As promised to Ben, I have TWO battle reports from a good day's gaming with Ryan...I think I might need to come up with some fluff for my army being based on the border with Sylvania given all the Vampire action it has been getting recently (not in THAT way...).
Anywho, the list I used:
Alector the Art Collector: 228
Bsteed, HA, sh, Dhelm, COC, 4++, biting blade
Bogan lvl4: 200
Bsteed, FPA, sh, Sword of Anti-Heroes, pofool
FPA, ch.shield, DBGem, Somight
Engineer: LA 66
lvl1: light, scroll 90
13 ICKS: FC-Sodiscipline 370
5 Knights: m 120
10 archers 70
5 archer detach 35
5 archer detach 35
2 cannons 240
5 Dgriffs 290
Vs the Vampires who looked something like:
Vamp lvl4 on horse with sword of anti-heroes, 4++, earthing rod, asf, red fury.
Vamp lvl1 on foot with 3+as, sword of might, luck stone, red fury
2x25 zombies with banner
30 ghouls with champ
2x1 spirit hosts
13 Black Knights: FC
So basically a knight bus, 3 monsters, lots of chaff and some blocks.
GAME 1: Meeting Engagement
woot-the 3rd time in a row Ryan has played this mission-meaning I had to be on my A-game. I won the roll off so deployed first. My deployment looked like this:
...yeah. Demigriffs, 1 cannon, engineer, Stank and ICKS all decide to do a no-show...
The Vamps on the other hand had a more exciting deployment with only 1 unit of zombies, 1 unit of dogs, 1 spirit host, and a vargulf off the board...there was still enough left to deploy end to end across the board!
Going first was useful as it meant I could get my army on the board! The left corner did a bit of a rejig as I used my newly mobile mages to get within 24 inches of the knight bus to threaten searing doom (and final transmute) , while my captasus moved to counter the doggies that could rip through my back line.
The rest of my army appeared-the BSB and Art Collector hopped into the ICK bus, the dgriffs came on next to them while the stank came on perfectly lined up for max cannon shot at Terrorgiest. Now we had to check the armybook about this one. We knew the stank was to come onto the board in the "remaining moves" section-so could not use any steam points to move, but declares steampoints at beginning of the turn-rules don't state that the Stank has to be on the board to declare steampoint use. So I declared 3 (for max cannon range).
Magic phase gave me 7 dice, and Ryan 6 dice (2 channels). I ummed and ahhed, measured stuff, muttered tactics under my breath, lined up cannon shots, put the LOS angle tool down in front of a few units to see my options. After all this much consideration I tactically decided to pick up 6 dice and cast Final Transmutation....drawing out the scroll. Shooting my shooting phase was awesome. Stank misfires (taking 2 wounds), cannon that could fire rolls a 1 to wound the Terrorgiest, but my archers kill 2 doggies! I guess my metal mage had been doing some alchemy and had used the rule of equivelant trade (further evidenced by all the homoculus/undead walking around...)
So onto the Vamps. The shot up doggies move forward with Vargulf close behind.
Oh the other side the Black knight bus moves up (and then vanhals forward a bit after pic taken). Terrorgiest, surprised that it has lived, moves to counter stank and have a nosy at the Demigriff flank.
Magic results in IF vanhels (1 knight dead) and not much else. Shooting phase (yes, Vamps now get one) saw the power of the Terrorgiest. I had to double check the Empire armybook because the Stank is now ld7 = 9 wounds from scream (+ the 2 already taken form cannon misfire) = Stank taken off the board to much yelling of "TAKE IT OFF!"
So with my Stank first late to the game, and then screamed off the board + the knight bus wanting to punch through my lines I had to think fast and carefully. Looking at the situation I saw that my ICK bus had a reasonably risky charge (needed an 8) on the flank of the spirit host that was blocking my Demigriffs. However this charge would either a) result in an overrun into the terrorgiest leaving the Demigriffs free to tackle the blackknights, or b) a sweet combat reform to threaten the flank/rear of the black knights (depending on how they acted). I took the risk and made the charge!
On the other side, some of my archers moved to delay the ghouls from eating their way through my artillery. Captasus charges into the doggies with a sweet overrun into vargulf. My Mage bunker moves back to get some breathing room (while still threatening searing doom and final transmutation).
Magic phase for me is a bit of a tactical one. I start my failing to cast burning gaze on 2 dice (rolling a 3...). I then offered plague of rust on the knight bus (:O controversial making it harder to kill with searing doom...) which was dispelled = enough dice to get final transmutation off! 4 dead knights and a nervous "5" rolled for the general. In the shooting phase I start with a very impressive arrow show that accidently kills a single ghoul. I then very tactically aim the cannons at the terrorgiest and kill it with a single shot along with a counter battery of "YOU ALSO TAKE IT OFF!". The other cannon bounces off a vargulf. The hellblaster takes aim at the knight bus hoping to capitalise on the final transmutation rolls 6, 6, 2. I spent a long hard minute staring at the dice and going over probability tables in my head and decided I was a risk adverse person and re-rolled one of the sixes and got a 1 instead of going for a triple 6. So only 3 shots...none of which hit.
In combat, the captasus passes his fear test! and kills the doggies-overrunning into a vargulf. The ICKS easily take out the spirit host thanks to magical attacks on the BSB and Art Collector. I then combat reform to option a) since the terrorgiest now has a cannonball shaped hole in its remains.
