Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Empire vs Vampire, no Umpire

Battle Report - Empire vs Vampire Counts, 3000pts

Fresh from my humiliating massacre at the hands of the Orge Kingdoms, I immediately put the same 3,000pt force against a Vampire Count force.


Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.
The invincible Enterprise of Campogrotta!
(your experience of invincibility may vary,
actual invincibility may differ from invincibility experienced)
Full Plate Armour. Crown of Command. Talisman of Endurance. Sword of Might. Enchanted Shield.
Wizard Lord (Lore of Light)
White Cloak of Ulric. Dispel Scroll.
Captain (Battle Standard)
Full Plate Armour. Sword of Swift Slaying.
Full Plate Armour. Shield. Barded Warhorse. Gold Sigil Sword. Potion of Strength.
Warrior Priest
Two hand weapons. Heavy Armour. Shield. Van Horstmann's Speculum. Seed of Rebirth.
Master Engineer
Light Armour. Barded Warhorse. Hochland Long Rifle
Wizard (Lore of Shadows)
Barded Warhorse. Potion of Toughness.
Wizard (Lore of Fire)
Feedback Scroll.

10 Knights of the Inner Circle
Command Group. (led by Captain)
50 Halberdiers
Command Group. (led by General, Wizard Lord, Warrior Priest)
- 10 Free Company (detachment)
20 Crossbowmen
Musician. Standard.
10 Crossbowmen
10 Handgunners
Musician. Champion with Hochland Long Rifle. (Led by Fire Wizard)
15 Greatswords
Command Group. War Banner. (Led by Battle Standard)
5 Pistoliers
1 Cannon
1 Cannon
1 Volley Gun

Vampire Counts

Vampire Lord
The Hunger, Undead, Vampiric, Magic Level 4, HA, Enchanted Shield, Fear Incarnate, Dance Book, Fly
The Hunger, Undead, Vampiric, Magic Level 2, Staff of Damnation, Summon Creatures, Tormentor Blade
The Hunger, Undead, Vampiric, Magic Level 1, BSB, Obsidian Lodestone, Ironcurse Icon
The Hunger, Undead, Vampiric, Magic Level 2, HA/Shield, Barded Nightmare, Obsidian Lodestone, Sword of Battle, Quickblood
Ethereal, Ghostly Howl, Terror, Undead,
Chill Grasp, Ethereal, Terror, Undead,
Chill Grasp, Ethereal, Terror, Undead,
Chill Grasp, Ethereal, Terror, Undead,
Chill Grasp, Ethereal, Terror, Undead.

19 Skeletons
24 Zombies
Always Strikes Last, The Newly Dead, Undead,
25 Zombies
Always Strikes Last, The Newly Dead, Undead,
30 Skeletons
Undead, Musician, Standard, Screaming Banner
24 Ghouls
Poisoned Attacks, Undead,
5 Dire Wolves
Slavering Charge, Undead, Vanguard,
5 Dire Wolves
Slavering Charge, Undead, Vanguard,
10 Hexwraiths
Ethereal, Fast Cavalry, Soul Reapers, Soulstriders, Spectral Hunters, Terror, Undead,
1 Spirit Hosts
Ethereal, Undead
1 Spirit Hosts
Ethereal, Undead
1 Black Coach
Evocation of Death, Terror, Undead, Vampiric, Ward Save (4+),
4 Blood Knights
Frenzy, Martial Honour, Undead, Vampiric Champion, Musician, Standard, Blood Keep Banner

Set up

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

Having got the same table edge as last time (once again, I lost the roll to choose), I set up as follows: Pistoliers on the extreme left, small unit of Crossbows ready to occupy the building, Shadow wizard on a horse ready to join them, large unit of Crossbows covering both approaches. On the hill, I placed a Cannon, the horde of Halberdiers (inc General, Warrior Priest and Light Wizard Lord) with Free Company detachment; Engineer Volley Gun and a second Cannon to the right; Handgunners and Fire Wizard to their right, with Greatswords (inc Battle Standard) in reserve behind them. The Captain led a unit of Inner Circle Knights on the extreme right.

On the other side of the field (right to left, from Kasfunatu's perspective) were two packs of Dire Wolves, a unit of Blood Knights, a unit of Skeletons and the Black Coach. Coming across the plain was a unit of Zombies, a Skeleton unit fronted by four Wraiths, a Banshee and a Vampire Battle Standard, the Vampire general in reserve, another unit of Zombies, two Spirit Hosts, a Vampire-led unit of Ghouls and a unit of Hexwraiths on the extreme flank.

