Thursday, 26 March 2015

Violent Tilting: Warriors of Chaos vs High Elves

No time to rewrite!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

Is it strange to sit alone on your kitchen floor, surrounded by tiny plastic toys that are being commanded from a different country? No? Phew, I thought I might be in trouble for a moment there. 

Welcome back for the Skype Debut of both General Palafox and his High Elves, as they brave the swampy wilds of my Swedish linoleum! A simple match, with original and best 8th Ed rules and no secret boasts - just two easy-going armies beating the living kidneys out of each other in a friendly match to the bitter death. 

Kraken here, signing in with standard text...

And I, Stylus, will proxy General Palafox in bold.


Warriors of Chaos

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Chlarx Xragrlargh, a Chaos Lord - Mark of Tzeentch, shield, Sword of Change, Helm of Many Eyes
Bzran Tzarhk, a Chaos Sorcerer - Mark and Lore of Tzeentch lvl 2, Scaled Skin, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Protection
  • Glean Magic
  • Blue Fire of Tzeentch

Seemy Bannargh, a Battle Standard Bearer - Shield, Mark of Tzeentch, Lichebone Pennant
The Band of Blue Brothers, 14 Chaos Warriors - Mark of Tzeentch, Full Command, Shields, Blasted Standard
The Bluemen Group, 19 Chaos Marauders - Mark of Tzeetnch, Shields, Full Command
The Rude Riders, 5 Marauder Horsemen - Mark of Slaanesh, Shields, Throwing Axes, Spears, Musician
The Triple Threat, a Chimera - Regenerating Flesh
The Limited Threat, a Chaos Spawn - Spawn of Tzeentch

I can take only limited responsibility for this list, as it's the work of General Stylus. What with Gen. Palafox being relatively new to the game, Stylus was going to be on hand to provide tactical advice, morale-boosting banter and both army selections, for balance purposes.

And if you think the army selection was bad, just wait until you hear the tactical advice. The banter, however, was beyond reproach.

So I've got a cheery and entertaining set of ward-saving Tzeentchians to take to war. The Horsemen were supposed to be Tzeetchian too, but there was a mix-up in the list so they had both marks. I picked Slaanesh, because that's how they're painted. The refunded points were given to a charitable organisation. 

The Lore of Tzeetch has yet to disappoint me, in that I know it's going to be disappointing and it never isn't. I even got fairly duff spells - my opposing wizard was double my level, so I was unlikely to steal his spells. And the Blue Fire can be quite nasty (and cheap), but can also be useless. And cheap. Like a Tory jobhunting support scheme. 

High Elves

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Prince - Elven steed, heavy armour, enchanted shield, Ithilmar barding, Star Lance, Golden Crown of Atrazar
Archmage - lvl 4 High Magic, Talisman of Endurance
  • Apotheosis, Tempest, Arcane Unforging, Fiery Convocation
Battle Standard Bearer - Heavy Armour, Shield of the Merwyrm, Sword of Might
25 x Spearmen - Full Command
15 x Archers - Full Command
5 x Ellyrian Reavers - Musician
5 x Dragon Princes - Full Command, Gleaming Pennant
1 x White Lion Chariot 
1 x Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower


A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Swamps? Why, of course. But also a pair of ruined towers, some hills, a wood and a road. Nothing fancy, I know, but it's home. 

No special terrain rules this time. 


Blind deployment against a shooty elf line, eh? My favourite. Not knowing where they'd be, I initially fancied taking my favourite denied flank position and crawling along towards the road. But then I thought if they were facing me, they'd be all up in the towers and sniping away, and if they weren't, I'd never get to them in time for a proper scrap. So I plonked down in the middle, with the Marauders out West for potential getting murdered by missile fire flanking action.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Palafox has had some experience in playing a similar High Elf list against the Dwarves, but once he was informed about the ranged capability of the Chaos Warriors (naff all) decided to hold back and wait to counterpunch.

