Tuesday, 23 May 2017

General Kraken Licks His Wounds

Image result for disastrous battles

My Woffboot XI - let's just make it clear now, that if you're looking for tales of derring do and splendour in battle, you won't be finding them here.

First up, my army!

Morning of the Battle of Agincourt

Ryanair has rather strict interpretations of what counts as adequate baggage per traveller these days. Coming over from Sweden, I had to bring my own army and all the painted stuff I've done for the other generals over the last six months. That includes three Imperial Knights, The Glottkin and Archaon, amongst other space savers. Plus you know, a toothbrush, some pants, that kind of thing.

It quickly became apparent that sacrifices were to be made. Once I'd lost the toothbrush and pants, I still didn't have room for my army, which was a little concerning. I wasn't that worried, though, as everything I had in the list was available from General Kas's colossal stash.

  • Chaos Lord on Manticore (General, Mark of Nurgle)
  • Chaos Sorcerer on steed
  • 5 x Marauder Horsemen with javelins and shields
  • 5 x Marauder Horsemen with javelins and shields
  • Gorebeast Chariot
  • 5 x Chaos Knights with whatever their lance analogue is called
  • 1 x Chaos Spawn

I crammed my newly converted Lammasu rider into a side pocket of my bag, folded Archaon on top of him, put on three pairs of socks and set off.


Once I'd arrived, however, I quickly discovered that I'd rather underestimated the amount of Kas's hordes that are actually painted. Yes, he had everything in the above list, but there was only a Sorcerer and a Spawn actually finished to tabletop standard. And if there's one thing we're incredibly strict about, it's that your 'Boot army must be fully painted and relatively WYSIWYG. Having been a paint nazi to others in my time, I felt obliged to quickly pick a new list from what I could find.

  • Chaos Lord on Manticore (because I'd managed that, at least)
  • Bloab Rotspawned on his Maggot, Bilespurter
  • 5 x Putrid Blightkings
  • 5 x Putrid Blightkings
  • 10 x Marauders with axes and shields

Everything got a mark of Nurgle that didn't already have one, so that the Blightkings could be battleline*. The Marauders, of whom I expected very little, were really just there for number and objective claiming. Everyone else would be working full time against larger numbers, but I felt confident they were high enough quality to make themselves felt.

Fight time! No camera (I forgot to bring the right charger for my phone, or couldn't fit it round Archaon possibly), which is why you're getting a series of pretty pictures of famous military victories**.

Round 1 - Take and Hold vs Coalition of Chaos

Teutoberg Forest

First up, General Stylus and his assorted Chaos Legion. My old Skype Night foe, in a battle we'd already tried the rules for. Could I both keep my own objective safe whilst storming his?

With a small and slow army, I decided to let him come to me and then hope I could rush the Manticore out in the late game to grab the game. Huge packs of beastmen descended on my right flank, smothering Bloab and the Blightkings, while my general pounced on the Chimera that was approaching on the left.

Bloab just about made it through the first rush. Which was lucky, because he then proceeded to make a terrible mess of everything in his path, mashing the Tzaangors with scythe and spew as his allied Blightkings hacked the Gors unit up from behind. The Chimera took a couple of rounds of beating before the Manticore, enraged at this territorial invasion, tore it apart, at which point what was left of the Gors decided to leg it.

Foolishly, I followed them - right into a counter attack, with the Chaotic generals molesting and killing first my general, then Bloab. Worse, the Gors even managed to get away, leaving my fatty Blightkings sweating as they tried to catch up.

Neither of us managed to capture the other's objective (my marauders danced unscathed round mine for the whole game). I'd lost both my expensive characters, however, so I lost on points. A minor victory to Chaos.

Round 2 - Blood and Glory vs Nighthaunts

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Battle of Kolin

Kas's Nighthaunt army had put the scare on most of us even before deployment, thanks to his enclusion of the feared Mourngul. A very fast, resilient damage dealer, I felt sure that if I could deal with it, the rest of his forces would be easy enough to finish off.

Blood and Glory has four capture points, one in each corner of the board. Whoever has the most by turn five wins (points killed to resolve draws). As the Mourngul made for my left flank, my generals came to oppose it, leaving a lone Blightking unit facing down a spirit host and a banshee on the other side. Kas's wraiths and the other spirit host held back, claiming his objectives.

