Thursday, 9 October 2014

Swoffboot - Every Repeater Crossbow has its Thorn

It's All Non-Skype Fight Night Afternoon! 

I had the pleasure of visiting Kraken's home this weekend, and took the opportunity for a couple of Swoffboots (an end times battle Nagash (me) vs the wizard's league (Kraken and Stylus)) and the below Dark Elf vs Warriors battle.

To mirror previous reports, I will be writing normally and Kraken, who also took the photos and made the chronicler maps, will be in italics. 

Hello and good evening. I'm also writing in Times New Roman, because I'm a classically-minded sort of chap. 


Kraken had had several games with his warriors, but nothing over 2000 pts; we had an afternoon free from the lesser known spells of Fist and Foot of Freja and so opted for a big game. Kraken could muster up to about 4 or 5k; but we went for something between 3 and 4 so that there were some options. After a few tweaks, the battle lines drawn and the points settled on 3600.

Knowing I could field something approaching the full mass of my foot soldiers was a delight, especially as I knew I could take some hefty characters and wibbly monsters to back them up. There was one in particular I knew I'd field. I don't often get the chance, and his song keeps playing on GWFM at the moment. 

The Dark Elves

, Dreadlord
- Dark Pegasus, Sword of Anti-heroes, Obsidian Trinket, Cloak of Twilight, Brace of Repeater Handbows, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Shield - 312

Daeris, Supreme Sorceress (Lvl 4 Shadow) - Talisman of Preservation, Dispel Scroll and dark steed - 310
Tullaris Dreadbringer - 155
Avornor, Master - Sword of Might, Dawnstone and dark steed - 137
Iarel, Death Hag - BSB (with Rampager's banner), Witchbrew and Cauldron of Blood - 385
Tariel, Sorceress (Lvl 2 Life) - Talisman of Endurance and dark steed - 155
Daechir, Assassin - Additional hand weapon, Manbane and Potion of Strength - 132

30 Corsairs - Musician, Standard Bearer (with flaming banner) and Repeater Crossbows - 360
20 Darkshards - Musician and shields - 270
10 Dark Riders - Musician, Repeater Crossbows and Shields - 210
10 Witch Elves -110
21 Black Guard - Full command (with banner of swiftness and Relic Sword) - 370
10 Shades - Great Weapon - 180
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers - 140
8 Doomfire Warlocks - Champion - 210
1 Kharibdyss - 160



The shadow wizard rolled Mindrazor, Withering (both awesome in this match), Pit of Shades (hopefully an ogre killer) and a free choice, although just elected for Miasma. 

The life wizard rolled poorly. He did not cast a spell, nor were the ones he had worthwhile. This wizard was an expensive extra channel attempt; and did nothing effective all game. 

The Warriors of Chaos

Archaon, Lord of the End Times (Feat. Dobbin) - 650
Kox, Lvl 2 Chaos Sorceror (Lore of Fire) with Skull of Katam and Obsidian Trinket - 175
Dyx, Exalted Hero BSB with Mark of Tzeentch, Flail, Scaled Skin, Shield, Blasted Standard - 198
Testucles, Exalted Hero with Mark of Nurgle, Filth Mace, Shield, Enchanted Shield, Soul Feeder, Palanquin of Nurgle - 208

31 Marauders - Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Light Armour, Full Command - 310
15 Marauders - Mark of Nurgle, Light Armour, Great Weapons, Full Command - 180
20 Chaos Warriors - Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Full Command, Lichebone Pennant - 340
Chaos Chariot - 110
10 Chosen - Mark of Khorne, Shields, Halberds, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness - 295
Warshine - Mark of Tzeentch - 135
Gorebeast Chariot - Mark of Tzeentch - 140
4 Chaos Ogres - Mark of Slaanesh, Champion - 140
Chaos Spawn - Mark of Tzeentch - 70
Chaos Spawn - 50
Dragon Ogre Shaggoth - Extra Hand Weapon - 220
Mutalith Vortex Beast - 240


Archaon plumped for the Lore of Shadow, hoping for some of the buffs and hexes to screw up combat with. In the event, he got a naff selection of The Pendulum and Enfeebling Foe. I kept the latter and swapped the first out for Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, thinking that the Pendulum wasn't going to net a whole lot of Dark Elves somehow. 

