Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Helven is a Place on Earth: Warriors of Chaos vs High Elves

It's All Skype Fight Night!

With the temporary addition of General Kasfunatu to the Swedish Woff Contingent, it was time for some LWFB action! 

I'll be writing in normal type, Kasfunatu in Bold. 


What better time to conclude my Elven Trilogy than with a general who doesn't have any experience of fielding from the 8th Ed list? After learning so much from the first two matches, surely I'd have a hope this time. 

That'd be me then! I don't think I even played High Elves with 7th rules; and their last outing was prior to Woffboot IV. 

I decided on a fairly similar approach to my grand success against the Wood Elves. A decent unit of warriors, a Nurgle sorceror general, disciplinarian BSB and backup Tzeentchian sorceror for shooting. Plus some Nurgle Marauders with great weapons, because if you're going to hit last, you may as well hit hard. For support, a chariot, a warshrine and (making his debut) the Shaggoth. 

Nurgle wizardry ought to scare the elven toughness a bit. And weirdly, Tzeentchian sorcery makes a decent bedfellow to it, specifically to Curse of the Leper. Random strength missiles like lower toughness, and it makes it harder to give your enemy regeneration by mistake. 

Bad For Yer Elf 

Kheyslyme Py, Sorceror Lord - Mark and lore of Nurgle lvl 3, Chaos Familiar, Dispel Scroll, Crown of Command - 330
Wild Billy Tentacles, Sorceror - Mark and Lore of Tzeentch, 3rd Eye of Tzeentch, Charmed Shield, Luckstone - 180
Ordar Urdargh, Exalted Hero - BSB with Banner of Discipline, Shield - 153
15 Chaos Warriors - Full command and shields - 255
15 Chaos Marauders - Full command, light armour, shields, great weapons, mark of Nurgle - 225
Chariot - 110
Warshrine - 130
Shaggoth - additional hand weapon - 220

[Apologies - no army shots right now, we forgot in the thick of things. We played on a timer, the end point being the return of my daughter from a shopping expedition.]

For the elves I wanted to try a phoenix, and so one of those had to be added, you should never leave home without a bolt thrower, and people tell me that Eagles are great redirectors (and despite never quite managing this as successfully as I think I should - I was going to keep trying) - which meant that my rare choices were already full.

I decided that I would take one block of special troops, and then fill my core with archers (some static and some fast cav). The core was made of two small groups of archers, and a small group of reavers to nip behind and annoy. My block was made up of phoenix guard.

Whilst I did worry about not including a lvl 3 or even 4 mage, I wanted to try the new Loremaster and so although I knew I was potentially weaker in the magic phase, the options of all the CRB signatures could prove interesting, Aithlin stepped up to the challenge.

Unlike my usual Ogre/Vamp lists where taking a BSB is costly, it is far easier, and therefore even more worth their points when the hero holding it is that much cheaper - so introducing Bellas the BSB.
With a concern over magic, I opted for a second lvl2 mage; and Cluyn the metal mage joined the fray.

The International Elf Service

Aithlin, Loremaster of Hoeth - Obsidian Amulet - 260
Bellas, Noble - BSB w/banner of discipline - 116
Cluyn, Mage - lvl 2 metal, dispel scroll - 145
10 Archers - Musician - 110
12 Archers - Musician - 130
8 Reavers - Musician, Bows - 162
18 Phoenix Guard - Full command with banner of movement - 315
Frostheart Phoenix - 240
Bolt thrower - 70
Great Eagle - 50


Thinking back, the southern right flank isn't mapped correctly - the fences were nearer the deployment zone and further from the arcane ruin on the right. So the maps below often make it look like stuff was moving a lot faster than it really can. 
Here's the actual layout. Battle Chronicler didn't have the right graphics for cardboard boxes. Or General Kas.

Back on the damp damp fields of home for this one, with my familiar selection of swamps, fences, ruins and hills. A boggy killing ground with a circle of stockades, but the tower dead centre to grant cover on the approach, and an arcane ruin on my right flank. 

Kas chose his side first, taking the top edge because that's where he was already sitting. I got first deployment, and went for the infantry blocks on my right side, backed by the warshrine. The Shaggoth and the Chariot would work together to distract destroy the other side, using the tower to cover their approach. 

As noted the map is a little off, and when the reavers darted forward then put themselves out of charge of the shrine; but the intent is clear, move up and behind and annoy.

The final line-up
Good spells - the Tzeentchian was packing Glean Magic and Blue Fire, my General got Curse of the Leper, Fleshy Abundance, Rancid Visitations and Plague Wind. Lots of potential for shrugging off missile fire or turning elves into gross bags of sick, then. 