The Dire Wolves vanguarded forward, the Pistoliers decided they wanted none of it and moved to get out of their way and the Hexwraiths moved up to the watchtower.

Turn 1

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

The Undead went first (once again, I lost the roll to go first) and there was a general advance forwards. Nothing much of not happened until the magic phase, whereupon the Vampires cast Vanhel's Danse Macabre and their four central infantry units shuffled forward again. One turn down and they were already halfway across the board.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

The Empire kicked off with a bold move: the Pistoliers declared a charge against the rearmost Dire Wolf unit, while the Inner Circle Knights charged against their old foes, the Hexwraiths.

Elsewhere, the small Crossbows occupied the building, the Shadow Wizard realised her horse wasn't welcome and sought safety elsewhere. The Halberdiers moved up to the edge of the hill, the Handgunners discovered they were a fraction out of the watchtower, and so were stuck outside and the Greatswords moved up behind them.

Winds of magic rolled low, but proved crucial. With only three dice - and the Vampires having channelled more than enough to dispel dice - the Fire Wizard managed a miscast. It took one wound off all the wizards in the army, but was a price worth paying as the Flaming Sword of Rhuin spell gave the Inner Circle Knights magical attacks against the ethereal Hexwraiths.

The war machines huffed and puffed, but could do little than knock of a couple of Ghouls and chip the paint on the Black Coach. And with only half the regiment able to see the Blood Knights, the large crossbow unit could do nothing against them.

In close combat, the Hexwraiths suddenly found themselves in trouble, and were wiped out before they had a chance to reply. On the other side of the battlefield, the Dire Wolves were also cut to pieces by the Pistoliers. The Undead flanks had been broken, but this couldn't be exploited - the Knights were stuck on the wrong side of the watchtower's fence and the Pistoliers were stuck after the last dire wolf crumbled.

Turn 2

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

And now the Undead charged. The Blood Knights smashed into the large crossbow unit, the Zombies hit the Free Company, the Wraith-fronted Skeletons, second unit of Zombies and one Spirit Host charged the horde of Halberds. The Ghouls ran at the Handgunners, who fled, leaving the nasties facing the Greatswords.

The main spell to affect the magic phase was Hellish Vigour, which gave the Undead units re-rolls to wound - something that would come in handy with so many combats about to kick off. The Black Coach also gained four upgrades in one go.

The Blood Knights didn't mess around, and slaughtered a dozen crossbowmen before running down the rest and overrunning into the poor Shadow Wizard. In the clash of the expendables, the Zombies and Free Company fought each other to a standstill.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.
Battle is joined! Who you gonna call?

The main contest began with a challenge from the Warrior Priest. Kasfunatu hemmed and hawed about accepting (taking a Wraith out of the front rank would spoil his 'ain't nobody here but us ethereals' plan), so eventually stepped up with the Vampire Battle Standard.

The Warrior Priest's eagerness to fight a challenge became evident when he revealed Van Hostlemann's Speculum and swapped characteristics with his Vampire foe. He dealt two wounds to the Vampire's one (although the befanged one did recover one from drinking his enemy's blood).

In the main contest, the Empire General stepped forward against the Wraiths - as the only one with a magic weapon, he needed to kill at least one to punch a hole in the ethereal shield, so the rest of the 50-odd Halberdiers could pitch in. Sadly, he wiffed most of his attacks and one did one wound. The Wraiths struck back and cut him down - the horde has just lost their general and their only chance at hurting the unit.

On the other side of the horde, the Halberdiers who could fight hacked down Zombies aplenty, but took a dozen casualties themselves from the Zombies and Spirit Host. Now led by the Wizard Lord of Light (who had still be unable to cast a spell), the battered mercenaries lost the round but held on.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

On their second turn, though the Handgunners failed to rally, the Empire attempted to strike back. The Greatswords charged into the Ghouls and the two cavalry units worked their way around their respective flanks.

There was plenty of magic dice, although with all the spellcasters fleeing or in combat, there was not a lot to do. The Warrior Priest buffed up the Halberds with re-rolls to wound, and the Shadow Wizard attempted to cast any old spell, thus enabling her to use the Lore attribute of exchanging places with another mounted character and getting the hell out of the Blood Knights' lances (she failed, to the relief of the Engineer).

In shooting, the building-ensconced Crossbows killed all-but one of the remaining Dire Wolves, while the war machines zeroed on the Vampire Lord. The Volley Gun sputtered out a handful of shots, but managed to inflict a wound. The Cannon hit the target, but 'Look Out, Sir' killed a ghoul instead (as if a ghoul would ever use the word 'Sir').

