Sunday, 19 April 2015

Woffboot IX: The Generals: Kasfunatu


Woffboot IX is officially over, and the last general has left.

I wanted to reflect on the armies and battles from the weekend, and provide some thoughts/commentary/log for posterity.

Ultimately I had two convincing wins, one reasonable loss and one crushing defeat; resulting in 3rd place overall.

The scenario:

Straight fight, four times over.
Two different battlefields:
One with a hill and building in the centre and tower in north deployment zone (Warriors/Grand Legion) and one with a swamp and forest in the centre and hills surrounding the crater (Tomb Kings/Wood Elves).


I had selected Dark Elves for the WBIX whilst packing up last year's event. As 8th Edition was having its swansong, and we'd had a few skypeboots tweaking End Times rules to a state we liked, we opted to allow End Times lists and using our version of magic/armies rules. (Now referred to a 8.5; although as a DnD player who did not go to 4th and liked the 3.75/Pathfinder more, I will secretly refer to it as Warfinder). Once ET armies were in play, I upgraded the Dark Elves to HotEK.

The embryo of the list I had been considering for DE was no longer valid as one of the heroes had been killed. So considering some of the new options (and ones which would fit into the points allowed) I spotted the Incarnate of Life (and particularly her regen bubble). Once I decided on her, I thought about the hydra (which no longer has regen and has another type of save); stacking the two could make a very durable monster. 

With the magic rules allowing the warlocks full access to lores, they were a simple addition to the list. As there was more magic dice flying around, I could not contemplate a game without a dispel scroll and so a sorceress dispel caddy was added. She'd need protection and a unit of dark riders as fast cav to provide maneuverability and missile fire made sense. 

I had to have an infantry block to provide protection to Alarielle, and it would not be elves without shooting. As the elves now would shoot in three ranks, I took a block for her to hide in/protect. 

This left just enough points for a frostheart phoenix as a decent monster, but also giving the flight needed to the army.

The Host of the Eternity King

Alarielle, Incarnate of life
Lyeecia, sorceress - Lvl 1 shadow, dispel scroll, iron curse icon, dark steed
14 Darkshards - Full command inc flaming banner and shields
9 Dark riders - Musician, repeater xbows and shields
5 Doomfire Warlocks 
Frostheart Phoenix
War Hydra

The Host of the Eternity King

The opponents (initial thoughts):

Warriors of Chaos 

I was the least sure what I was doing against this list... and it would show. High stats on units, and cavalry; with those and the chariot to squash my squishy elves, and the everchosen (in non-end time form) on his horse ready to cause carnage... this was going to be troubling.

My darkshards could only be an annoyance, and so I hoped to pick off a unit at a time with some bit monster charging and hex magic.

Tomb Kings

I was probably the most worried about this match up; I had played this list commanded by East previously using ogres and been pretty much tabled on turn 2. I was afraid of the casket (and vowed to setup with 6" gaps between units in case I missed the first turn); as well as having fear over where the entombed knights might appear.

I was going to win or lose depending on the magic phase, I'd seen first hand how quick a non-destroyed unit of six chariots could reappear, and also the devastation of penalty archery and so was going to be targeting large units with purple suns and the like whilst sending the monsters to take out the casket.

Grand Legion of the Everchosen

You'd think that given I designed the Skaven list (played using the Archaon rules, because the general could, and using official rules (not those listed in blog post) taking top two dice for reign of chaos table): I would either have a plan, or know how to exploit its weakness.

If I had a plan it was forget the (now better) random table that you can't affect and ignore the ever so nimble daemon; try and take out the cannon with the monster/warlocks and the horde with strong magic; then change my focus.

Wood Elves

I have succumbed to wood elf shooting too many times, and so whilst I know I was going to be chasing cheap points, I was going to ignore Durthu and his discostar and focus on what was chaff (points wise) but a thorn in my side.

I was pleased to learn that HotEK armies were good, and so not subject to the +1S from his starfire arrows, but that did not stop them being flaming... they had to be the first target!