Aithlin did not have to roll, but Cluyn had to roll for his metal spells. Before rolling I declared I wanted a 5 to get the Turn to Gold spell - which in fact meant I needed a 6. A lucky roll allowed me to be excited when the 5 landed, and then relieved when the 6 did too! With only a lvl2 caster I kept the 'turn to gold' spell, and swapped number 5 for the signature.

And in real life.

WoC Turn 1

Subtle to a fault, I advanced on the elven positions with a degree of caution. The infantry dived behind some handy fences, the Shaggoth sprang like a commando into the shadow of the tower, the chariot... okay, the chariot wasn't playing the same infiltrative game here, and just jogged confidently towards the elves.

Magic didn't go very well. I got a few nice advances from the Warshrine, which Kas (knowing there was an infectious smell in the air) gritted his teeth to let through. But most of my spells were out of range, so I settled for an extra leprous point of toughness for the Chaos Warriors, and a really feeble Blue Fire at some archers that killed nothing. Content that the dying would soon start, I awaited another turn.

High Elves Turn 1

The Great Eagle and Phoenix guard paused, waiting for the oncoming chaotic forces, and the phoenix re-positioned so that it could flank anything that was going to charge the guard. 

The reavers danced behind the marauders and concentrating fire with all the archers, multi-shot thrower and reavers targeted the unit triggering a break test.... which they passed thanks to the BSB (that had to go!)

WoC Turn 2

Once more, the chariot threw caution to the wind and charged in against the archers. Everything else strode forward to close the distance, with the warshrine turning to face the Reavers in a vain attempt to convince them to move away a bit.

Magic let me down again. A pleasant assortment of new Warshrine bonuses, but mostly frustration with a low wind and some poor rolls. No actual spells happened.

The chariot rolled over three elves and hacked up another couple. But with the enemy general and BSB nearby, they weren't going anywhere.

High Elves Turn 2

Having a chariot's flank within spitting distance the guard were happy to get their halberds stuck in, and the chariot barely survived. Nothing elected to chase however and it got away - favouring repositioning to take on the shaggoth. The phoenix flew behind, ready to charge from the rear.

It was the eagle's turn to shine, and so it aligned itself in front of the warriors forcing himself as their charge target.

The reavers continued to annoy the marauders along with supporting fire from the remaining archers. The warriors and shrine were too armoured or with too many saves to waste arrows on. Interestingly Kraken would supe up the warriors to make them even less killable by arrow fire, but I was already thinking that they were unkillable, so it was a spell I could let through, knowing that (at this time) I was happy to ignore them.

Equally, if I'd souped up the Marauders I suspect the warriors would have looked more tempting. Either way, in this shooting phase the Shaggoth took a total of three wounds from bolt and arrow fire. Didn't think of him.

Magic worked well and the loremaster targeted the BSB with a Spirit Leech. His head exploded. The Metalmage tried to turn the warriors to gold, but Kraken whipped out his dispel scroll. 

WoC Turn 3

Whaaat? No BSB left? Humph.

The Shaggoth decided it couldn't take a big pack of unbreakable killy elves by itself, so decided to flatten the remaining archers instead. And if life gives you giant eagle, make giant eagleade, my Chaos Warriors always told me. So they charged that, and it rather obligingly valiantly decided to hold.

I was pleased the chariot was still alive, but less pleased that it kept running. Straight through a fence, but apparently they're allowed to do that whilst fleeing Kas told me. Always a source of wonder to me, the chariot rules, a real box of delights.

I believe fleeing troops don't care about terrain... Now you put it like that, maybe there is some rule for chariot, but as my ruling gave the chariot an advantage I don't feel any guilt if I was wrong...

My marauders, general in tow, managed to rally behind a fence after their ignominious peppering. Rubbing his cancerous hands together, the general prepared some vileness for the elves. Which never surfaced - you can't see it on the map, but the Reavers were actually out of his line of sight, so I couldn't Rancidly Visit them. I made do with granting the warriors regeneration instead.

Picking what was left of the archers from his teeth, the Shaggoth overran on to the bolt thrower crew. And the Warriors dined well on Eagle, tearing it to shreds before it got a single peck in. I realised afterwards I should have kept separate track of the champion's attacks - if he'd killed it, he'd have another Eye of the Gods roll, but it was too late. Fashioning feathery headdresses, they reformed to face the inevitable ranks of Phoenix Guard.

High Elves Turn 3

The phoenix charged in the rear of the shaggoth, which with his reduction to strength and ASL took a couple of wounds (leaving him with one). The shaggoth concentrated his attacks on the phoenix believing he could rely on his thunderstomp to finish the bolt thrower (that was until he only killed one crewman). With the rear charge and more wounds and no BSB the shaggoth broke and was run down by the phoenix.

The phoenix guard yelled abuse at the warriors (and backed up 3inches).

The reavers continued their onslaught on the marauders.