Unsurprisingly, the Blood Knights pulped the Shadow Wizard and reformed to tear into the heart of the Empire lines. On the other flank, the Greatswords struggled to make a dent in the Ghouls, took six or seven losses and only held on due to Stubbornness.

In the main arena, the Warrior Priest killed the Vampire Battle Standard, but the good news ended there. With the General gone, half the unit was unable to damage the Wraiths in front of them, who scythed through the Halberdiers (see what I did there). On the other side, the soldiers showed what they could do against a tangible enemy by killing the remaining handful of Zombies many, many times over. There weren't enough zombie wounds available to offset the damage. The Halberdiers failed their break test, fled just short of the table edge and narrowly avoided getting caught by their pursuers.

Turn 3

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

The centre was broken and the Undead poured in. The Blood Knights charged the flanks of the Free Company, the Wraiths charged the Cannon, which stood between them and the fleeing horde. One Spirit Host charged the Volley Gun, while another charged the Engineer.

On the far side of the battlefield, the Skeleton unit assaulted the building that contained the Crossbowmen.

Shooting and magic phases were uneventful, so it was straight to the meat. The Blood Knights hacked the Free Company to pieces, the Wraiths destroyed the Cannon, then overran into the fleeing Halberdiers, destroying them too. The Volley Gun was destroyed and the Engineer lost the fight with the Spirit Host and fled, allowing the ghosties to overrun into the second Cannon.

In the ongoing fight with the Greatswords, the Vampire killed the Battle Standard and the Ghouls mopped up the rest. What remained of the elite unit fled through the fleeing Handgunners and stopped short on the table edge, also avoiding pursuit.

The only stalemate was the building assault, where the Skeletons were unable to add the press of their numbers to the struggle and could not dislodge the Crossbows.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

In the Empire's turn, the Handgunners rallied while the Greatswords and Engineer left the table, which was probably the wiser move. The cavalry continued their long arc around the flank and everyone else prayed like hell.

The Fire Wizard threw every dice into a triple-fireball spell at the Vampire Lord, in the desperate hope of killing the general (the 'WoffBoot VI' manoeuvre), but found his efforts dispelled.

The battle for the building continued with the swindling Crossbows passing their break test to hang on in there. The fight over the second Cannon ended the same way as the first one, and the war machine was destroyed by the Spirit Host.

Turn 4

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

Mopping-up time for the Vampire Counts: the Spirit Host hit the flank of the rallied Handgunners, while the remaining Zombie unit wandered into the path of the Inner Circle Knights. Meanwhile the Blood Knights, Black Coach and Ghouls lined up all around the Zombie unit, nicely poised to strike.

The magic phase hit the Inner Circle Knights with a Gaze of Nagash and lopped off a couple of their number.

The battle for the building ended with the eviction of the Crossbow unit, who fled towards the table edge in the well-practised manner that half the Empire army had managed. The Handgunners followed suit, and fled from the Spirit Host, taking the Fire Wizard with them.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

In the Empire's turn, the Inner Circle Knights took the bait and charged into the corpse-worm-on-a-hook, hoping to destroy the Zombies outright and overrun out of danger.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.
The Empire right flank suddenly remember they've all left the gas on.

Both Crossbows and Handgunners failed to rally, and disappeared off the edge of that the table. With nothing much to do, the Pistoliers sauntered over to support the Knights, mainly with polite applause.

During combat, the Inner Circle Knights hacked down the Zombies with alacrity. However, they failed to kill the last couple, leaving them instead to wither away and leaving themselves open for countercharges.

Turn 5

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

And so the Vampire Counts did just that: the Ghouls were too far away to complete their charge, but the Black Coach (now fully powered-up) and the Blood Knights slammed into the heavy cavalry and tore them apart. Quaffing his Potion of Strength, the Empire Captain was able to slay two Blood Knights, but he, alongside the surviving two Knights, were obliged to flee for their lives.

Prior to this slaughter, during the magic phase, the Pistoliers were entirely wiped out by a Gaze of Nagash.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

All the Empire could do in their turn as rally the pitiful remnants of the Knights and wait for the end.

Turn 6

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.

More charges from the big boys, and the last mercenaries of the Enterprise of Campogrotta disappeared beneath the wheels of the Black Coach.

Warhammer Fantasy battle report: Vampire Counts vs Empire.
"Hang on lads, I've got a great idea."

Final victory points - 3250: 687 to the Vampire Counts.