The games:

Warriors of Chaos 

What can I say? I underestimated Archaon (I went up first and did not see him in other games) and the only time I faced him (in recent memory) I was dark elves, and killed him so why would I worry.... how wrong I was!

I lost my hydra early to Archaon's daemon blade and huge number of attacks, failed a swiftstride rear charge when needing 6 from my phoenix and spent a lot of the game trying to frenzy a chariot over dangerous terrain.

Apart from underestimating Archaon, and I made a couple of mistakes. 

I went for a redirect and misunderstood what I thought I had been told. The rule ended up being what I originally thought, not what I played to, and it cost me as Alarielle was overrun in to. I know now!

I had a multiple combat which I was not able to fight, but apparently this was only because of where we had put a model for ease... if it had been placed where it should have been it should have fought and contributed to the fight. One of those weird situations, went with the flow at the time, but it was the wrong call... That said I think this would have only delayed inevitable, but maybe another round of magic would have made a difference. We will never know.

This was a tough battle, some mistakes made, but ultimately one of over confidence.

Tomb Kings

I deployed as I planned, giving myself 6" gaps between most units so that the casket would not bounce, and promptly vanguarded to react to East's deployment, and brought myself within 6" of each other: brilliant!

I had a great spell to dispose of all of those chariots: purple sun; and was going to move everything else forward, hoping to charge the casket on round two with the phoenix. 

Brilliantly, the purple sun was cast, but the warlock flung it in the direction of the hydra instead; who (no matter how much regen or regrowth he has) was falling into my own magical vortex of despair.

The shards suffered badly to a snort from the sphinx in the TK first turn, but it was to soon be dispatched in a awesome magic phase which had the chariots and sphinx all but destroyed. Unfortunately combat was a wash out as again the phoenix failed to charge.... next turn. Thankfully the knights also failed their roll and did not turn up.

And indeed in the next turn the warlocks charged and took out the catapult and the phoenix the shrine, leaving only the archers and their heirophant.

Which were soon charged by the warlocks and cold hearted bird and destroyed.

It was a decisive win, but not a great game.

Grand Legion of the Everchosen

I screwed up. Several times.

Have a plan and stick to it.... But I was distracted and went for glory trying to take out the daemon. It failed badly.

I had a great moment when moving my general to a fulcrum out of charge range/arc and with all the protective boons it offered, which I forgot when I was hit by a lightning cannon.

It was a lucky shot from a lightning cannon; a perfect hit at full strength. Less than 50% chance to hurt phoenix (hurt on a 1); less than 50% chance to kill phoenix (killed on a 5); less than 50% chance to kill hydra (hurt on a 1); less than 50% chance to kill hydra (killed on a 6); less than 50% chance to hurt Alarielle on d6 (in this case 3) hits (hurt twice with two 1s!)........ Now if I knew the rules, that would mean two wounds when on a fulcrum... but I didn't so took 11 and died. I could have weathered two wounds, and then recovered by my magic phase. 

But that's the way it goes some times with luck; and if you forget a rule; you only have yourself to blame. I don't think it would have changed outcome of a loss at all, but I might have salvaged some points... as it was, as soon as Alarielle was a goner everything else collapsed in a turn and I was tabled.

It was a good game. Yes, it was a shame that the phoenix and hydra died like that, but ultimately there is an element of luck and the unlikely will happen. Up until Alarielle died we had interesting dynamic and standoff. I would be really interested to see how the game would have continued if the rules were played correctly.

Wood Elves

I generally worry about Stylus, and I know he loves Wood Elves and will know how to play them well. I'd also heard others discuss the threat of Durthu, and the wardancers sounded intimidating (but had not heard anyone complaining) but I really had my concerns over those starfire flaming arrows; and had heard that the wild riders were vicious (they were therefore target two)!

Thankfully the wild riders decided to take a scenic route round the back of a building to reach my back lines, and fast cav or not, they were a couple of rounds before arriving. So archery hunting was my agenda. Moving forward to keep the regen bubble as much as possible and shooting and firing magic to very little effect (although concerned Durthu when he thought his wood was about to attack him).

