Monday, 30 June 2014

Kill The Dead: Warriors of Chaos vs Vampire Counts

It's All Skype F(r)ight Night!


Stay Down

In the Plain Corner! It's me, General Kraken, with a relatively standard selection of my sloggy footmen. 

In the Bold Corner! It's General Kasfunatu.

Kas gave me a random table to roll on to see what I'd be up against, and I scored a fight with his Ghoul-based Vampire Counts. Sighing, I reached for the Hexwraith countermeasures. 

Of which there are none. So an experimental army instead, several small chaffy units of naked marauders that I hoped to use as redirective cannon fodder, a chariot, some buffed up characters and warriors and a unit of Khornate Chosen. Plus loose change - so I've got lots of units, but they're all quite small. I'm not totally sure MSU is a good look for Chaos, but who knows! 

  • Luks Mortis, Chaos Lord - Scaled Skin, Soul Feeder, Crown of Command, Tormentor Sword
  • Thanator, Exalted Hero - BSB with the ever popular Banner of Discipline
  • Karaktar the Assassinator, Chaos Sorcerer - Level 2 lore of Death, barded chaos steed, chaos familiar, opal amulet, charmed shield, gold sigil sword
  • 10 Chaos Warriors - Marks of Slaanesh, shields, Lichebone Pennant
  • 10 Marauder scum - Naked
  • 10 Marauder scum - Also Naked
  • 10 More Marauder scum - Birthday Suits
  • 1 Chariot
  • 10 Chosen of Khorne - Marks of Khorne, shields, Banner of Swiftness
  • 1 Warshrine
  • Chaos Spawn of Slaanesh

I had delved in to my pile of unplayed 1600 pt lists and ended up with one of the undead lists. I think I fancied the Tzeentch daemon chances (another option) but I could not decide (hence the roll)... I quite liked it as a way of choosing, I may try again on the next battle. (And when proxying it really didn't matter that they looked like).

The undead list spent all their core points on one horde of ghouls, I opted for a corpsecart (mainly to reduce the WoCs casting ability rather than the ASF boost), then a minimum sized units of bloodknights. The blood knights were joined by a vampire, I had a lone vampire on a hellsteed for character/chariot hunting, and a vampire lord with the ghouls.

Death By Proxy

  • Lord Varys, Vampire lord lvl3 lore of vampire, enchanted shield, heavy armour, great weapon, red fury, quickblood
  • 39 Crypt ghouls with champion
  • Prince Fazir, Vampire, lvl2 lore of vampire, nightmare, heavy armour, shield, warrior bane, obsidian amulet
  • 4 blood knights with command and flag of the blood keep
  • Corpse cart with balefire
  • Squire Horax, Vampire lvl1 lore of vampire, hellsteed, shield, great weapon, armour of destiny, beguile


Yes, it's swamps again. 

As the away player, Kas chooses the north edge. It's a pretty symmetrical table, but his fence is a bit further in and closer to the Arcane Ruin on top of the middle hill. 

I deploy first, but my heaps of marauder chaff allow me to get a good look at where the smaller Vampire force is coming from. I place the tougher infantry where they can prepare a reception for the ghouls, with the chariot and the sorcerer out on my left wing. Two units of marauder dregs and the chaos spawn can try and slow the Blood Knights for a bit, and good luck to them. 

Three Death spells gets me Doom and Destruction, Caress of Laniph and Soul Blight. That'll do nicely, I reckon, although that's because I'm labouring under the misapprehension that instability tests are in any way related to leadership still. D'oh. 

As you'd expect all vampires switched a spell for the default invocation, but across the wizard users (a 3,2,1) I ended up with dance, raise dead and curse of years as well (not too bad).

I was always going to be out deployed given the WoC's MSU approach, so I opted for the ghouls in the centre, opted for the hellsteed vs chariot and the bloodknights (not caring about general's march bubble and so able to go off by themselves) elected to stay close and try and get in a dual charge. 

Vampire Counts - Turn 1

We had a plan, march forward!

The ghouls run up the hill with the corpse cart trundling behind (wow that thing is slow); the blood knights snuck in between hill and tower and the hellsteed took the skies ready to threaten the flank of the chariot (carefully landing outside of its charge arc).