The Mourngul was tough, all right. But not that tough - against Bloab's Miasma spell, a good wound magnifier, he lasted three rounds of combat before the Manticore ate him. Kas hurriedly pulled his hexwraiths away to bolster his failing attack on the other flank, where the solid Blightkings were bursting his spirit host with ease.

Damn ethereal horses - they got there just in time. The Banshee screamed a Blightking to death in the last round, and with the Hexwraiths now present, had enough troops nearby to claim the objective off me by three to two. Foiled again, this time by a major victory!

Round 3 - Border War vs Ironjaws

Little Big Horn

It had been a while since I'd had the pleasure of facing General Yalfrezi in the flesh. Sadly, he'd brought a lot of green flesh with him as well, and as we fought for possession of the centre line of the field, I realised to my dismay I was going to be sucking up a fully-boosted Waaagh! charge in his second turn.

This wasn't as decisive as it could have been, in the end. The Putrid Blightkings struggle against armour, but they do consistently pour out a ton of hits, and it was enough to kill one Brute unit, the Megaboss, the Goregruntas and even force the 'Ardboys back. My Lord took a ton of damage in the process (damn Brutes), but was still mobile enough to then threaten the enemy's back line with its extra-valuable objective, guarded at the time by a lone Weirdnob.

Yalfrezi quickly span his army round, bringing a spare Brute unit back while the damaged 'Ardboys held against my own massively depleted right flank. After the Weirdnob killed the Manticore with a well-timed Arcane Bolt, we were left scrabbling with battered remnants over the centre.

In this game alone, the Marauders were actually sent into battle! Together with a roughed-up Blightking unit, they nearly managed to take the centre line for me. Then the damn Weirdnob zapped them in the back with a long-range Bolt, despite Bloab's best efforts, and it was game over on objective points again.

Round 4 - Escalation vs Stormcast Blue Steel

Stamford Bridge

Yeesh. Leofa and I both sprinted for the all-important centre lines on our first turn, and both of us rolled nothing but ones for our runs. A bad start for me (Blightkings aren't much on running anyway), compounded when Leofa got the second turn and sprang his Dracoth attack on me from the left corner. Another couple of inches in, and I'd have forced him to deploy quite a bit further off. Damn your diabetic feet, Blightkings!

Predictably, the Blightkings died to a big fat man under the Fulminators' charge. Then the next unit did the same in the midfield, just after they'd wiped out a Liberator unit with aplomb.

Over on my right, the Marauders were claiming one objective as my Lord battled his Lord-Castellant. Living up to his fortified title, this guy was shrugging off everything I could hit him with, and somehow pasting the Manticore into the bargain. Bloab jiggled about trying to help, then had to go and die to hold the Dracoths up a turn so I could at least keep my one corner safe.

Easily the most one-sided of my battles, this was a hopeless mess from start to finish for me. With such a small army being deployed piecemeal was a death sentence, and one that Leofa was quite happy to carry out.

Round 5 - Gifts from the Heavens vs Stormcast Lightning Strike

Image result for battle of cannae

A new opponent! The next generation! General Yalfrezi Minor, bringing the golden army to battle over randomly-falling meteors.

As ever, my slow and slobby army held, waiting for the meteors and hammers to start falling. They did - half a unit of Blightkings vanished under a Retributor Paladin advance on the right, but with the aid of the Manticore, soon sent them back to their sky-blue realm.

Emboldened, the Manticore leapt forward, hoping to take the meteor that had fallen opposite him from the lone Liberator unit that held it. Meanwhile, two more Liberator teams advanced on my centre, where my own meteor was held by the predictable Marauders, Bloab and the other Blightkings providing a forward line to protect them.

Well, the Liberator assault came unstuck. Despite light fire from a Lord Relictor and Prosecutor group, the Blightkings not only held but also obliterated the first group after their fellows failed a charge. Alas, I got cocky piling back in, so much so that the second unit managed to join the fight after all. And then Bloab failed an easy charge into their back ranks (there was a fence he couldn't cope with), and despite the ensuing butchery, he still had enough Liberators close enough to my centre line that the meteor was contested. Meaning I couldn't get any points from it.