The only exceptions were the Ellryian Reavers, sent forward to deal with their opposing fast cavalry, and the Shadow Warriors, who occupied the farthest tower (for some reason, Palafox was very keen on that tower).

It was better painted than the other one.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
After scouts and vanguard, here we all were. 
I got first turn! Hooray! Now to hurry towards the arrows.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Keeping it simple, I marched everyone forwards. The infantry blocks tromped out with the spawn flailing along to screen their right flank. The Sorcerer and Horsemen closed the jaws of a deadly trap around the Ellyrian Reavers. The chimera took cover in what turned out to be a Blood Wood, which left the enemy Archmage rubbing his hands with anticipatory glee.

I say 'closed' and 'deadly', but as is often the case with the Lore of Tzeentch, what I really meant was 'left ajar' and 'mildly inconvenient'. Glean Magic was out of range, so I sprayed a particularly feeble spout of Blue Fire at the Reavers, killing nothing. Sorcerers, you know it's bad when you're outperformed by a Warriors of Chaos Shooting phase. The Horsemen knocked a couple of Reavers down with throwing axes, and that was that.

High Elf Turn 1

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Palafox began his turn in the traditional manner: quivering like a blancmange and blaming me for advising him.

The Spearmen and Archers angle themselves so they wouldn't get a Chimera in the flank, the Ellyrian Reavers scooted around the horsemen. The magic phase is a bust with Palafox losing concentration on the first spell (probably because he wandered off to get a slice of pizza).

To cap it all off, very little is achieved with shooting. Both Bolt Thrower and Archers fail to penetrate the thick wood and the Chimera's hide. The combined might of the Shadow Warriors and Ellyrian Reavers manage to fell a single Marauder Horseman.

At which point, General Palafox declares that he is doomed.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
A shooting battle of the most inconclusive kind. Like Stevie Wonder's Gunfight at the OK Corrall.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

So far so good. The Sorcerer left the horsemen to it and prepared himself to flank the spearmen, with the two infantry blocks gearing up for the charge. 

The Chimera was done gearing up, though, and went for the archers. They ran off, so I managed to redirect into the Bolt Thrower instead. 

Magic was another fizzle, in which Glean Magic got dispelled and I managed a pair of S2 hits from Blue Fire, for predictable non-devastation. At least the Horsemen were got act together and didn't hit anything with their axe throwing. Much closer to form, well done lads. 

Emerging from the other side of the Bolt Thrower thanks entirely to Thunderstomp, the Chimera pounced on the chariot. No doubt it was very angry to see its distant cousins being chained up like that, and just wanted to set them free. 

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
Courage, brothers! I shall rescue you or kill everything trying!

High Elf Turn 2

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Oh dear, already a Bolt Thrower down and a Chimera all up in his bid'ness. By this point Palafox decides he has waited enough and he had better start his counterpunch while he still has something left to punch with.

The Dragon Princes charge the Spawn, who can only hold. And in an inspired moment, I suggest the surviving Ellyrian Reavers would do better charging the Marauder Horsemen than trying to out-shoot them. The Marauders hold fast and lob their throwing axes, killing two Reavers. The one remaining elf completes the charge, probably cursing me as much as Palafox is right now.

The Archers and Archmage rally and in magic, Vaul's Unforging is cast on the Sorcerer, forcing Kraken to use his Dispel Scroll. I try and explain why forcing the use of the scroll is a Good Thing.

The next round of shooting is concentrated on the Sorcerer, whose armour save holds up nicely thank you very much, and doesn't even need to trouble his ward save (my advice at this point, "you want a Bolt Thrower, that'll do the trick").

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
In combat, the Spawn pops like a wet balloon, and the Dragon Princes reform to face back the way they came (into what is now being termed 'the kill zone'). Before they are destroyed, the White Lion charioteers manage to take a wound of the Chimera, though the Lions do nothing.

