Sunday, 28 May 2017

WoffBoot XI: Disciples of Tzeentch vs Nighthaunt

My fifth and final game of the WoffBoot. I'm out of the top positions for sure, but a win might just nudge me over the halfway mark

Standing in my way: ghosties and ghoulies and a long-armed beastie - the Nighthaunts have come out to play!

No-One To Call!: Nighthaunt

  • Tomb Banshee
  • Cairn Wraith
  • Cairn Wraith
  • 3 x Spirit Hosts
  • 3 x Spirit Hosts
  • 5 x Hexwraiths
  • Mourngul - General
Ouch. Kasfunatu has built a very themey list, of which I very much approve. It also contains a 400pt nightmare in the shape of a Mourngul. Fast, resilient even to mortal wounds, and able to snack on victims to regenerate, this is going to be a bugbear for a low bravery army of low-wound models.

There doesn't seem to be a shortcut to dealing with him, other than a barrage of attacks, and fortunately, I'm able to provide that too. And when your hit rolls are neutered and rend is irrelevant, the quality of attacks doesn't matter as much as the quantity (for all that. I'm going to miss not having weapons with multiple damage).

My only consolation is that we decided, given half the players' inexperience with Age of Sigmar, not to play the Allegiance rules. Apparently Kasfunatu had a lethal combination of trait and artefact that would have made his Mourngul even harder to kill.

For the rest of the army, apparently the Spirit Hosts have excelled, and I don't like the Banshee's ranged attack, but this seems an army centred around the Mourngul - if he goes down, I shouldn't have an issue with the rest.

Coalition of Chaos: Disciples of Tzeentch/Brayherd/Monsters of Chaos

  • Ogroid Thaumaturge - General
  • Beastlord - Man-render Great Axe
  • 20 x Gors - Two Gor-Blades
  • 10 x Tzaangors - Pair of Savage Blades (4), Savage Greatblade (3), Savage Blade & Arcanite Shield (3)
  • 10 x Chaos Warriors - Hand Weapon & Shield - Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
  • Chimera

I've played the Gifts From The Heavens scenario before, and I quite like it. The speed of a Brayherd army certainly helps to secure objectives or pressure opponent's ones. So my plan is basically to deal with the Mourngul as best I can, then pounce on the fallen meteors.

Game 5: Gifts From The Heavens

I lose the roll to determine the deployment side, and so Kasfunatu sticks me on the edge with the Deadly forest and the Mystical hill (mostly to keep me away from the Inspiring hill on the other side, which would have helped me against both Banshee and Mourngul).

I spear my forces out, putting the Chimera in the forest to deter the Mourgul taking an early charge (reasoning that Kasfunatu would never risk losing it on the roll of a 1 - that's far more likely to be something I would do).

I give Kasfunatu the first turn and he advances his Spirit Hosts and Hexwraiths slowly, with the Mourngul, Banshee and one Cairn Wraith heading up the attack on my left flank.

Kasfunatu deliberately positioned the Mourngul against my Chimera, so I'm guessing he's hoping to alpha strike the only thing I have that can reliably pump out mortal wounds.

In my turn, I take the bait: the whole line advances, most notably the Chimera. After much procrastinating, I decide to try and take out the Mourngul with my monster.

In the shooting phase, I hit the Mourngul with six mortal wounds from my breath weapon, and it only manages to save one of them. Down to half-strength already and I'm now fancying my chances in combat (even with average luck, a full strength Chimera ought to be able to force a dozen saves).

I don't get the chance to test my theory, as I fail the Chimera's charge.

I could have tried again for a charge in my second turn, but I fail the imitative roll and now the Mourngul is on me (though not before the Banshee has screamed off a wound).

Meanwhile the meteor has landed in the centre of Kasfunatu's backline (right behind the grey tower), so all he needs to do is centre his Hexwraiths, Spirit Host and other Cairn Wraith around it.

In the combat phase, the Mourngul goes to town. Even at half-wounds, he makes six attacks, then generates a few more with his Ravening Onslaught, which in turn generate a few more (we later realise the Rule of One means that should happen - but trying telling that to the Chimera).

Under such onslaught, the poor Chimera is dead before it even has a chance to strike back. On reflection, it was a very fortunate attack to delete the monster in one turn (although at the time, I was expecting no less from the Mourngul).

Nil desperandum, that's why I have reserves. On my second turn, the meteor lands in the Deadly forest (right in front of the Mourngul), so I divert my Chaos Warriors to babysit it.

Other than that, we attack on all fronts: the Ogroid blasts off a couple of the Mourngul's regenerated wounds, and the Tzaangor move to surround it. On the far side of the field, the big herd of Gor race up to confront the Hexwraiths.

My luck with the charge rolls continues, as the Gor fail an easy distance and are left looking sheepish (goatish?) in the face of the ghosts.

The Tzaangor do manage to surround and attack the Mourngul. Even with their hit rolls petrified, they throw out an impressive number of attacks (the paired weapons come into their own this time, as they are easier to hit with). The Morungul fails to save a couple of these, and by the time the beak attacks are landing, Kasfunatu has to make a half-dozen saving throws to preserve his last two wounds.