My fire sorceror swapped Cascading Firecloak for a Fireball and then, inspired by its recent success against Nagash, took Fulminating Flame Cage. Unstoppable. 

I felt I was running a bit light in magic, especially against the Flak Cannon that is Dark Magic, but what the hell. A few anti-magic ward save boosts amidst the units might help, and Lore of Tzeentch had me with plenty of ward anyway. Yes, I'd take casualties going in. But that was always going to happen, and I'd hit like a ton of hammers once I got there. Archaon's leadership qualities made that much more likely to happen. 

The Chosen roll a 6+ Ward Save for their starter, which is lovely. 


Hills have pages. It's a law over here. 

Yes, it's a swamp, okay? Don't pretend you're surprised. Adding to it, though, was the new purchase of a Garden of Morr. Nice railings. 

After I took the photo, we shunted the big statue down the field a bit. We'd decided on the central hill having an Elven Waystone on it (+1 to channel) and the tiny crypt to the northwest of that being an Arcane Ruin (multiple channelling attempts). But the statue was going to be a big ominous one, with a 50/50 chance of raining multiple S4 hits on anyone trying to use either of these magical boosters.

Final Terrain

I wanted to field the elite horde with a cauldron for some time, and had decided that the best option was Black Guard. Knowing that I was about to face WoC I perhaps regretted my decision (executioners and their great weapons being a better choice), but I was not about to let knowledge of my opponent shape my list and so stuck with the Black Guard as my central line. 

The Black guard were set up in the centre, flanked by one unit of 20 darkshards and a horde of 30 corsairs (both within 6" of cauldron). 

The darkshards had found a hill to perch on and so I set the two bolt throwers up on the same raised flank. 

The Kharibdyss hid further on the left flank, hoping to skirt behind the tower in the first turn, and the warlocks faced off against the frenzied Khornate chosen (I was hoping to pull them out of position on turn one). 

My dark riders took the other flank, expecting to claim some magic bonus from the arcane fulcrum, and the shades crept out of the shadows in the WoCs rear corner. 

Deployment done, the dark riders ran for the fulcrum, and the warlocks realising that they could not draw the Khorne chosen without suffering the charge of at least a chariot and potential (perhaps their fate) in Slaaneshi Ogres, elected to bring themselves merely in to spell range. 

Purple Hearts

My plan, as ever, was to run towards the gunline whilst shouting abuse. Archaon took a meat shield of Marauders to the middle, the best place to use all his Ld-boosting abilities. Warriors and Nurgle Pack on his left, Khornate Loonies and Warshrine on the right. Both flanks were covered by chariots, with the Spawn and the Ogres facing down the Warlocks. The Shaggoth faced off against the Kharybdis on my extreme right. 

Together at last

Final Deployment

The Game

Turn 1 - Dark Elves

Dark Elf Turn 1

The Dark Elves gained initiative, so the Kharibydss lurched forward hoping to the tempt the Shaggoth that was facing him, dark riders skirted behind the fulcrum, shades approached the back of the warriors line, and the central line held.

Magic phase was a passable roll, the life wizard summoned the power from the fulcrum, daring the ancient statue's wrath. He stole a bit of magical power and managed to escape the stony gaze.

A pit of shades hit the ogres but scattered, the champion fell into the pit as another held his nerve.

This was followed up by a doombolt and another ogre fell. The bolt thrower's shot ineffectually hurting anything. The shades harassed the chariot, but their bolts just bounced off the armoured transport.

Turn 1 - Warriors of Chaos

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1
So far, so good. Okay, the Ogres looked a bit battered, but I could take that. Everything rolled forward, although I hung back a little on the right flank. I could see how that might go, with hyper-mobile light cavalry and Dreadlords prancing about. 

Magic was quiet - I only got three dice, and my attempt to slap the Doomfires with the Vortex Beast's Aura of Change fell flat. 

You've got to love a Warrior of Chaos first turn, it's so fast. Five minutes, tops, with a Grand Army no less. 

