Thursday, 5 June 2014

Doomfired: Chaos Warriors vs Dark Elves

It's All Skype Fight Night!

I'm not sure what I was thinking, challenging the Dark Elves. Coming hot on the heels of a sound tabling to their woody cousins last week, picking a fight with another potentially very shooty army was probably just asking for it.

With that in mind, I set about picking some solid infantry and some faster flankers. One with the inevitable Doomfire Warlocks in mind.

Courageous Chaos Warriors

Chaos Sorceror Lord lvl 3 - Lore of Shadow, enchanted shield, talisman of endurance, dispel scroll
Exalted Hero BSB - Standard of Discipline
Sorceror of Tzeentch lvl 1 - Mark and Lore of Tzeentch, mounted on Warshrine
15 Chaos Warriors - shields and full command
30 Chaos Marauders - shields, light armour, full command
6 Chaos Ogres - Mark of Slaanesh, full command
Gorebeast Chariot - Mark of Tzeentch

Yeah, we've crossed the line. Bring it. 

Is it terribly cheesy to tool up your ogre unit as Doomfire hunters? Maybe. Although I doubt it's a common tactic, and at least I have them painted up authentically. And let's be honest, they're unlikely to ever reach the target, but it's nice to have the threat on the table.

Shadow Lore principally to try and get some movement restriction (Miasma) on the table. I toyed with some shooty Lore of Fire and hoping to get the flame cage spell, but I'd rather have something reliable. I also got the Pit of Shades and Enfeebling Foe for the boss, who was also porting enough armour to be a reasonable prospect in a fight as well.

His backup sorceror, an attempt to give the warshrine some ranged firepower, rolled the terrifying Infernal Gateway spell, just about the best result he could get. I'm not keen on the Lore of Tzeentch, although it certainly promises to be entertaining. Rules-wise, I think Nurgle has all the best cards, which seems backwards to me, but hey ho.

Now let's see what I'm up against.

Dastardly Dark Elves

Supreme Sorceress lvl 4 - dark steed, talisman of endurance, dispel scroll
Master - Great weapon, heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, cloak of twilight, dark pegasus
Master BSB - Dawnstone, steed, halberd, heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, shield
9 Dark Riders - repeater crossbows, shields, command
5 Dark Riders - repeater crossbows, shields, musician
10 Darkshards - repeater crossbows, shields, Banner of Eternal Flame
8 Doomfire Warlocks - Because why wouldn't you
3 Reaper Bolt Throwers - Yes three
5 Harpies

Fielding a lot of cavalry and warmachines really plays to the traditional weaknesses of my proxy collection. The Reapers were played by a trio of Naggarond monsters - the spitting hydra, the spike-flinging black scorpion and the giant phlegm-coughing tentacled worm beast thing. Sticklers for tradition, those Dark Elves. 

Yes, here we go again. Shooty mobility all over the shop, with some really nasty firepower in the form of bolt throwers and an assassiny Master on a dark pegasus. At least I got the Doomfire Warlocks right, I was half dreading an unexpected block of Witch Elves or similar. Come back, Wood Elves, all is forgiven.

Terrain and Deployment

Swamps, fences, tower, arcane ruin, hills and paper woods. All present and correct.

The dismal swamps of K'tchnflaw remain fairly unchanged from their last appearance. Although at someone's coloured in the mire this time.

More on these later. They have issues...

I'll keep the report brief. The fighting certainly was.

For a full experience of the game, scroll through the following battle maps whilst playing Barber's Adagio for Strings at high volume, and imagine the stoic faces of the chaos warriors as they advance resolutely into a relentless wall of crossbow bolts and dark magic.

Dum derm

da derm derm derm derm derm da derm derm derrrrm

dummmm derm

da derm derm derm derm derm da derm derm dermmmm

Dum da dermmm

Derm derm derm derm derm dum da derm derm derm

Dum da daa
Dum Da Daaa



It's pretty hard to hum it, basically. 

No Retreats and No Surprises

Even winning out in deployment and first turn didn't help me. There were some cheerful moments, like the Gorebeast Chariot careening across the field for its full charge range in the second turn. It was already leaking gorebeast juice from volleys of combined crossbow and Soulblight hits, though, and the low number of impact hits (3) didn't really turn the tide any. The poisonous speed of the warlocks chopped it up before the drivers even got to swing a halberd.

Magic disappointed for me throughout. The winds were always low for me, threes and fours, and the one time they weren't I got dispelled out the door. No unstoppable forces, no misfires at least, but I don't think I got a single spell off, mostly from godawful rolling. Shame - I'd have liked to see that Tzeentch spell in action at least once.