Sadly, he does. And as he devours a couple of Tzaangor to recover some wounds, I suspect my best chance of killing the monster has just gone.

From now on, I'll have to play very defensive with the Chaos Warriors, and hope my Gor can do a number on the other objective to level out the points.

Kasfunatu wins initiative for the third turn and piles on the pressure: the Banshee shrieks off more Tzaangor while the Cairn Wraith joins the combat.

The lead Spirit Host charges in the Ogroid, while the other one screens his own objective. The Hexwraiths and other Cairn Wraith charge the Gor.

The Tzaangor are efficiently removed. The combat between Ogroid and Spirit Hosts is a draw with wounds taken on both sides. The Gor do very badly - failing their 'Anarchy & Mayhem' roll (despite only needing a '1') and then whiff what remaining attacks they have. In return, more than half their number are lost to combat and battleshock.

On my third turn, I'm running out of options. The Ogroid removes another Spirit Host and the Chaos Warriors encircle my objective.

In the Gor combat, then roll another '1' for Anarchy & Mayhem, and they really does for them. All bu the unit champion and the Beastlord are wiped out, so my chances of outnumbering that objective aren't looking too probably.

Kasfunatu wins the fourth initiative roll and moves his Mourngul, Banshee and Cairn Wraith into my Ogroid, who promptly gets torn apart.

With the combat on the far end, my lone Gor finally rolls a '6' for Anarchy & Mayhem! Yay - with my massive extra attack and +1 to wound, I will surely knock down these three Nighthaunt units.

No, I can't. Both him and the Beastlord die.

And that's pretty much all she wrote. I spent the fifth turn charging my Chaos Warriors out of the Deadly forest (because if everything else is going to die, why shouldn't they?).

Even if I somehow kept my objective secure for the final round, I'm way behind on units destroyed (having not taken out a single Nighthaunt), and thus ends the massacre.

Post-match thoughts

Aaargh! This one is going to haunt me (pun intended). I don't mind the tabling (I have a wealth of experience), but there is always one battle in a tournament where I manage to get everything wrong.

I won't bemoan my luck - since I've found that the best way to avoid crucial dice rolls is to have a better plan. It was costly to fail a couple of easy charges, lose every initiative roll, and only just lose the Chimera before it could strike back, but if my plan depended on all those things paying off, it was going to unravel somewhere.

Besides, the Mourngul failing five of six mortal wound saves is pretty unlucky - I bet if I'd killed it, I would have done nothing but congratulate myself on my sound tactics.

What really impressed me was the Tzaangors' ability to hurt the Mourngul, as well as the Chimera and Ogroid's ability to hurt anything else.

If I had the battle again, I would probably have fed the Mourngul the Gor unit (buffed by Inspiring Presence to keep it from evapourating through battleshock), and while it was taking a few turns to gobble them up, I could have swept away most of his other elements.

And contrary to the entire battle report, I would also have tried not to get too hung up on the Mourngul and focused on the objectives, not the army. That's what it's all about.

An entertaining game, and certainly the one I learned the most from. In the WoffBoot table, I finish fourth from six, which is my traditional spot, so I'm glad to retain it.

My thoughts on the army:

  • The Ogroid Thaumaturge performed a lot better than I thought. He personally killed two enemy generals, and was crucial in most of my wins. A nice combination of power and magic - and should I ever field Pink Horrors, I can use his spell properly to replenish them.
  • The Tzaangor also impressed. I didn't always get to use them to their optimum, but they were hands-down my best combat unit.
  • The Chimera was a lot of fun. The mortal wound breath was his best and most consistent weapon - a lot of his varied attacks were just to few to hit home with any consistency (although when they did hit, they could delete units). In any event, he provided a great deal of mobility to the army, and always drew enemy attention. Now, if only it could have a chaos mark...
  • The Gor didn't really achieve much other than being a large unit to threaten objectives or soak wounds. A combination of bad luck and bad management, but the same number of Marauders could have done the same for a lower cost.
  • The Beastlord was just a cheap combat hero - I took him over Khorne heroes of the same price because he could synergise with the Gor (though that never really happened). With only three attacks, he can be very hit-or-miss (mostly miss - though 3 damage does compensate). but I can see the virtue of a cheap, expendable fighter in the list.
  • The Chaos Warriors were a let-down, especially as they cost as much as the Tzaangor, but had nowhere near the speed or punch. They are durable, I suppose, and were the only unit never to get wiped out in the tournament (if I hadn't fed them to the Nighthaunts at the end of turn 5). They can certainly hold an objective - but I felt I wasn't getting the killing power I needed from them.
As a whole, the army wasn't a bad one. I could perhaps have done with some ranged options, more Tzaangor, and a tankier unit, but there's always compromises at this point level.

All in all, WoffBoot XI was a lot of fun. Some very interesting, challenging and different games were played, and all credit goes to Age of Sigmar. I left with my head fizzing with ideas for new armies. We may be looking to the stars for next year's games, but I wouldn't rule out a return to the mortal realms.

No comments:

Post a Comment