With the dispel scroll gone, there was no stopping the warriors from being turned to gold, and a lucky roll meant that the Tzeentchian sorceror became a nice statue (along with several other warriors)... enough to force the warriors to check if they wanted to stay fighting, and they ran.

WoC Turn 4

Whaaaaaaaat? My junior sorceror is now made of gold? Double humph.

Although we forgot the stupidity roll... actually considering you were running at the start of the phase there is an argument to say that you didn't need to... either way: we forgot.

The warriors and chariot rallied. On the wrong side of the fence, okay, but actually in quite a good place to start forming a decent line for a countercharge with everyone else. The remaining of Marauders backed the general's advance towards the forthcoming fight, along with the warshrine and chariot.

Magic was a fizzle - a moment of dreary arcane becalming. I still got a rather desperate Rancid Visitations off on the Phoenix Guard, but they turned out to be out of range. Just as well, as they also turned out to have a 2+ ward save against magical damage. Instead, I turned the spell on the Phoenix they'd come along to guard, but that got dispel scrolled.

There was still time to turn this around, but not much. I'd basically have to get everything bar the Phoenix Guard whilst avoiding losing very much more, I realised. A tall order, if not quite as tall as killing just the Phoenix guard and ignoring the rest.

High Elves Turn 4

The countercharge was looking threatening, and I decided the best course was to either block one charge, or force both warriors and shrine to take on the phoenix thereby exposing flanks if it survived.

The archers tried to take the last wound off the chariot with pot shots (they failed), the reavers continued to harass the marauders (there were now 3 left including character) and the bolt thrower took a shot at the exposed side of the warriors and pointlessly hit one of the golden ones. 

Again some more warriors were turned to gold, and this time we were going to remember the stupidity check!

WoC Turn 5

We didn't!

The chariot giddyupped into the second archer unit, and both Warriors and Warshine took the Phoenix's kind offer of a big scrap and piled on. Still out of range for a charge, the Marauders trudged along to support this fight if it ended up taking a while.

After a quick spot of warshrine boosting, I decided to try and curse the Marauders with unfeeling leprosy, the better to try and preserve what was left of them against shooting. With only three dice, I still managed this irresistably. +2 T still wasn't enough to save the remaining two from a colossal S10 magi-blast, and nor did it prevent my general deciding that the Realm of Chaos was a safer place to hang out in than this arrow-riddled bog.

The chariot slaughtered the archers in short order, and followed through to the bolt thrower. But the Phoenix proved a tougher nut to crack. Slowed and enfeebled by magical frost, I failed to harm it. It nibbled a lone chaos warrior away (thunderstomp), lost the combat and passed the break test. Smugly, the Phoenix Guard broke from a march into a trot, then a jog...

High Elves Turn 5

The reavers moved in case anything broke to provide a few more opportunistic swipes. I lost my missile troops to the chariot, which was a disappointment, but the phoenix had held for the guard to charge in. With a flank charge and a small flank, the entire warrior unit was destroyed before it had a chance to fight back. 

I'd high hopes for the champion to get a decent scrap in - he'd been boosted with extra attacks. Alas, the Loremaster managed to miscast something just before combat, and the resulting explosion killed the champion along with a couple of the Guard.

The phoenix and the shrine duked it out, but with wounds already caused there was no hope for the shrine (well technically there was a 1/36 hope) and when that failed the phoenix ran the shrine down and the guard turned to face the lone chariot on the hill.

WoC Turn 6

The chariot had somehow become my MVP for this game. Accounting for two and a half units of missile troops, plus surviving a ludicrous amount of missile fire on a single wound! But now, with nothing else to do, it decided to honour the traditions of its regimental origins.

Charging into the Phoenix Guard, it at least took a couple with it before my third elven tabling was complete.

High Elves Turn 6

There wasn't actually a HE 6th turn, but I imagine that they were heading to the tower for something.

Actually, I think they were fleeing the return of my daughter, who found the entire setup quite intruiging. Her stomp attacks don't allow ward saves.

 Final Score

 1823 (Kasfunatu) vs 360 (Kraken)


I didn't see it coming, I swear! I honestly thought it would be a much closer result this time. And okay, points-wise, it actually was. I killed more H'Elves than any other variety.

I would actually suggest that this is not true. Whilst points wise 360 vs HE (in a 1600 pt game) it was 354 vs WE (in a 1200 pt game) so pro rata the WE were your 'best' defeat.

But had I really taken my lessons into account from previous games?

Well, not really. Lone chariot charges aren't really tough enough to break anything more than very small units. I should have charged the other archer unit, away from the deadly Phoenix Guards, or waited another round for Shaggoth Support (TM). But equally, it helped disrupt the shooting a bit, and the chariot miraculously escaped, so I didn't feel it was entirely foolish.