Turn 2 - Dark Elves

Dark Elf Turn 2

Wanting to protect the warlocks from their Slaaneshi fate the Kharibdyss charges the flanks of the ogres whilst the warlocks snake behind ogres and move threaten chariots and beast.

The back line of black guard, archers, corsairs and witch elves all hold, with nothing in range to shoot, they just wait patiently. The bolt throwers take down a couple of Khorne Chosen. 

On the other side of the field, dark riders and shades ineffectively shoot the gorebeast.

Well, you say that, but I'm pretty sure it had lost a wound by this point. The Ogres, or the ogre-and-a-half that remained at this point, fared predicably badly against the Kharibdyss. They at least had the common sense to outrun it, but my right flank looked threatened now. Especially with the Dreadlord on his My Evil Pony fluttering about on it. 

Turn 2 - Warriors of Chaos

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
The last Ogre continued to flee. I had nothing that could charge anyone yet, and I knew from experience that trying to pin down the Dark Riders was virtually impossible. All the same, I formed a defensive wall of various threatening creatures to have a stab at it. 

The Shaggoth pottered into the middle of the field and kept his charge arc as wide as he could. Everything else kept pounding forwards. 

The Fire Wizard slapped the Flame Cage on the Shades, but it was wisely dispelled. He made up for it by felling a handful of Witch Elves with a fireball. All that hairspray, it burns so well. And the Vortex Beast managed to force through a pretty tame Vortex on the Warlocks. It doesn't kill any of them, because of that awful 2+ ward save against magic they've got, but it does render them stupid for the rest of the game. Wow. 

It got one of the warlocks, but could have been worse.

Turn 3 - Dark Elves

Dark Elf Turn 3

The dreadlord charges in with the Kharibdyss against the warshrine hoping to wipe it off the board. 

This fails! Hurrah for ward saves, although it takes a battering and it's more due to decent rolls on the Break test that it stays in.

The shades charge the chariot.

A bunch of great-weapon-wielding dark elves from behind? No thanks. I flee. 

This is pushing it towards my lines, it could be costly if it makes it.The Shades try to hit the Nurgle Marauders instead, but fail to redirect. 

The dark riders take aim at the Gorebeast next, hoping to push it in to the path of the oncoming warriors, but it slows and blocks very little. If it rallies it could be problematic!

The warlocks nip behind the chariots casting an enhanced soulblight affecting all nearby units, and a doombolt for good measure on the mutalith; miscasting in the process and one warlock falls.

Stoically, the back line of black guard, corsairs and witch elves all hold again, with nothing in range to shoot, they stand still. The Darkshards whittle the Khorne Chosen down to four, but they're too mad to care. Bolt throwers fail to hit or hurt the Shaggoth.

Turn 3 - Warriors of Chaos

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
Hmm. Pros and cons here. 

Pro - the Dreadlord is presenting a very tempting target to my various beasties on the right flank. Rude not to take advantage of it, so the Shaggoth manages a long charge and is joined by the unmarked Spawn. On the other side, the Chariot charges the Kharybdiss. Not looking so clever now, are they? 

Alas, this means the Vortex Beast can't get in too, so it shambles around hoping to zap something. 

Con - My main combat line is about to take a massive pelting from short range crossbow fire. I don't want that to happen. I decide on a gamble.

Archaon leaves his meatshield unit and charges the Corsairs alone. 

Now, I'm no master of odds. But I'm willing to bet that his toughness, multiple wounds, massive armour and ward saves will see him through a hail of sixty shots. Once he makes it in, they'll be so much ground hamburger. Even if he fails the charge, the Nurgle unit is clear to try and join him. 

Con - Inspired by this, the Khorne Chosen fail their unavoidable charge and stumble about shouting instead. 

Con - Archaon gets shot down, because he's still affected by the Warlocks' Soulblight from last turn. 

Con - This causes the Chaos Warriors to flee, the massive armoured pansies. Whole damn game is a con. Bah. 

Pro - A decent roll for Winds! I manage is another failed Mutalith Vortex and a touch of mild glory from the Warshrine, granting my BSB a bonus attack. And then slap an unstoppable Flame Cage on the Witch Elves, which costs me a wound and the rest of my power dice. Which is a Con. 