I opted for taking an extra channel attempt on each wizard near the tower (not enough to even risk a miscast) then tried to cast curse of years on the chosen... it was dispelled. Then 11 skellies rose from the earth behind the chosen (at the cost of three ghouls as the vampire lord did not quite keep control of the arcane energies he could muster.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 1

Well, they're coming for us. Writhing like a trough of snakes, the spawn wibbles forward towards the Blood Knights, and the marauders form a welcoming V shape behind. If the spawn falls, they'll overrun into one of those units in time for the other to hit the flank. If it doesn't, I'll try to get them in on either side, although it's unlikely.

Elsewhere, the chariot presents a tempting broadside to the Hellsteed and the sorcerer takes careful aim with his magical fingers. The heavy infantry stay put, casually ignoring the skeletons, but the warshrine moves round to scrape them off if needed. The Chosen had picked up an extra point of armour from their previous dealings with the dark gods, so I reckoned 2+ save (shields) would probably laugh the skellies off.

Bop! The Hellsteed implodes under a well-shot Caress of Laniph. It seems almost too easy, using my character hunter to actually hunt characters. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong. Good, my left flank is now open for charioteering.

Vampire Counts - Turn 2

Ouch, I expected the hellsteed to last longer than that! (hmmm..... see below)

So I was going to take my revenge on the spawn, and the blood knights charged in.

The ghouls opted for the long charge (they were going to walk forward anyway, and a 1 in 12 charge to get in was worth the shot... they failed and moved forward 5"). The skellies were never going to take out the chosen, but there was a chance I could do some damage and so charged in the rear.

Another attempt to cast curse of years and this time I was able to get it through, with one chosen crumbling to dust, and the general's hair going a little gray.

In combat the blood knights excelled, saving the one attack that came in from the spawn before lancing it into a squishy mess. The knights crashed through in to half the pincer of marauders.

The skellies concentrated where they could on the general, and luckily managed to chip off another wound. Even with the rear charge they lost the combat due to the frenzied chosen and two more skellies fell. But they were were still tied up.

Grey hair and wounded by a skeleton? Who is this Chaos Lord, Prince Phillip? Despite four hits, he got no kills and then failed an armour save. Well worth his points, clearly.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 2

The chariot and sorcerer buddies rumbled along between the swamps, heading for any available flanks. I didn't have a lot of other movement to do - despite what the map claims, MS1 actually reformed at this point to face the ghouls. The Warshrine thumped into the skeletons and the warriors dithered backwards a little, making a line with the Chosen.

Forgetting to dispel, the Chosen lost another to the aging effect.

Yeah, I did that a lot. On the plus side, I did give my general an extra attack from the Warshrine, but I couldn't snipe anyone because I couldn't see anyone. I nearly got Soulblight off on the ghouls, but the Vampires were still sucking in extra dice from the wizard bones buried on the hill and managed to counter it.

Combat went very much as expected. The Chaos Lord remembered that he was one and crushed a handful of skeletons; the Chosen killed enough of the others that the Warshrine couldn't reach anyone. The remaining skeletons failed to hurt anything and decided that the grave was actually quite peaceful after all, thanks.

9 marauders killed from one unit, and three from another, they were going to be running... (I might have wiped them out if I remembered that horses got to fight too!), matter not as I caught the unit on the pursuit. 6" to the shrine, 5" to the fleeing marauders, and I roll 5 on two dice... well at least I caught the marauders and it was my turn next to charge so matters not. 

(it is only now writing this, that I realise with swiftstride I should have rolled another dice... well it made no difference... thankfully).

Luckily, of course, the Warshrine had reformed ready to meet them. Mightiest of all my combat units, that.

Vampire Counts - Turn 3

Attack, attack, attack!

The cart charged the sorcerer, the ghouls the chosen and the knights into the shrine.

In the magic phase nehek was invoked to bring back the dead blood knight and the three killed ghouls... back to full strength then! Finally the ghouls got their speed up to super-human speed with a dance and another unit of skellies appeared behind the chosen again.

The sheer glee with which Kas reminded me of Curse of Ages at the end of the last magic phase was still ringing in my ears, so I got rid of that. It used up all my dice, though, hence the necromancy spree.

The corpse cart and wizard ineffectually batter each other.

Yeah, I'd souped him up with enough armour to last a reasonable onslaught. He couldn't really do much in return but thankfully did manage to pass a break test and hang on for reinforcement.

The knights did not have to worry about the shrine for long and no ward save could protect it from the high number of s7 lances on the charge. 