This prompts a series of questions from Palafox about the difference between 'White Lions' and 'Lions' ("they're not lions, they're just called Lions: they're elves wearing lion cloaks." / "then why would the lions want to pull their chariot?")

I wondered that when I was painting it. Especially as the lion heads on the drivers are much smaller than the ones pulling the chariot, suggesting the use of lions cubs. "Go faster or you'll end up like your kids."

In the cavalry clash, the lone Reaver manages to kill one Marauder, and avoids the attacks of the others. He wins combat and breaks the Marauders (not so stupid now, eh?)

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Charges! The Sorcerer and Warriors slammed into the Spearmen. The Marauders tried to get in there too, but instead trickled unsteadily forwards into the firing line of the Dragon Princes. Hmm. Elsewhere, the Horsemen decided not to rally and instead ran into a swamp, where another of them died. 

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
There's only one of them! Get back there and finish him!

I did try a Glean Magic, but it got shut down hard. After that, the Sorcerer spent the rest of the game fighting, clearly realising he'd spent a lot of time and effort learning terrible spells. 

Combat was all too predictable. The Chimera ate the rest of the chariot, leaving his compatriots to run free, and turned to face where I thought the Dragon Princes would be shortly, i.e. just on the other side of where the Marauders were now. 

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
Om nyom nyom.

A noble spear champion threw herself under the challenging blade of the Chaos Lord, which made for some entertaining overkill. So did the rest of the fight (15:3), but the elves were steadfast in their deep ranks and weren't going anywhere. 

High Elf Turn 3

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Decision time for the Dragon Princes: do they take a short charge into the Marauders (or Chimera) or try to rescue the Spearmen and face a 50/50 chance of getting stranded from a failed charge? Going with the percentages, Palafox slams his heavy cavalry into the flank of the Marauders.

The Archmage finally gets off Fiery Convocation on the Chimera, only to learn that it will only inflict a single hit (my fault for not spelling out the rules - or recommending he take Soul Quench). That one hit fails to wound, and to regeneration is still in place to make a mockery of his archery (my advice, "You know who's really good at archery: Wood Elves. You want to get yourself a Wood Elf army.")

On the other side of the field, the Shadow Warriors and Ellyrian Cowboy are able to shoot down the two fleeing Marauders.

In the Marauder combat, it's the champion who steps up to challenge (the Chaos BSB takes one look at the Star Lance and decides he doesn't want the Eye of the Gods that badly). He is answered by the Dragon Prince champion, who butchers him in short order. The rest of the elves go to work, chopping down great numbers of Marauders and only taking one loss themselves (when the BSB decided to join in). Unable to cancel rank bonus, but with a whacking advantage in damage, the High Elves win this one but the Marauders hold fast under the eye of their general.

Or rather, the many eyes of their general, who is using it to even the odds against the High Elf BSB, who can avoid him no longer. He gets in one wound for none in return, while the Chaos Warriors chew through the remaining Spearmen who break, flee and are run down.

At this point, Palafox is complaining that possession of the tower isn't all it's cracked up to be.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Having overrun so far, the Chaos Warriors couldn't actually see the archers to murder them all. So I threw the sorcerer at them instead, confident that his armour would render him immune to anything they could try.

The Chimera crashed into the flank of the Dragon Princes, ready to claw their general from his horse.

No shooting, no magic, just fighting! That's what a good chaos general likes to see.

Pity I'm not one of those. The Sorcerer was immune to the elf attacks, killed an archer after nobody would accept his challenge, then bounced off their ranks and banner. And then got run over when his disc forgot how to flee properly, which also left the archers nicely in the Warriors' flank again. Gah!

And double Gah! The BSB's challenge was this time answered by the Prince on the far end, which meant the Chimera got locked out of the combat. Even without his Starlance (or possible just using the blunt end really really well), the Prince still won the fight, taking a wound from my BSB for no returns. The Marauders weren't pulling up any trees either, but I still managed to hold on (in fact, due to the BSB's survival, it's a dead tie). Damn armour. Opponents aren't supposed to have better armour than WoCs. It's very confusing.