Con - The Kharybdiss eats the chariot, taking a modest wound or two from impact hits in the process. The chariot was already wounded from a previous round's Doombolt, so it doesn't take much. 

Pro - The Dreadlord fails to finish off the Warshrine before his new Shaggoth chum hacks him apart effortlessly. I win that combat and rout the sea monster, so we're both down our general now. 

Pro - I get a shooting phase! Although I forgot, and it's down to Kas being a gent about it. But the Tzeentch Spawn throws fire all over the Witch Elves, and they're down to four as well now. 

Turn 4 - Dark Elves

Dark Elf Turn 4

With Archaon disposed of, the dark elves seize the moment to strike. The depleted witch elf screen charges forward, two falling to the flame cage - they are running to their doom, but freeing up the blackguard to charge into the woods. The shades chase the warriors who continue to flee to their homeland.

Surprisingly the kharibdyss rallies and prepares for a charge option next turn.

The concentrated fire from the archers nearly takes out the Tzeentch spawn, and the corsairs manage to wipe out the nurgle hero's protective bunker (we had a general rules question here, and in this case, messed up due to different troop types anyway - see below); with the unit killed, the dark riders shoot everything at the nurgle hero who shrugs all but one wound off.

Which, to be fair, is half his allowance. Ow. 

The sorceress manages to cast both the withering and miasma on the marauders; meaning the combat it quite short lived. All attacks are concentrated on the unit and with 20+ unit deaths the warriors were looking to insane courage, and failing were run down. 

Witch Elves vs Khorne Chosen - the Frenzy Derby. The Witch Elves chop one of my chaps up before being wiped out, they just don't have the armour piercing to do the damage. Hurrah! A glimmer of hope in the midst of the devastation!

The blackguard overrun into the flank of the Khorne Chosen.


Turn 4 - Warriors of Chaos

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4

Right, this is looking a lot less clever. 

The Nurgle Hero charges his giant mobile potty into the back of the Black Guard. Rather surprisingly, he's joined in this hellish melee by the Shaggoth, who makes a magnificent charge, and two thirds of a Tzeentch Spawn, for what that's worth. 

The Chaos Warriors carry on running, with the Shades shooting at them all the while, but the Gorebeast suddenly remembers it's right at the back of the D'elf line and is a powerful combat unit. So it rallies in full view of all the missile troops. 

Everything else tries to get as close to the big fight as possible. 

Magic, and for the first time since I've deployed one, the Vortex Beast gets a decent vortex off. Smacking a template into the middle of the Black Guard feels very good. Removing a subsequent five of them is even better. 

The combat swings wildly in my favour, in fact. Try though they might, the elite Dark Elves just can't hurt anything (although their named character easily beats my Khornate Chosen in a challenge, because I don't dare risk the Nurgle Hero). The reverse is certainly not true of the Shaggoth or Testucles, who massacre around ten or so elves between them. Okay, they get the Tzeentch Spawn. But I can manage without it, I reckon. 

I win the combat handily, removing their double frenzy. But Stubborn keeps them in play, just. 

Turn 5 - Dark Elves

Dark Elf Turn 5

The Kharibdyss lines up the vortex beast and charges in, all attacks hit and the beast is clamped by the sea monster's maws and goes down. The shades continue to chase the warriors, who having failed to rally are run off the board.

The corsairs and archers and a bolt thrower all target the gorebeast and with that many shots finally remove the menace.

Which seems a strong word for it, the big jolly coward. 

The warlocks back away from the spawn, and case mindrazor on to the depleted black guard; whilst the dark riders try to kill the spawn, but merely hurting it.

Their attacks empowered, the death hag slays the nurgle hero in a challenge and Tullaris disposes of the Shaggoth.

The End is Nigh

The End

With only a hurt warshrine and a wounded spawn, (and the the half hour warning of an interested near-2-year old descending) Kraken routed.

