for charge the black knights for a number of reasons:
1) why not
2) meant I determined who the black knights were in combat with
3) with the alignment of my highborn to his vamp I could protect the unit by challenging with highborn because I determined the line up
4) I wanted to see what the Eternal Guard block could do
5) was still a little peeved at losing the waywatchers and botching deployment.

however I didnt need to put the treeman in as well. I was a little nervous counter charging with the treeman into the skellies and the Eternal guard into the black knights because if the Eternal Guard failed the charge = bye bye my entire line. If treeman makes it to black guard and eternal guard fail = chancew to hold it up.

However looking back at it, the correct answer was to dump the eagle in front and wait a turn. Instead the eagle moved to sqeeze in the skellies (poorly I might add).

magic phase was another dud. 6 dice vs 4 I threw 3 dice at throne-all dice used to stop. Then 3 dice flesh to stone-scrolled grrr. If I had moved defensively and waited a turn I could have used flesh to stone as a deterant to force aa bad move-but oh well.

Shooting was another dud. 2 wounds on a Varghulf! the flame unit had failed swift reform, so did nothing.

In combat. I killed right dogs and reformed to forest. Killed left doggies for the loss of 1 wardancer-overran and came 1 inch short of zombie block-so no s4 for me. Completely forgot the KB the vamp (what an off day) and died to the vamp alone. In the uber combat I quickly realised putting treeman in was a BAD idea due to sword of anti heroes making vamp lord s8 8 attacks with ASF and get the extra attack thing. 8 attacks didnt take down the treeman-but the next 5 did. my Highborn clearly a little shaken then hit the champ in challenge once and failed to wound....and took a wound back as a result. I did however kill some of the black guard with the BSB and r&f-even though only had first 2 ranks. Still lost and held.


Well-what to do. Corpse cart charged the wardancers in forest

and varghulf flanked the eternal guard

Skellies were a little stuck because their tail was too long and zombie horde charges wardancers


spirit host waltz's into the gladeguard.

another stupid big magic phase and he IFs invoc (only 9 more zombies, all wounds back on varghulf, all black guard back) and loses rest of dice. small explosion one later kills 2 knights, fails to wound vamp, takes wound off highborn and kills a few Eternal Guard.

In combat Ryan realised he forgot to reform end of last phase and the vamp lord is left looking silly as in B2B with highborn who is in challenge (finally kills champ...). I kill a few and we DRAW the combat. Musican stops black guard crumble, but his varghulf suffers yet ANOTHER wound and my muso gets out the vavoozella and drones out the commentary.

corpse cart does nothing to wardancers and we draw. wardancers vs zombies. Extra attack dance = 6 attacks on neco (2 hits) and 6 on zombies (1 hit). Kill necro and 1 zombie and hold out of embarrassment.

Turn 3

What to do? Shooting kills a number of zombies from the small unit. magic = snake eyes = t5 Eternal guard. In combat t5 actually helps as only the vamp lord is killing (very efficiently I might add...). By the by my Eternal guard are killing 2 black guard/turn which is awesome. Wardancers vs corpse cart is another stalemate and wardancers vs zombies = 6 dead zombies and 2 more crumble.


More killing of eternal guard by vamp lord. Highborn celebrates 2nd wound on witeking only to learn they have 3 wounds...BROKEN.

2nd vargulf decides to join in the fun the spirit host is having and gets into the glade guard.

turn 4

Not much to report except I fail to get flesh to stone off and vamp kills everything else-I run and we call it.

End result: very dead woodelves

Wrap Up:

My primary interest going in was to see the durability of wardancers vs masses of chaff and I was impressed however t3 is a concern and they were killing zombies. They also killed a a necro-meaning there was a fair points swap of necro for 1 unit of wardancers. Forgetting to try KB the vamp was a little dumb, but hey I was cold and distracted. 

2nd interest was to see how well the Eternal Guard star would do. s8 8 attack quick blood, red fury vamp aside they did remarkably well and I see their point holding abilities-especially when t5 with 5+/5++.

If I was to play the game again I would have put the waywatchers in a position to threaten the 23 zombie unit and swapped the glade guard  units around. I also would have waited a turn to charge to charge the black knight bus...sit in forest, charged treeman into the skellies to support there instead (would have most likely killed the vamp putting much casting pressure on the lvl4).

I also saw potential for attack allocation mayhem. With the vamp lord where he was, and having only 1 spot he could move to (next one along). If I had then moved my champ I could have wasted another round of his attacks. 8 wounds on champ = 1 extra attack as no challenge.

Is this the best woodie list? No
Is it a list that could do well? probably, but need a few more goes at using it. Not a top 10 list, but a reasonably competitive list that will cause problems for some armies. Only problem I see is that to play it well = to play very, very defensively = could get boring. Also dwellers FTW much? Random deployment could also cause major issues as a lot of the list strength comes from the treeman anchoring the Eternal Guard flank.

Im not actually sure what I would change other than maybe playing with the glade guard sizes. They are "easy" points to take. Might experiment with 3 units of 10 and drop luck stone from BSB to get 3rd muso. smaller units = less points to give away. Also might try list with beasts. I can see the Curse being very useful to support the Eternal Guard-along with character buffs and wildform (obviously). Wildform could also give the wardancers a bit of punch-though I would probably need to get a unit or two of dryads into the list to best benefit from beasts. Obvious drops are the wardancers-but could also play around with glade guard numbers too.

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