Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Battle for the Pass

Myself and Paul headed down to Stafford Games last week to get another game of Warhammer in - I took my Wood Elves and Paul turned up with his Vampires (he keeps saying how much he wants to use his High Elves with the latest book, and yet turns down every opportunity to use them in favour of taking his horrible Vampires, which he knows I can't beat!)

My list was as follows:

Spellweaver (Lore of Life) ~ 350pts
- Lv.4, Wand of Wych Elm, Talisman of Preservation (4+ Ward)

Noble ~ 140pts
- BSB, Armour of Silvered Steel, Luckstone

Eternal Guard (20) ~ 295pts
- Warbanner, Full Command

Glade Guard (20) ~ 268pts
- Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame

Glade Guard (10) ~ 126pts
- Musician

Glade Guard (10) ~ 126pts
- Musician

Dryads (8) ~ 98pts

Glade Riders (5) ~ 129pts
- Musician

Wild Riders (5) ~ 148pts
- Musician, Standard Bearer

Wild Riders (5) ~ 148pts
- Musician, Standard Bearer

Waywatchers (5) ~ 120pts

Great Eagle ~ 50pts

Total = 1998pts

Paul (from memory) had:

Master Necromancer
Master Necromancer
Wight King
Wight King
Wight King
Corpse Cart
20 Zombies
24 Ghouls
20 Skeletons
20 Skeletons
20 Grave Guard
3 Vargheists

Anyway, we rolled Battle for the Pass and so the first advantage was given to Paul - with the width of the table effectively halved, it would be that much harder for me to outmanoeuvre him and skirt around the flanks. His big blocks of infantry, combined with the terrain, meant he could effectively block the entire table width. The second advantage was given to him by me, as I chose ends and (in hindsight) picked wrongly. The third advantage was also conceded by me by allowing Paul to take the first turn!

Deployment from the Vampire end
The bulk of the Wood Elf deployment
Paul took the first turn and simply advanced as far as he could, with the Vargheists flying at double speed to outflank my line of archers. Magic saw the bulk of the infantry blocks boosted as Paul resurrected the long dead skeletons that can conveniently be found on every Vampire battlefield!

Vampire T1
 I responded by rapidly repositioning my army to face off against the Vampires, with the Eagle providing bait for the Ghouls, in preparation for a combined countercharge from the Wild Riders and Glade Riders. Magic was a damp squib, and shooting achieved very little as well.
Wood Elf T1

Paul's second turn began with two charges, one forced and the other willingly. The Vargheists failed their Frenzy test and had to charge the Dryads blocking them, while the Great Eagle fled the Ghouls' charge, leaving the undead stranded in front of my cavalry. Once again, the undead units were substantially increased, with Paul getting very good rolls for his resurrecting, and he even managed to raise a new Skeleton unit right in front of my archers. The Vargheists made short work of the Dryads due to my inability to make any To Wound rolls, and the Forest Spirits fled only to be run down in a single bound by the Vampiric flyers.

Vampire T2 Movement
Turn 2 for the Wood Elves started with three charges - the Wild Riders and Glade Riders smashed into the Ghouls, while the other Wild Riders moved into the flank of the Vargheists. Magic managed to kill 15 of the closest Skeleton unit with Dwellers Below, while Flesh to Stone failed to boost the Toughness of the Wild Riders facing the Vargheists. It took two units of Glade Guard to shoot away the raised Skeleton unit, which left very few arrows to target anything else. In combat, the Wild Riders facing the Vargheists managed to kill the one Vargheist in contact (the Elven Steeds doing most of the work!) for only one loss in return. The combat resolution managed to finish off the rest of the unit. Meanwhile, the combat with the Ghouls didn't go quite so well - my attacks managed to kill eight Ghouls, but the "Stepping Up" caused chaos with 15 return attacks against the Wild Riders and six against the Glade Riders. Cue one dead unit of Wild Riders, and only two surviving Glade Riders (although they passed their Break test)

Wood Elf T2
Vampires T3
The view from the bowline

It was at this point that I stopped taking pictures, as the battle was coming to a close and we were running out of time. We played to the end of Turn 4, although not a lot else happened except that some Skeletons were shot, more Skeletons were raised, and the advancing Undead got gradually closer. The result wasn't much, with just over 200 points difference in VPs (I had lost the Dryads, the Glade Riders and Wild Riders, Paul had lost only the Vargheists) but if we had carried on for even one more turn I'd have lost a lot more.

In the end, the game could have gone very differently if I hadn't effectively conceded the game from the beginning - I picked the wrong end to deploy in, and I gave the first turn away. My Waywatchers achieved nothing except keeping the Varghulf busy, but if I'd have taken the first turn I had a perfect opportunity to take out at least one of Paul's Master Necromancers before he had chance to move away or counter the Waywatchers. That alone could have changed the course of the game, combined with the added advantage of having a turn of dedicated shooting at Paul's units at their basic size. The other big advantage of taking the first turn was that I could have moved the Dryads into the Vargheists' LoS, possibly forcing them to charge, but allowing the Dryads to remain in the wood (and thus become Stubborn). I knew from our previous game (which I didn't write a blog post about) that Dryads in a wood could easily hold up and eventually even defeat Paul's Vargheists, and yet I conceded this advantage as well by allowing Paul to dictate my moves. 

Just to top everything off, I also forgot all about my Vanguard moves - having three Fast Cavalry units capable of making a Vanguard move, this could have drastically altered Paul's opening moves and even (if I'd have taken the first turn) allowed me to change the course of the whole game, as my cavalry would have then had more than enough movement to get behind the Vampire battle line in the first turn, potentially, and cause all sorts of problems for Paul. 

Anyway, with another defeat under my belt, I turned to the collective wisdom of Asrai.org to help improve the army list and for general tips against Vampires (because they are really my bogey army!) I'll be trying out a new list for our next game, but in order to use it I need to build a few figures to add to the army!


  1. Unlucky mate. I really like the keep/tree scenery piece in the center of the table. Where did you get it? Or did you build it?

    1. Thanks Chickenbane, although I think it was less a case of bad luck and more my own mistakes that cost me!

      The tower/tree piece is actually from Gale Force 9's "Battlefield in a Box" range - the Tree of Woe, it's called. It's a nice piece, and a pretty good range, although they don't do a lot that's suitable for WHFB...