Sunday, 14 July 2013

Meeting Engagement

The practice games begin! I challenged Paul to another game of Warhammer last week, to begin preparing for the Throne of Skulls tournament in October. I'd managed to get the models together to actually use the list I intend to try out for the tournament, so the list looked like this:

Spellweaver ~ 275pts
- Lv.4, Dispel Scroll

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

Eternal Guard (25) ~ 355pts
- Warbanner, Full Command

Glade Guard (15) ~ 208pts
- Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame

Glade Guard (10) ~ 126pts
- Musician

Glade Guard (10) ~ 126pts
- Musician

Dryads (8) ~ 96pts

Dryads (8) ~ 96pts

Treekin (6) ~ 390pts

Scouts (5) ~ 85pts

Great Eagle ~ 50pts

Great Eagle ~ 50pts

Total = 1997pts

Paul ended up bringing the same Lizardmen list as last time:

Slann - Cupped Hands of the Old Ones, Focus of Mystery, Focused Rumination, Becalming Cogitation 
Scar Veteran - Cold One, Sword of Strife
30 Saurus Warriors, full command
9 Cold One Cavalry, full command
4x10 Skinks with blowpipes
2x10 Chameleon Skinks
Ancient Stegadon

This time around we rolled Meeting Engagement. I won the roll off to pick table corners and deploy first. There wasn't much to pick between the two corners, and my reserves rolls were kind in that I got everything except one of the Eagles on the table. I put all my army in or behind cover, with the right flank loaded with Glade Guard, while the Eternal Guard and Treekin deployed on either side of the open central area behind two woods. 

Paul took advantage of seeing my whole deployment and placed his combat troops (the Saurus and Cold Ones) opposite the hill that was hiding my Glade Guard. He had to keep one unit of Skinks behind as reserves, but the rest of his Skinks showed up and were spread evenly on both flanks. 

Unsurprisingly, I won the roll for first turn and elected to go second and force Paul's Skinks to expose themselves without providing too many targets in return.

Deployment on the WE right

The WE left

Lizardmen T1

Paul's turn began without anything unexpected, with all units moving closer to my lines. Magic saw Paul gain only 4 Power Dice, which was enough to cast a full strength boosted Fireball at my Dryads in the central wood, which I had no chance of dispelling without my Scroll which I duly deployed. Shooting saw the Chameleon Skinks kill two of the right-hand Glade Guard, while on the left the other Chameleon Skinks managed a surprise wound on the Treekin.

Lizardmen T1 Movement (right flank)
Lizardmen T1 Movement (left flank)
Wood Elf T1

To start off my first turn, the Glade Guard all advanced to start shooting down the Lizardmen while the Treekin and Eternal Guard desperately tried to reposition themselves. The central Dryads repositioned to try and hold up the incoming Cold Ones and the Eagle took up a suicide position in front of the Stegadon to prevent any charge into the Glade Guard.

The Magic phase was cut short when my Weaver got ambitious and tried to cast a boosted Amber Spear to take out the Stegadon. Shooting followed a similar trend of failure, with just three Skinks dying to the combined firepower of forty archers...

WE T1 Movement (right)
WE T1 Movement (left)

Lizardmen T2

Paul's next turn began with the two expected charges - the Cold Ones charged into the wood to take on the Dryads while the Stegadon crashed into the Eagle blocking it. Elsewhere, the Skinks all advanced again to unload another round of blowpipe darts into my unarmoured elves.

Magic proved to be decisive, with Flame Storm first taking a wound from my Weaver as well as a Glade Guard. The follow-up Fireball went through with Irresistible Force, and my Spellweaver was blown away to punish what would prove to be a game-changing mistake from me (i.e. moving my Spellweaver to leave her exposed...). Elsewhere, Flame Cage killed one of the big Glade Guard unit and effectively prevented them moving next turn.