So how will the Vamps respond? Rather aggressively. The ghouls go to eat the roadblock, Who KILLING BLOW 2 ghouls with stand and shoot (well, they would have if they had the rule) before the vampire does a wee bit of overkill and cuts them to ribbons. Swift reform to face the hellblaster. The Knight bus then takes the easy option and charges the vanilla knights (who have a musician -killer of the undead).
On the other flank, one of the doggie units sees the flank of the Captasus and bounces on in.
Magic phase gets a sneaky vanhels off (IF-Vamp lord has now survived 2 Final Transmutes and 2 miscasts without having to resort to the earthing rod. However the supporting vamp takes a wound) and curse of years that kills 2 knights. Shooting phase...oh right dead turn 2 :P Combat with the Captasus is depressingly familiar-failed fear test (aaaargh scary dogs!), 2 wounds suffered, and he runs away!
Black knight bus combat. Vamp lord is feeling rather weird without his sword of anti-heroes buffs and only manages to kill 2 knights. Even with vanhels the Black Knights only manage to hit once (!), and that bounces off my 1+as. The horses on the other hand manage to bring another knight down. So 3 kills, charge and banner = down by 5...ldship 10 from general and re-roll from BSB = pass the ldship 5 test to hold! Not looking good for the Vampires...
With a quick glance at the situation my ICKS rear charge the Back knights (who had reformed deeper), and the demigriffs manage to get an awkward flank charge off as well.
On the other side my Engineer, inspired by the knights, decides to nobly sacrifice himself-hey-he has light armour so he should be sweet! The bogan mage leaves the archers who go be a stubborn trap for the zombies while my lvl1 bunker shuffles back to avoid the fast approaching vargulf. The Captasus rallies and stares down the vargulf.
Hoping for a high roll to nuke the vargulf, get plague of rust and/or transmutation of lead, get re-roll to wound on the ICKS, and dispel curse of years, I instead get 4 dice that promptly dispel curse of years...gotta love magic. My shooting phase is another hail of arrows that kills maybe 1 or 2 zombies. My Hellblaster also opens up on this ghouls. 18 shots...3 dead. And to top it all off, a cannon explodes.
So down to the combat to end all combats. The Vampire Lord realising there were only 2 knights in front of him, while a challenge could net more Combat Res, opts to challenge a proceeds to let out all his frustration on the ICK unit champ killing him 5 times over. Then I get my turn to UNLEASH the might of the Empire. The Art Collector gets distracted by the pretty tassels on the Black Guard uniforms (rare collector ed. Sylvania attire) and fails to get through the armour. The BSB completely forgets about the potion of foolishness and only has 4 attacks that also only scratch the armour. The demigriffs are up next and only hit twice and also put some impressive scratches in the armour. However then the Knights get their lances into play and all the hatred attacks hit and 1/2 the demigriff rider attacks hit (ie 1 from 2). This in turn fells SEVEN knights! For none dead in return. To add insult the horses then kick down another leaving the musician, standard bearer and Vamp Lord alive. However the weight of combat res means that the Wicked Witch of the West melts (Combat res...a Vampire's only weakness). Crumble is painful and very much swings the game my way.
Lucky the supporting vamp is still alive to save the vamps another round of crumble. The Vargulf vs Captasus fight continues with a passed terror check...but a failed fear test..and then a dead Captasus.
The remaining Vampire solo charges the hellblaster as I frantically re-read the stand and shoot rules fruitlessly for something that will let me fill the vampire full of lead. The (now much reduced) zombies charge into the archers in the forest. The ghouls reform to hopefully hold up and do some damage to the ICKS.
No magic phase (scroll) or shooting, but needless to say the hellblaster got stomped.
What to do? ICKS smash into ghouls, Demigriffs take on a single doggie and the light mage marches up to the flank of vargulf and BBQ's it. The engineer walks back to divert the vamp away from the artillery. (who dispelled a searing doom of...er..doom).
The archers heroically win combat by heaps and the zombies crumble to 4 (when pic taken), and the ghouls crumble to 3 left.
In vamp turn, engineer, zombies, and ghouls all die and we call it a game.
A resounding victory for the Empire. The first time I've managed to trap the Black Knight bus and get SCRes on my side. I felt I dealt with the chaff well considering I had nothing on the board turn 1 and a number of threats to deal with.
Lore of Metal and lore of light combo?
I'm sold on it. I never draw out scrolls early enough in the game and with this lore I have 2 spells that can do it (searing doom and final transmute). The high casting cost of searing doom is countered by the easier casting costs of plague of rust, enchanted blades, and to an extent transmutation of lead. The only spell I dont want is glittering robes-meaning I always have a spell I want to swap for searing doom.
Burning Gaze is a perfect counter spell for the lore of metal. I thought that the base fire spell would be more useful, but it cannot be boosted in strength-meaning it can more easily bounce of high strength things. The only worry with lore of light is that it means my army has "light metal" which is far too close to being accused of being a fan of Creed...
What would I change?
Only change I can see is the BSB's equipment. Sword of Anti Heroes is a nice to have, not a need to have. For the same points I can get a 5+ ward, or MR(2) for the unit. Drop the potion of foolishness for the warriorbane to keep the magic attacks (because I play VC's a lot).