The marauders were shot to shit by turn three; the ogres got run down after their champion was slit to pieces in a challenge by the Master on his pegasus; the warshrine got pushed away by a dark rider flank charge and although it recovered, it recovered in the middle of an open field surrounded by crossbows. And it never managed to fire its ability once in this game, and it didn't even lend its huge ward save to the rider. WHY DON'T YOU READ THE RULEBOOK REGARDING CHARIOTS AT LEAST ONCE, KRAKEN, YOU FOOL?

Obviously the warriors effortlessly bossed their two fights, eradicating the harpies without effort. But they didn't really put the legwork in against the Darkshards - clearly they'd lost interest, and weren't really trying. Two rounds of charging into combat with flight in between, and the ten crossbow elves still managed to flee a single model off the edge of the table. That's weaksauce for WoCs, that is. Expect stern talks in the team dugout.

Result: 1800: 225

Mistakes Were Made

Tabled again! Hurrah!

But, well, honestly, what was I expecting? The D'Elves can easily pick a list to run rings around my solid lumps of footsoldiers. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at how much combat I actually saw this time. And I lasted a whole two turns more than I did against the W'Elves, so I must be learning.

Here's what I learnt: -

  • The warshrine is a waste of points as a mount. The rider gets to sit on something tougher than him (although it died first here anyway) that's probably slower and doesn't really mesh well with his abilities. It's just as good by itself, and even a shooty sorceror is better off with something faster or more flexible. I think the idea of a solid shooting tower is still solid, and maybe with better magic phases I'd change my mind, but I wasn't convinced. 
  • You can't charge out of buildings, so putting the ogres into the tower for a round acheived nothing but slowing them up. Not that it would have changed much, I think the Dark Pegasus interceptor would still have caught them. Against a great weapon with that damned cloak, an Ogre Mutant is a poor bet, but it has to take the challenge thanks to Eye of the Gods. Hey ho - that unit will be back, I think it's still a goer.
  • Warriors of Chaos have leadership issues! I'm not just talking about my tactical ineptitude, and obviously having Doom and Darkness stapled to your general's forehead every turn puts a crimp in even the best. But actually, WoC Ld is very average. I still think of them as being the determined Ld 10 psychopaths of yesteryear, but I suppose that's what the Mark of Slaanesh is for now. The Banner of Discipline (I agree with Stylus, the rules on this are just broken, which is why I desperately took it like a cheeselord) helps, but you're still basically looking at either a Lord or a Sorceror Lord in this scale of game, and it's a tough coin to flip.
  • Maybe I should try and use cover more, rather than marching into the big empty centres of the table. Nah, screw it. 
  • My army is going to see this happen to it a lot until I get some faster troops in it. Hey, didn't I learn that last week? No? Oh. I thought I did. Ah well. What else?
  • Stop fighting elves. Never! Never, I tell you, not until I take my revenge! H'Elves, you're next, we're coming for you! Our general needs to complete his 'elven arrows in the eye' collection! Who will accept our challenge? *rolls double one on Eye of the Gods table forever*

What do you think, audience? Given my available troops, what should I be picking to try and make it all the way to turn six against these archer armies?


  1. No disrespect to your colandered Warriors, but I'm not wholly surprised by that outcome. Both Kasfunatu and Leofa have High Elves, if you dare to try for the hat-trick...

    In terms of how to compete for mobility, I would suggesting using tooled-up characters on flying discs, or a winged daemon prince as a speedy threat (even if it's just to clean up the war machines and deny fast cavalry board dominance). Shaggoth and Giant are also pretty mobile, being single units with a good movement. I don't think you have to match the mobility of a fast cav army (i.e. paint up 30 Marauder Horsemen), just make it harder for them to have it all their own way.

    The core of warriors seems okay, they just seem a bit isolated when all their support gets cut away. I think the chariots work best as infantry support, and there's not much here that your infantry can't handle by themselves (if/when they get into combat), so maybe they're not the best pick.

    Another option would be to just flood the battlefield with Marauders - the enemy can't shoot everything, and when your units are everywhere, they're harder to outmanoeuvre.

    But I defer to General East for tactical nous - any thoughts?

  2. I suspect Shaggoths, Giants or Vortex Beasts wouldn't do that well against the bolt throwers. Although maybe that's still to the good, that they prevent the core units taking such a hiding for a bit.

    Splitting the marauders in two or more - hard to say. It takes longer to hit them all, of course, but I think I'd be losing a smaller unit every turn rather than one larger one over three turns. They're a more tempting target as a larger points block, I suppose.

    I was outplayed very effectively as well, East's got a lot more experience than me. It showed in deployment, rules knowledge and tactics throughout.

    I know spawn are pretty crap, but I did wonder about fielding a flank guard of two or three, maybe Tzeentched up so they might spew a bit of fire. Thoughts on that, East? Would that have put the wind up you any?