I know a tabling when I see one. I often see one, it seems to be traditional. And after around five hours of play, we'd both worked up a good Battle Sweat (the grimy one you get from puffing around on the floor, wrestling with rules and dice), so I reckoned it was time to draw a veil. 

Result: 597 vs 36xx

Eye of the Gods

Dark Elves

3600 was a big game, and it was good to play something big for a change, saying that given that it is rare for us to have big games, I maybe should have taken the opportunity to throw some of the big Ms around (Malus, Morathi or Malekith).


  • A horde or corsairs was great; their armour was never put to the test. Oddly I was more happy about the corsairs getting into combat than the shards, even though they would fight the same. So +1as for -12" range (but quick to fire). I might consider horde of darkshards next time instead. 
  • My witch elves were damp, they served purpose in preventing an early charge from the frenzied guard, but I could have probably done that with something else, of the ten: two made it into combat after being breathed on and flame caged. 
  • The dark riders were a reassuring unit, that did not live up to promise, they were ignored by the warriors, and could barely scratch them. I still like the options they potentially provide. 


  • Black guard were great. It was an expensive combo. Their frenzy was never exploited, they always had their charge blocked until the moment that they wanted to charge. The blackguard performed great against a basic unit, but struggled until mindrazor was cast in the main battle. I regretted not targetting characters in the fight, but with only one wound suffered and a -too-many to break taste it was perhaps the best option. 
  • I expected more from the shades, but I suppose I was trying to shoot down, or run down a tough chariot. 


  • Adding MR2 to the dark elf character and gaining a 2+ ward save when the warlocks miscast/against spells was a worthwhile exercise (although 2 still failed those tests). They were worth every penny. The mega-blight and oft cast doombolt meant they paid for themselves over and over. 
  • The kharibyss was powerful, I thought he would suffer more (only 4+AS and no ward or regen) but he survived above half wounds and no doubt earned his points. 


  • The life wizard was not worth writing about, perhaps with better spells I would have something to say. 
  • The combat lord on the dark pegasus was not geared well. He did not have the hitting power to win a fight against a warded opponent, and was not warded himself. A costly lesson. I considered Hellebron in the blackguard instead of taking a combat lord, but I would have still needed a BSB, so would have been more cost in the Black Guard basket. The extra MR would not have made a difference in this game (but I would have felt safer)... It felt like I was stacking too much together though and wanted something out there with maneuverability to deal with things (he didn't though!). 
  • The assassin never turned up, so I have no idea how effective he can be. 
  • Death hag BSB on cauldron with witchbrew. The banner I gave her was not really worth it in this match up (reroll charge) as I was holding back, but is the banner I would give a frenzied horde. I even coupled with the movement banner on the unit too to maximise the issue when pulled into a charge. I forgot the crew in both fights in round 4, and they did not have a chance in round 5. 
  • Shadow sorceress, great stuff from her, mindrazor when I needed it, pit of shades cast or siphoning dispel dice, and miasma and withering all cast... I would take again! 
  • Tullaris, served his purpose well. Once mind-razored he took out the Shaggoth in one turn, his number of attacks and hitting power were great. 

Warriors of Chaos

If anyone cares to tell me how foolish I was sending Archaon in alone, I'd be very willing to listen to them. Number Crunchers, tell me my chances. Was I really so great a fool? 

By the numbers, no. They should have got 2 not 4 wounds off you, but then my assassin would strike, then the supped up assassin would go, and should get 2. Without the assassin in there, you should have got in and done some rip-roaring damage. With the assassin: it was touch and go. With a luck roll from the corsairs: it was just "go".

If I'd left him in the unit, he'd probably have kept the Black Guard's charge at bay. Even if he'd made it into combat, he'd have taken wounds in all likelihood, and then he'd have had to deal with the hidden Assassin. It seemed like a good idea at the time, though, and if it had paid off, it would have changed the fate of that flank. 

Otherwise, I'm surprisingly happy with my performance, despite the outcome. Everything got to where it wanted to be, and most of it saw combat. And where I saw combat, it tended to fall in my favour, as you'd expect. Dark Elves can certainly deal with heavy armour from a distance well enough, but up close it's a major effort for them. 