The chosen champion challenged, and the lord stepped forward to accept (hoping for overkill and to prevent an eye of the gods); he did not disappoint, scoring the max +5 overkill. The ghouls split attacks as best possible to BSB, general and unit, but mostly failed to get through armour. A couple of chosen fell, but far more ghouls did (12 before combat res, and 2 more during).... this was not going to last long.

Even better, the Chaos Lord hoovered up a couple of souls on his romp through the ghoul ranks, so he was back to full wounds! Ghouls have souls - who knew.

MS1 is still out of sync here, they should be facing the Ghoul flank as noted above. 

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 3

Counterattack, counterattack, counterattack!

The Chariot mowed over the corpse cart, smushing it with impact hits before anything else could happen. Which was nice. Safe to cast once more, the sorcerer got Soulblight off on the Ghouls with enough power that the Vampires couldn't stop it. Hee hee.

As the Warriors and Marauders closed in on the ghouls, I reckoned I was going to romp home. But there was still a problem - I had to declare a challenge with someone, and that Vampire Lord with his big two-handed sword and furious red mist was looking like quite the problem child. I called him out with the newly-arrived warrior champion, but I got connected to a ghoul instead.

At least that was a quick bit of glory from the gods (extra T), and the Vampire Lord was down the wrong end of the Chosen unit to reach any of my characters, opting instead to kill several more Chosen. Not as many as he hoped, though, the nerfbat had hit him along with the others.

And so it proved - some wounding later, the remaining eight or nine ghouls just about managed to scrape a single dead Chosen between them. There were only three left, but I'd still comfortably obliterated the unit. Resolution shattered them...

And the general crumbles to instability... eep! Kraken tried to offer solace by asking if I am sure that the vampire dies too (I am pretty sure he does); he says we can look it up later and play on (I am pretty sure he dies); I suggest that we take him off as that's the way I always play.... This was correct, he crumbled. I would have felt horrible if I had taken up this reprieve to find out that he should have been removed as I thought.

The blood knights are immune to the death of the general, but four of my summoned skellies lose their coherence and bones clatter to the floor.

I reformed everything to face the Blood Knights, which meant the Chosen (three of them, the wounded BSB and the General, who'd managed to pick up another wound from a ghoul somewhere) were in front. Hmm.

Vampire Counts - Turn 4

I am debating bottling it at this point; but I might as well play on; and the blood knights do what they do best and charge the unit of chosen.. there is only 3 models, the BSB, standard and general.

Pausing for a moment to cast curse of years on the chaos warriors, they hitch their lances and attack. Two blood knights fall but the not before deposing of the chosen and their general. Eyeing up their next speed bump they overrun in to the marauders who unarmed and unequipped probably won't take a full on charge from blood knights.

Old Chaos Lordy managed a particularly spectacularly whiffed combat for the second time in the game. Challenging the enemy BSB (I needed a challenge somewhere), he got five out of his six hits and then failed to wound the bugger. And got a lance all the way through his spleen for his troubles. Idiot.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 4

The sorcerer tries various shenanigans, but none of them work. He can't caress the Vampire Lord because he can't shoot the spell into combat. So Kas generously allows me to cast Doom and Despair on the knights, after which I manage to cast Soulblight. Gah.

True to expectations, the marauders don't do especially well against the knights. I brought the Warriors in, to hit the flank of the assisting skeleton unit, but they get all girly and scared of the skeletons. The net result (Marauders: 0, Knights: 9; Skeletons: 0, Warriors:3; Partick Thistle:2, Celtic: 3) means they get driven off and run down. Not that they could really offer much else at this point, of course.

In positive news, the remaining marauder unit rallies. A long way away.

Vampire Counts - Turn 5

It's 50:50 Kraken says as to whether I can charge the chariot, we roll and I can't. Then he says, yes it was close, you were only over the back of the base, and then decides that if I can clip the base I can charge... so I do!

Tricky call - the chariot was dangling over the edge of my impromptu hill, which made it quite hard to judge. I couldn't quite say if the line of sight arc touched the back corner or not, it was perhaps on by a hair. After lucking out of the charge on the roll, I talked myself round - better to err on the side of optimism I felt. My chariot disagreed.

Hello flank of chariot, hello s7 lances: bye bye chariot.

There is only the sorcerer on the field to worry about, the naked marauders in the corner are too far aware to be concerned by.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 5

Hey, those are some pretty badass naked marauder scum. Don't count them out just yet.

Nor the slippery sorcerer, who trotted directly between the two undead units and out of their line of sight, bringing his steed to bear on the pale-faced Vampire.