Shooting proved nearly as devastating, with six of the right-hand Glade Guard falling along with three of the big Glade Guard unit and another two wounds on the Treekin. Combat cemented the turn's success for Paul, with the Stegadon crushing the Eagle from Impact Hits alone (and reforming to face the big Glade Guard unit) and the Cold Ones wiped out the Dryads for just one casualty suffered (and they reformed to face the incoming Treekin).

Lizardmen T2 Movement (right)
Lizardmen T2 Movement (left)
Wood Elf T2

Time for the Wood Elves to respond! The Treekin charged the Cold Ones, while the remaining unit of Dryads charged the Chameleon Skinks. Elsewhere, there was a lot of shuffling to be done with the Eternal Guard attempting to stem the tide while the Glade Guard (those that could move...) attempted to hightail it out of there!

With no magic to speak of, it was straight to shooting. The big Glade Guard unit shot down two of the rapidly approaching Saurus, while on the left flank the Scouts slew two of the nearby Skinks and caused them to flee 5" towards the table edge.

In combat the Dryads unsurprisingly wiped out the Chameleon Skinks and reformed to about face and face the centre of the table. The crucial combat was the Treekin, who managed to inflict five wounds on the Cold Ones. In return, the Cold Ones (with accompanying Scar Veteran) could only manage two wounds. The Cold Ones lost the combat, and the resultant Break test was failed by 1 - the Cold Ones broke and fled 10". The Treekin eagerly ran in pursuit, and smashed into the flank of the Saurus, but couldn't roll high enough to catch the Cold Ones (which would come back to haunt me later!)

WE T2 Movement (right)
WE T2 Movement (left)
Lizardmen T3

The Lizardmen turn began with the Stegadon charging the big Glade Guard unit, who inflicted one wound from the resulting Stand & Shoot. The fleeing Cold Ones and Skinks both rallied, while the intact Skinks and Chameleons stayed still to shoot at maximum effect.

Magic, and the loss of my Spellweaver really hurt, as Flaming Sword of Rhuin, Cascading Fire Cloak and Fulminating Flame Cage were all cast on the Treekin/Saurus. The resulting six wounds took the Treekin down to just three models. Shooting saw the right-hand Glade Guard unit finally wiped out.

Combat rolled around and the Stegadon rolled over the Glade Guard, inflicting eight casualties. Naturally, the Glade Guard ran and fled 11". Rather than pursue, the Stegadon reformed to face towards the Saurus in an attempt to capitalise on whatever action happened there.

The combat between the Treekin and Saurus was close, with the Treekin inflicting five casualties and suffering two wounds in return. The Saurus lost the combat by one, but passed their Break test as expected.

Lizardmen T3 Movement (right)
Lizardmen T3 Movement (left)
Wood Elf Turn 3

Predictably, the Eternal Guard charged the Saurus. Elsewhere the small Glade Guard unit swift reformed to face the Stegadon and subsequently shot to inflict a single casualty on the crew. The Dryads and newly arrived reserve Eagle closed in on the Skinks, while the Scouts shot down another two, reducing them to four strong (but they refused to run this time).

Combat would be decisive, as the BSB inflicted one casualty, the Eternal Guard fluffed their attacks to inflict only one more casualty, but the Treekin rescued the situation by inflicting another four. In return, the Saurus slew four Eternal Guard while managing no wounds on the Treekin. The combat was massively in my favour, with the Saurus losing by seven - against such odds, the Saurus (and accompanying Slann) broke and were subsequently caught by the Treekin, while the Eternal Guard reformed to face the Stegadon.

Wood Elf T3 Movment (right)
Wood Elf T3 Movement (left)
End of WE T3
Lizardmen T4

With Paul's two biggest (and most expensive) units shattered, things were looking up for the Wood Elves but it wasn't over yet by a long shot. The Stegadon began the fourth turn by ploughing into the Eternal Guard, and I knew I was in for a world of pain after the Eternal Guard suffered a similar fate in the last game. Unfortunately, I'd also left another charge opportunity open for Paul as the Treekin had pursued the Saurus and ended up right in front of the rallied Cold Ones, who now pounced on the Treekin's flank. The two Skink units on the right flank advanced and began shooting the remaining Glade Guard, with six casualties inflicted.The Panic test was failed, and the Glade Guard fled 5" away from the Skinks.

