Friday, 24 April 2015

Fear Not, Till Birnam Wood Do Come: Wood Elves vs Warriors of Chaos

Round 3: versus Warriors of Chaos

Game 3 saw me face off my old SkypeBoot sparring partner Kraken, with the added virtue of both of us being in the same room.

Usually when my Wood Elves face his Warriors of Chaos, he result is an arrow-filled heap of carnage, but with a fast army led by Archaon, I knew I was in for a game.

I was expecting a good game, and was not about to be disappointed. It proved to be the kind of game that gets you hooked on Warhammer: six action-packed turns of changing fortunes and improbable dice rolls.

On more than one occasion I found myself running to the gamers in the adjoining room, not for rules queries, but just to shout, 'can you believe this just happened?'


Warriors of Chaos

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos

  • Archaon, The EverchosenLore of Metal
  • Exalted Champion (BSB)
    Mark of Nurgle, Halberd, Scaly Skin and Hideous Visage
  • 14 x Warriors of Chaos
    Shields, Full Command, Mark of Nurgle
  • 1 x Chaos Chariot
    Mark of Khorne
  • 5 x Marauder Horsemen
    Full Command, Mark of Slaanesh, Shields, Throwing Axes, Spears
  • 5 x Chaos Knights
    Full Command, The Swords of Chaos, Ensorcelled Weapons

Wood Elves

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos

  • Durthu, Eldest of the Ancients
  • Glade Captain (BSB)
    Hail of Doom, Obsidian Trinket
  • Spellweaver
    Lv 2 Life, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Protection
  • Shadowdancer
    Bow of Loren
  • 10 x Glade Guard
    Musician, Trueflight Arrows
  • 10 x Glade Guard
    Musician, Hagbane Arrows
  • 10 x Glade Guard
    Musician, Starfire Arrows
  • 7 x Wardancers
  • 5 x Wild Riders


To begin with, I stuffed up my deployment quite badly - hearkening back to previous battles of arrow-filled kill zones, I placed my archer units directly facing Archaon and his knights, and Wardancer bunker in the wood. I hadn't quite appreciated how I badly I might get caught out if I didnt get the first turn. (Spoiler alert: I didn't get the first turn.)

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
"Don't worry - I'm sure that small fence will protect us from all harm."

Both our fast cavalry vanguarded forward, although after their shock against the Skaven, my Wild Riders chose a more circuitous route around the battlefield that took them three turns to get into his backline.

Turn 1

The Chaos Warriors and Chariot lumbered forward, but the Archaon's Chaos Knights surged towards me, skipping over a fence that immediately felled two of them (apparently this was a thing they did in every battle with admirable consistency).

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
The wrinkles in the green baize do not represent Dangerous Terrain.

Then came the magic phase, and my smug grin at the idea of facing a lore that targeted armour quickly dissipated when I learned that the flaming Searing Doom would burn off Durthu's wounds at an alarming rate. I was already four wounds down after the first spell before I decided I didn't want that to happen again.

On my first turn, I pulled my usual trick of unleashing everything against the same invincible target - in this case, Archon's knights - for the net effect of a single kill (so there you have it: 40+ Wood Elf shots < one fence).

Looking down the barrel of some Turn 2 charges, I did some readjusting of my lines to minimise impact and spent the magic phase mostly trying to get Durthu's wounds back with some Life spells (Throne of Vines was constantly on-again, off-again).

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
"Are we a little too close?"
"Naah... probably not a problem probably."

Turn 2

Kraken's second turn hit like a small child into a neatly-raked pile of leaves: Archaon and his knights crashed into the Starfire Glade Guard, the Marauder Horsemen hit the Hagbanes, and the Warriors of Chaos occupied the building, presumably to put their feet up and watch the carnage.

I had a lucky break when the Chaos Chariot failed its charge against the Trueflights, and even took a couple a Dangerous Terrain hits (which was fortunate because it now had Glittering Robes and was a bugger to wound), but the Marauder Horsemen didn't let the side down. After taking a couple of casualties from the Hagbane Glade Guard, the survivors cut down the elves and ran them off the table.

So that was two of my units going or gone. With my general under half strength and the Lord of the Endtimes about to rampage through my backline, I was already contemplating a tabling.

And then, in Kraken's magic phase, along came our old friend Calamitous Detonation. I don't remember what spell was cast Irresistibly, but it probably wasn't worth it as the explosion took out the rest of the Chaos Knights and most of the Starfire elves (who were probably thankful to die before they had to fight Archaon).

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
The sound effect you're looking for is 'KABOOM!"

But what I was really hoping for was Archaon to fail his 50/50 or get killed outright. He passed, in what turned out to be an ominous sign of luck regarding autokill effects. In the actual combat, the archers were easily wiped out, but the frenzied Archaon had to overrun into the woods, and now found himself with no-one else to fight.

For my turn, I actually started to learn from my mistakes in previous battles. Firstly, I bailed out the characters from the Wardancer unit. The BSB started jogging towards the ruins at the far side of the battlefield and never looked back. The Wardancers and Lifesinger (who needed to keep within wound-restoring range of Durthu) started skipping around Archaon, taking care that whereever they were, it was out of his arc of vision. It seemed odd, but the safest place to be.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
"The line is broken! Commence Operation Dandelion!"

Durthu advanced towards the building, looking menacingly at it, while the Trueflights shuffled sideways to ensure that, if the Chariot charged them again, it would be taking more Dangerous Terrain tests.