Curse realization 1 of 2: Oh...  so the curse is 2d6-S not 2d6.... okay, so you only get 2d6-3 this time not 2d6 hits (huh, my hellsteed might have had a better chance if I had read that I think)... at least I have a 2+ ward to ranged magic on the blood knight leader this time.. I don't die.

Yeah. Vampires always have pale faces, I should have remembered.

Vampire Counts - Turn 6

The skellies stay behind the sorcerer, potentially blocking a march, and turning to snarl at the marauders.

The blood knights turn tail and run for the corner, they can't face off against the sorcerer this turn, have no way of killing him, and so hope for the safety behind the hill.

On the retreat the wizard casts invocation and another vampire knight returns to the fray.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 6

Come back here and take what's coming to you, you yellow bastards!

Passing the march test, the sorcerer canters off behind the Vampires. This leaves him right on the edge of the arcane ruin, so I siphon as much magic in as I can. It's not very much, but enough to hurl a final gentle caress after the vampire chicken. It hugs a wound off him, but that's not much consolation really. Especially as I've picked up Curse of Years in the last round and lose a wound myself.

Curse realization 2 of 2: Oh...  why did I subtract 3?... Vampires are strength 5... 2d6-5! 
OK, let's rethink... 2d6-5 hits, then 4+ to wound... my hellsteed who took 7 hits, hurting on 4+ (4 of them) and saving on 4+ (2 of them) and died - would have still been around if he took 2 hits as he should have... my own fault, I was in charge of rules and spells!


1231 (Kraken) vs 1567 (Kasfunatu)


That was close, and tough. The corpse cart was wasted in this list. The blood knights are squishy (when you get through their armour) but are awesome on the charge, and the fact that they never were in a round of combat that they did not charge shows their power. 

The Chosen managed to take a few with them. Because Khornate Chosen with 2+ saves are awesome! Better weapons might have helped, but then I think I'd have lost more against the initial ghoul rush.

I lost some, but brought back through invocation a few times. I would worry about an archery army and sheer wait of attacks getting through.. I will look to potentially increase their size. They were 300 of my rare allowance, so I could add a couple more in 1600... but I think I will look to try them again in a bigger game.

I am not sure the ghouls worked that well as the big horde against the warriors. I think skellies and a small unit of ghouls may have been more durable, but whatever I took was going to struggle with their armour.

I had great plans for the hellsteed and lost him to my own stupidity in not reading or going through rules properly and only have myself to blame.

Oh come now, I like to think I helped a little in my own small way. By also not knowing any of the rules properly. I forgot the Warriors were Slaaneshi, so they wouldn't have failed the fear test against mere skeletons. Not that it was likely to turn that combat, mind.

He was probably dead, but I think he would have survived the first spell, and then I expect died to you in combat when he realised he could not hurt you... so I expected the same outcome, but with occupying you for a turn.

There might be a case for MSU Marauder flak, but I certainly didn't make it here! The points would have been better on a single tooled-up unit, or probably a second warrior unit instead. Lesson learnt and now underlined - marauders need gear against most opponents. Might be useful against Skaven, Empire, or other similarly crappy line troopers, but not here.

I am, however, privately counting this as a win. I wasn't tabled! So I'm improving.

It was close.... both ways.... 

Eye of the Gods

Looking at Kraken's point of view: I would have swapped the doom and darkness for spirit leech. Whilst the leadership -3 would make a difference if my general crumbled it was really not great against the vampires most of the time; whereas spirit leech if targeted at the non-lord vampires would have a been a roll off with a +1 wound advantage.

Yeah, I realised that afterwards. Stupid really, it's also a very cheap spell to cast. If I'd had that and Caress in volleys, I'd like to think that I'd have done for the Hellsteed anyway despite the rules misalignment! The sniper sorcerer is a definite goer, I'll be remembering him.

I don't think there was much to do differently as the WoC once in the game. However I think the pincer on the blood knights was the wrong move, they were doomed to face that charge, and could have forced the knights to face the wrong direction, rather than allowing me to tear through and into the shrine.

Very much so. The problem was more in deployment, though, they should have been further apart or actually placed with a better idea of what to do with them. All those units to place, see, it addled my mind.

Another good learning experience, though, I'm starting to get a much stronger idea of what to pick and how to use it.

Indeed, yes I took a lot of undead XP too; and have some thoughts for my next game and what to tweak.

A slight pause from me, I'll be away on holiday for a bit. Back in late July with another battle report!

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