High Elf Turn 4

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

Even more confusing, it's a good thing that the Prince didn't kill the Chaos BSB last round, because that means he's still shutting out the Chimera this round. You try explaining that to Palafox.

Fiery Convocation is cast irresistibly on the Chaos Warriors, knocking off a couple (the Archmage's miscast wound is ward saved). Then the Archers had a go at shooting and learn the effect of the Blasted Standard. This actually seems to work out worse for the Chaos Warriors: S3 or S1 hits have an equal chance (that is: none) of busting through their armour; whereas the handful of hits that are doubled fell another couple of Chaos Warriors. Tzeentch, eh?

In combat, the BSB finally succumbs and the Dragon Princes (and their trusty steeds) continue to kill Marauders while remaining impervious to their blows. The Marauders lose badly and need Insane Courage to hold; the Chimera (probably slightly bemused at having done nothing) is just within Inspiring Presence and needs four to hold.

Neither make it: The Dragon Princes run down the Chimera and the few Marauders sprint towards the far end of the table, never to rally.

That creaking noise is the sound of the tables turning. Although it doesn't stop Palafox from obsessing about the bloody tower.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 5

The Chaos Warriors reformed to face the Archers, and did it really fast so they could close the gap, hoping to hide from the incoming lance charge. The remaining Marauders kept running.

This is the shortest game turn I've ever had on record. So short, I can't be arsed mapping it.

High Elf Turn 5

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

It turns out that the Chaos Warriors are not entirely screened and the Dragon Princes can just edge past the Archers to go corner-to-corner with them. In the gold corner is the Prince, and in the blue corner is the Chaos Lord, and because no-one can resist the idea of a general-vs-general clash to decide the battle, it's on like Donkey Kong.

The only two models who can fight set to, both at the same time. The Star Lance causes three wounds, and as Kraken picks up his dice I have to remind him of its armour-negating properties.

The Chaos Lord swings his Sword of Change, putting two wounds on the Elf Prince.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between High Elves and Warriors of Chaos.
Yes, I see your point.
The Prince's armour saves both wounds. The Lord's parry save stops none of them.

The Chaos Lord is skewered neatly with the lance, meaning a massive combat win for the Dragon Princes, who break and run down the fleeing Chaos Warriors.

Palafox is now weeping.

Result: 17:3 to the High Elves

(1,850 : 771 in old money)


There were a number of questionable decisions on my part. A lone sorcerer charging massed ranks of shooters? Challenging a Starlancer on his way in? The Lore of Tzeentch?

Not taking any chariots in a WoC list??

Funny to find yourself wishing for a bit more armour with WoC. The Horsemen were always going to be outclassed by their elven equivalents, but getting beaten up by a lone Reaver was a low point. Otherwise, I got off to a good start that I threw away breezily in my last few turns. The Chimera should have eaten the archers and been ready to countercharge the Dragon Princes, and the Sorcerer should have behaved like the flying missile platform he was supposed to be, instead of getting ideas about winning in melee.

I was impressed by the Dragon Princes: two attacks with re-rolls really make up for their limited numbers. It was a shame the Lion Chariot didn't get to shine because I think that would be lethal. And the limitations of basic elves (S3 and T3 with nothing to boost) was telling. Still, I think Palafox enjoyed his game. Who doesn't like a good roller-coaster?

Tabled by elves. I've been here before, I seem to recall. It's always a tough fight, trying to close with the nippy buggers before they riddle you holey. And of the three types, High Elves have the worst shooting and are therefore my favourite, as they struggle against armour. But then they're a little tougher at close range, as they proved here - the Dragon Princes tore strips out of my army. Worthy foes.

Seriously, though. Stylus! Give me back my chariots!

Chariots. I knew I forgot something.

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