On my right, the Manticore point-blank refused to kill any Liberators, leaving it all for my Chaos Lord to do. Damn, their armour is surprisingly effective! Although I eventually managed to get a battered Blightking unit in to back him up, it wasn't before the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth had turned up and merrily used his giant hammer to play polo with my general's head. Unsurprisingly, the Blightkings failed to deal with this rampaging killer, so he held his own objective while my own had been denied.

Results - Last Place! 0/5

A clean sweep - not a single win, plus the only general to be beaten by a ten-year-old!


So what went wrong?

Well, from the safety of the mass grave that is my locker room, I could safely say 'everything'. All of these battles are about taking and holding objectives, and the army was very poorly set up for that.

The Rotbringer army was too small to hold large stretches of battlefield. Five units, one of whom were cheap chaff, meant I was always stretched to breaking point, without reserves I could rely on and dependent on the generals to do most of the work. Generals are often quite frail in AoS, and that was certainly the case for me here. I should have been bunching up and forcing enemies to overcommit to attacking a smaller but more superior force where I could, and I never did.

The second big flaw was speed. Blightkings are splendid in the front line, they always outperformed their opposing troops (except the Fulminators) and could hold objectives against assault with ease. But they lacked numbers, which was a problem in several games, and were too slow in the attack, often letting the enemy escape or regroup before they could counterattack.

Battle of Lepanto 1571.jpg

As ever, my dice rolling was disgusting. Bloab's spells and missile weapons are powerful, but only managed to affect two games - he puked the Megaboss to death against the Ironjaws, and his spell helped deal with the Mourngul. Otherwise, he whiffed casting roll after casting roll, and rarely managed to hit his targets at range. At least he was solid in melee, when he reached it.

The Manticore rider was a total waste of points. No rend, so all the armoured enemies could shrug off his damage potential. And few monsters for his mount to pick on, just the Chimera in fact. His command ability only affects Chaos Warriors, so that was wasted. And even against lesser troops like Liberators, he rolled badly and seemed to have forgotten to put his upgraded armour on, so he haemorrhaged hit points at all opportunities.

So, a badly picked force, played poorly and hampered by ill luck. That's the Kraken method, folks!

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Battle of Magersfontein

I can't even name an MVP from my team, really. The Blightkings if I really had to, they are reliable and dangerous. Elsewhere, the Dracoth riders caught my eye as terrifyingly efficient killers. Fast, armoured, multi-wound cavalry with highly damaging weapons and ranged options? Surely the perfect soldier for any situation.

Likewise the Ironjaw Brutes were impressive, especially as character assassins. If the much-feared Mourngul disappointed, it was mostly because poor Kas was deprived the army Allegiance and artefact rules that would have made it impossible to hit and given it extra saves. The poor dear.

Ah well, roll on Woffboot XII. Or 40BootK, as it may yet become...

The Monument at Flodden

'We'll hae nae mair lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
Sighing and moaning, on ilka green loaning,
The Blightkings so Putrid are all wede away.'

*This technically doesn't work, it turns out, as Marauders and Chaos Lords don't actually get the Nurgle keyword until they're marked, which is after you deploy them on the table. Foul! Yet another fail for this pathetic excuse for a host.
** For the other side.


  1. I think the results were unfair on your army - Blightkings, Bloab and even the Marauders seemed to have their merits. The Manticore Lord was probably the only dead weight (literally and figuratively). He could have been traded in and filled in a lot of the army's blanks.

    It was the first time we played five different scenarios with the same army, and that made a difference to army effectiveness. It will certainly factor into my thinking should we ever repeat the system.

    And regarding the Nurgle keyword, both the Khorne and Tzeentch battletomes say an army can have a monotheistic allegiance even if a unit doesn't get marked until deployment, so you needn't lose sleep over that.

    1. The Marauders certainly did their job well enough, i.e. holding objectives and staying out of trouble. And yes, with some faster knights, chariots or even a third unit of Blightkings, I think I'd have done better. But as ever, it was my dice that were the real problem!

    2. Cheap and simple: buy some new dice!