Combat saw the Treekin striking first and inflicting two casualties on the Cold Ones, but the Scar Veteran inflicted four wounds on his own. The Treekin naturally fled, but the remaining Cold One and Scar Veteran failed to catch the last tree. Elsewhere, the Stegadon mashed nine of the Eternal Guard while they managed two in return. Thanks to being Stubborn, the Eternal Guard held.

Lizardmen T4 Movement (right)
Lizardmen T4 Movement (left)
Wood Elf T4

Deciding they'd had enough of playing with Skinks, the Dryads, Eagle and Scouts began to move across the battlefield towards the bigger Skink units. The Treekin continued to flee, while the Glade Guard rallied. Combat saw the Eternal Guard suffer another six casualties, but they again managed two wounds in return. Just one more wound needed! Again, the Eternal Guard held thanks to the BSB.

Lizardmen T5

Very little movement for the Lizardmen (with very little left on the table!), although the Cold One and Scar Veteran reformed to face the Stegadon-Eternal Guard combat. The Skinks took two wounds off the Eagle and killed two of the Scouts, while the remaining Glade Guard were blown away completely. Finally, the Eternal Guard managed to inflict the final wound on the Stegadon and reformed to face the Cold Ones.

End of Lizardmen T5
Wood Elf T5

In a bit of a gamble, the Eternal Guard charged the Cold One and Scar Veteran while the Dryads and Eagle both charged the Chameleon Skinks. Unfortunately the Dryads failed the charge and the Eagle (as expected) lost its last wound to the Stand & Shoot. The Scouts shot the depleted Skink unit again and managed to get them running again.

Combat saw the Eternal Guard kill the last Cold One, but the Scar Veteran passed his Break test (just!) and held, much to my dismay.

Lizardmen T6

The reduced Skink unit kept fleeing, just in time for Paul's reserves to finally find the table top (he kept forgetting them!) Elsewhere, the collective remaining Skink units killed two Scouts and four Dryads.

Combat saw the Scar Veteran re-find his form and kill four Eternal Guard, although they held thanks to the BSB again.

The Dryads face off against the Skinks - End of Lizardmen T6

Wood Elf T6

In the final turn of the game, the Dryads finally managed to catch another Skink unit, winning by four and catching the rest of the fleeing unit.

Elsewhere, the Eternal Guard finally succumbed to the Scar Veteran's crazy number of attacks, leaving the BSB alone to pass his Break test (on the second try).

Beginning of Wood Elf T6

~ ~ ~ 

In the end, the loss of the Eternal Guard in the final turn resulted in a nearly-400 point swing in Paul's favour. The final VPs ended up at 1680VPs for me against Paul's 1776VPs - a certain draw by any standards, with less than 100VPs between us. Given the mistakes I made, and the couple of lucky rolls I got during the game, I'm happy with a Draw - after the first couple of turns, it's a better result than I was expecting. 

So what to do better next time? Firstly, deployment - it was silly to place all my unarmoured shooty units all together and across from the most likely position for Paul to place his troops (i.e. the big open space). It was equally silly to place my two main units (the Eternal Guard and Treekin) so far apart, and so far away from the majority of my army. 

On that note, I also really need to keep in mind the synergy of the list - how it's meant to work, and how to play to maximise the strengths of the list. The Eternal Guard and Treekin are meant to work in concert as the army's hammer and anvil, with the Dryads providing flankers and the Glade Guard providing mobile missile fire. This game basically saw me set up a bowline (which isn't how the list should be played) and saw me deploy my Treekin and Eternal Guard so far out of it that they couldn't support either each other or the rest of the army (which isn't how the list should be played!) 

Ultimately, I think I did well (and got lucky) to get a draw out of the game. Still, at least I can see the areas where I'm going wrong. The next step is doing something about them!

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