The woodelves were happy to shoot, although failing to really worry shards (thanks to Alarielle) and then the phoenix could charge. Going for, and surviving the starfire stand and shoot, they redirect to hagbane archers when the bsb flees and, accompanied by darkriders, kill one unit of archers.

Life magic flies both ways as wardancers are sucked to their deaths from the dwellers below, and then regrown from the trees themselves.

After rallying, and shooting, the riders and phoenix finally take out the starfires and bsb; whilst the wild riders are targeted by magic and shots (unfortunately with one surviving).

At one point, seeing the imminent Durthu charge, I went for the redirect with the hydra, but this time checked with my opponent what would happen and this time they agreed what would happen. When it came to it we measured and I said "don't roll a 4"; a sore point when the 4 came up... apparently saying "you need 5 or more" would have influenced the dice a different way. 

The single wild rider who made the same charge (admittedly buffed with a throne of vined flesh to stone) won the combat and broke but did not run down the hydra; who rallied and could turn to face the treeman. Shooting takes out the lone rider.

Durthu dispels the attempt to purple sun him; whilst his sorcerous friends and the rest of the wardancers are eaten by the phoenix. He then charges the hydra and becomes a fire dragon. eek.

With his new found fire breath the hydra is crisped, but now even slower to react and with no wizards left the dragon is not able to react to the magical vortex sucking him into the void (although a few warlocks are also spent in the attempt)

Alarielle regrows her losses and everything focusses on the final archer unit.

Post game chat highlighted that both Stylus and I thought that this had been a fun game. It was my most enjoyable game. 

Results: (army: me v then; BP: woffboot battle points)

Warriors of Chaos: 669 v 1457; BP: 5
Tomb Kings: 1825 v 255; BP: 19
Grand Legion: 128 v 1897; BP: 1
Wood Elves: 1860 v 470; BP: 17

Total: 42BP
Overall position: 3rd

Final thoughts:

I thought I'd built a good army, and it was enjoyable and varied to play with, with quite a lot of options: movement from cav, shooting from shards and cav, magic from cav and Alarielle and combat in the hydra and phoenix, with durability from the incarnate of life reducing the penalty of being so squishy as elves. Results showed that there are far better armies. That said the winning general also won twice and lost twice, they just lost a lot less! Interestingly Kraken (2nd) is the only general to win (ie BP>10) three games.

I feared that our BP system had unfairly robbed the only general to win three battles of the campaign win; but, on checking: using a standard VP20 system (based on a simple difference in VPs in multiple graduations) results in the same order for generals!

Whilst I have regrets against both Grand Legion and Warriors, neither would have ultimately changed the battles' outcomes. This was very much the Skaven's tournament and they were a deserving champion. Also Leofa gets to claim king for the first time since WBI which he is happy about.

With all the rumours of upcoming changes, is this the last woffboot in its current form? 
Is it a Woffboot if there is no W?
If there is one, then I have to say: I love the idea of lists by committee/volunteer and tweak, and then random assignment at a set time before the weekend. 

I guess we will wait to see what 9th does; how we feel and what changes are made in our lives and opinions.

Until then we have Skypeboots and Warfinder... I'll see you online!


  1. "When it came to it we measured and I said "don't roll a 4"; a sore point when the 4 came up... apparently saying "you need 5 or more" would have influenced the dice a different way."

    Of COURSE it would have changed the result - you don't think the dice are listening?

    In hindsight, I'm glad I failed, as I wouldn't have gone to summon Dragon-Durthu otherwise. Crazy fun game.

    Good analysis, and a very fun tournament. I think we can agree magic was overpowered, but we wanted an End Times blow-out and we got one.

    I'm sure there's a whole year of rules debates for WoffBoot X, but I think pre-agreed lists, randomly assigned, has a great deal of merit, and works for whatever system we chose.

    Thanks as always for hosting - it's the highlight of the hobby year.

  2. Anybody who turns their treeman into a fire-breathing dragon deserves anything that subsequently happens.