The magic phase saw the beginning of my new strategy: cast The Dwellers Below on Archaon. I managed to get it off, but Kraken unsportingly refused to roll a 6 for his strength test.

Turn 3

Kraken continued his education in the frustration of playing Wood Elves. Though his Horsemen had returned to the board, there was very little he could charge or target. The Chaos Chariot charged the Trueflights, but lost its last wound to Stand and Shoot.

What had looked like a massacre was now starting to level out as all the easy stuff had been killed.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
Where do we go from here?

On my turn, the Wild Riders finally turned up in a position to help out, the BSB and Trueflights continued to edge away from danger, and the Wardancers still avoided Archaon's glare. The only one up for a fight was Durthu, but no-one was accommodating him.

In magic, my cunning plan was further expounded when I cast Enfeebling Foe on Archaon before hitting him with Dwellers. But I only took off a solitary point of Strength and he made his Strength on exactly 4. I was raging at the Dice Gods by this point, and I'll wager Kraken was starting to sweat a little for his general.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos

In shooting, I unleashed Trueflights at the remaining Marauder Horsemen, but their typical endurance won out and one was left standing.

Turn 4

Things start to happen again. The Warriors of Chaos exit the house to face the Wild Riders, inviting Durthu to hit them in the flank. The lone Marauder Horsemen parks in front of the Wild Riders to redirect them away  and Archaon lurks behind to take stock of the situation.

In my turn, Durthu charges the Chaos Warriors and the Wild Riders take on the lone Horseman. Everything else continues to avoid trouble.

In the magic phase, you may be surprised to learn I cast Dwellers on Archaon, and you may be surprised to learn that he passed his sodding Strength test again! Despite being the surest way to kill him outright, I was having some doubts about my plan (at least it was pipping Durthu's wounds back up).

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
Archaon maypole!

I had a lot of dice left over by this point and for some reason, I decided that what I really needed to do was turn Durthu into a dragon with Transformation of Kadon (making him a marginally-better monster, rather than casting say, Savage Beast of Horros for a better effect). I just missed the roll, so we were denied the pleasure of Dragon-Durthu. Put it down to the excitement of the moment.

Dragon or not, Durthu answers the challenge of the Chaos BSB, takes a wound but then kills the Exalted Champion before he gets to Thunderstomp. He wins the combat, but the Warriors are going nowhere and reform to face him head-on.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
"Anything important behind me? No? Then I'll carry on."

The Wild Riders predictably wipe out the redirecting Horseman. They don't overrun very far, but far enough to take the Warriors out of their next charge arc, so the little guy did his job.

Turn 5

Warriors of Chaos again and, this time, the champion was fed to appease Durthu. I think I flubbed most of my attacks - the guy was killed sure enough, but I didn't generate enough overkill to win combat and held on Stubborn.

On my turn, I saw an opportunity (one that didn't involve The Dwellers Below) - despite being behind the Warriors and Durthu, my Wild Riders could see just enough of Archaon to get into combat. They made the charge, closed the door and the combat was on.

But not before... Mindrazor! With an Irresistible roll, I managed to get the Wild Riders up to S9. Striking first, Archaon would be counting on his ward save alone to see him through the combat. I even managed to Miasma down his Initiative, so I'd get my rerolls to hit.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
Always chasing MVP, those Wild Riders.

By the time the dust had settled, the Lord of the Endtimes was down to his last wound and the Wild Riders had gone to that big stag party in the sky.

Almost a sideshow behind them, Durthu smashed and thunderstomped his way through the Chaos Warriors killing a rank of them, but neither side was going to budge.

Turn 6

The final turn brought a ballsy move from Kraken: Archaon charged into Durthu, calling him out for a clash of the generals. The treeman was now back up to 4 wounds and I was confident that, if I could weather the attacks, I'd have enough to take out Archaon's final wound.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos
'There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this..."
(believe me, I tried)

Archaon went first, going to town with his daemon sword U’zhul and hacking three wounds off Durthu. As I was breathing a sigh of relief, Dorghar kicked out with his hooves and took away my last wound instead.

My last turn and I was trying to claw together a sliver of hope: my Lifeweaver still had Throne of Vines in action - surely the boosted Awakening of the Wood's D6 S6 hits would be enough to get Archaon's last wound? The forest rose up to avenge their fallen kindren and laid into Archaon. He made all but two of his armour saves. He passed one ward save ... and failed the other. Boom!

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Wood Elves and Warriors of Chaos

Not being one to refrain from kicking someone when they're down, I used the rest of my magic dice to throw Dwellers Below on the Chaos Warriors, just to see what it looked like. About a third of the unit copped it, and a volley of bowfire panicked off the handful of survivors.

I'd made my boast: to capture more standards than I lost (Kraken had the most standards of any army, while my BSB was happily cowering on the far side of the field) and despite the loss of Durthu, being able to preserve all my other characters meant the final tally gave me an unlikely victory.

Result: 14:6
(1855 : 1145)

In the end, the result was almost immaterial: it was just one hell of a game of Warhammer.


  1. I'd forgotten weathering the wild rider charge! I was lucky. Very very lucky. Er, to have lost anyway. Well, could have been a lot worse!

    1. And the tight angle meant that only three Wild Riders could get into combat. If I'd had a fourth one attacking at S9, then I'm sure ...Archaon would have made his 3++ Ward Save.

    2. You remembered he's a Strider, right?