A couple of list-building errors (two shields for the Nurgle Hero?) meant some of my protective magic would have been better placed elsewhere, perhaps. And I'd have killed for a dispel scroll at times. 

Maybe keeping the bosses with the Warrior units and just having the Marauders as big, distracting fodder would work better? Hard to say. Whatever a shooty army focuses fire on will tend to go down, in my experience. WoC don't generally have the numbers to shrug off fire. 

It took a lot of focus to get rid of the gorebeast. 80 shots and 2 bolt throwers (I think).

Ah well - wiped out again! I had a similar experience as a CCF cadet when rifle shooting. Excellent grouping, just a pity it was about a foot away from the target. 

I'm doubly pleased because I'm going to be painting all the elven pirates that just beat the carp out of me. Where's my Tau Light Ochre?

Rules questions

Shooting at a mixed unit...

I have 20 shots that hit against a unit with 10 men and a character.

My assumption was that as there were more than 5 men at point of shooting that I could not hit character and therefore at most could kill 10 men. We had a debate as to whether once we were down to 5 we should be randomising the hits, but by this point we had rolled to wound. How should this have been played?

In truth in this instance it should not have mattered as the character was a different troop type and so should have had some of the hits allocated (Kraken's choice). We did not do this, but with a 1+ save and proof from the next 20 shots from the dark riders it really made no difference that we messed this up.

2+ Ward saves...

Kraken thought there was a rule stating a ward save could never be stacked to 2+... I was playing ward save 4+ and MR2 = a 2+ ward save against magic; which I believe to be correct. Any thoughts?

I believe this is right too (although I don't like it, I reckon you should use the best one as you would with regeneration), but I feel sure I've read somewhere you can't get a pure ward to 2+ from listed effects. 

Ward and MR definitely stack... Your question if if they cap at 3+. Looking further Morathi has in her equipment items that also stack to a 2+ magic ward save, so I would think if it capped at 3+ they would not have bothered? (weak argument I know; but I was not aware of the 2+ rule).


  1. The shooting would be targeted against the unit, if those 20 shots then took the unit down to less than 5 RNF, then if you had more shooting unit`s etc those would then be distributed.

    MR does stack with ward saves, so you can indeed get a 2+ ward save against magic spells, this does not include damage from miscasts :)

    Sounded like you had a blast!

    1. It was a cracker, yes!

      Hey, our internet was okay again last week, although the minute I've said that it's gone on the blink again. But shall we reschedule that Battle for the Pass?

    2. Sounds like a plan, when are you available?

    3. Evenings are good for the next couple of weeks, really, whatever suits!

  2. Shooting: that's what we did... perfect (although as I say with the different troop type we should have been distributing anyway).

    MR: does it not? I thought that's what you were doing in the HE game; and having seen that, thought that was sensible and is the first time I have used used the 2+ against miscast. In which case an extra warlock is dead. (rolled 2 on d3 and one died anyway... and one more warlock death would not have impacted game in anyway - thankfully)

  3. That was the dragon of the world banner :) 50 points of brokenness

    1. AHHH.... ok sorry James; although thankfully not a game-breaking mistake

    2. No, that's okay. I don't mind calling the game a draw at all.

  4. Nice report - it's good to see some BigHammer being played for a change (it must help that one of the armies is as direct as WoC - a 3600pt greenskin army would be a mayhem of special rules).

    Elves and Shadow magic ... goes together like peas and carrots.

    1. It was good.
      Also stay tuned. East and I have a 2400 game lined up for Tuesday

  5. It's the Chaos Giant and the two Spawn I feel sorry for.

    ... all the other toys come out to play, and they get left in the shoebox.

    *hums the tune to The Raggy Dolls*

    1. And the 30 Khorne Marauders with flails. And the Mounted Sorceror (although he was at least on the field, proxying a sorceress. Can't tell under that hat, really). I could have really got behind a new season of Raggy Dolls with that as the lineup.

    2. I still love the sight of that (prize-winning) Warshine sailing over the battlefield.

  6. I found my half-remembered ward save rule - it's the rule for the Mark of Tzeentch, the ward save from that caps out at +3! Nothing to do with other ward saves, though.