Yes, I was surprised you got away with it. I have never had luck with chariots (actually, my ineptitude rather than luck) and often because I try and charge in with them... I have seen people use them well, but with the elves holding and allowing the block of elite troops to charge it should have been punished further. I would be more fearful if it had charged with one of the blocks.

Magic let me down. I should have deployed better, I should have sent the Tzeentchian into the tower alone to do arcane shooting and I could have been a lot more aggressive with my spellcasting. Mostly, I focussed on protection, and Kas could pretty easily just shoot an un-boosted unit instead.

Protection, which I was letting you have (as it was protecting warriors from shooting who I was not risking shooting) and other power dice on boosting your champions.... yes I would have felt silly if I had let you turn into a daemon prince; but it really hampered your offensive magic. (which at the beginning of the game, seeing the rolls, I was worried about).

Still, I felt unlucky with the loss of two characters to that damn Loremaster. Nasty piece, that, I'd very much underestimated it.

Not actually true. The BSB was lost to the loremaster (and a death spell) but the Tzeentchian was lost to the metalmage and turning to gold, and the Nurgle lord blew himself up.

I also wondered if the warshrine was a waste of points? Lots of lovely upgrades, but nothing that actually swung anything in my favour. More dice into Plague Winds might have helped.

It was a threat, and hard to kill from shooting (less so with weight of attacks/combat res). I thought that the chance was worth it.

Sometimes, when they come back, Phoenixes get their DNA scrambled like Jeff Goldblum (Mutalith Proxy Syndrome).

I'd rather over-estimated H'Elven shooting, was the real problem. Compared to the devastation the W'Elves wrought, or the sheer volume of armour-piercing crossbow fire the D'Elves threw at me, a bunch of S3 bowfire felt pretty tame. It showed, too, my units managed to reach combat a lot more easily than I'd hoped. Just the wrong combats at the wrong times, really.

Yes, more archers required to be effective (or perhaps a second bolt thrower; although that would mean sacrificing at least the eagle, and something else too).

Elven Triad complete! I need some help - how can I legitimately grant all my future generals Hatred of Elves using magic items or sneaky rules combos? Or will I just have to fluff it for the next Woffboot?

Eye of the Gods

Silly to try and offer advice to a clear victor. But I wondered if the giant eagle was a waste of points? Deliberate sacrifice of it seemed a little nihilistic somehow. Okay, running from a charge doesn't get most flyers very far (they can't fly and flee, the poor flustered birdies). But having them die in a turn doesn't really help either - if it hadn't been there, my warriors wouldn't have had much to charge other than a pretty long-range shot at the archers. I think another unit of archers or a second bolt thrower would have been more effective.

The Eagle Has Disbanded

Maybe, but it gave me another round to move things to a better position, attempt at getting the shot, and turning you into gold. He was a sacrificial 50pts and not a redirecting 50pts, but it did provide a one round speed bump.

I think the only move I thought was overzealous was the lone chariot charge, but in hindsight that chariot did for the best part of 310 of the 360 points scored; so perhaps it was a genius move.

Genius. Yes, I chose genius.

At the beginning of the game there was a chant of success when the antitoughness spell was rolled as well as perpetual magic missile and of course the Tzeentch spells... and I never felt the brunt of them. When used, magic was very defensive and given the devastating potential of the spell combos I think I may have punished the lower toughness elves forgoing the protection on the warriors who I was not targeting.

The shrine was fun, and I think that it was worth taking, also given the excellent conversion (even better in flesh than on photos) how could you not!?

The rallied remnants of the Chaos line prepare to strike back.

Seeing the points, I am not sure the Shaggoth earned his points (even as a distraction or as a weapon) - but like most things, it is hard to base effectiveness on a single game, and like above - good model and paint job so it was impressive to have on the field.

All in all good game, and I have added a phoenix to my shopping list!


  1. Consistent theme, familiar characters, tragic ending - everything you'd want from the third part of a trilogy!

  2. Thinking about your elf problem - perhaps the mistake is trying to match quality with quality. I wonder if the list you took against the Savage Orcs might prove more effective (nasty flying Daemon Prince, too many Marauders to kill or panic, even with repeater bolts).

    Manoeuvrability would go out the window, but you could just bunker down and lob spells from a high-level sorcerer. On that subject, maybe some of the College Lores of Magic would serve better than the Chaos ones.

    1. Either way, you've got until the WoffBoot to work it out - Dark Elves and Wood Elves have already been claimed for the next tourney and, after witnessing your Achilles Heel, I'll bet Leofa is drybrushing his High Elves as we speak...

    2. Kas and I were discussing options, and those Slaaneshi demon riders came up. Anyone got any experience of using them (or being used by them)?

      It's unlikely, as they cost money and (worse) are Slaaneshi. But you never know. I've got a few thoughts on what to try next, which your Empire army will be on the receiving end of!