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Lost colony in 9th age - 2500 vs. VC 
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Assassin
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:53 am
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Lost Colony versus HE Outcasts

Greetings,

something is going to happen in this long-neglected blog again! On friday, using Universal Battles, I had the pleasure to play against no one else than the renowned Swordmaster of Hoeth, one of the best reporters on the internet, a long-time proponent of MSU and a pretty good player. And to make it even more interesting, we were using the 9th age rules.

As it is Swordmaster who is preparing the diagrams, the colours are different than usual. Also, this battle report will be published in several steps, giving you time to guess what will happen next.

9th age

You can find their website here: http://www.the-ninth-age.com

This is one of the projects that aims to do new rules now that Games Workshop seems to have abandoned fantasy. However, it seems (to me at least) to be one that attracts the most international attention and that has the most ambition. Unlike other attempts that are mostly about staying in the Old World and revising WHFB 8th, these guys are aiming to escape from the waters of GW intellectual property and create a whole new world. The beta version of their rules should be out on the 11th of September, along with temporary armybooks for every race. Shortly, full armybooks will be made, based on playtesting and feedback.

Some of the important changes in rules are (borrowed from SmithF from Asrai.org):

- Spears: they now give KB against cavalry/monstrous cav. when engaged to the front; a good change and pretty representative of what spears did in classical warfare.
- Lores of Magic: reworked, with new spells replacing old and never used ones, and 6th spells slightly toned down (more on this later)
- Magic System: Miscast table reworked, the results vary based on how many dice were used to cast. Irresistible force now adds a big bonus to the casting roll, but can still be dispelled. Maximum casting dice = 5.
- Fast cavalry: units were split in pure fast cavalry that can vanguard (such as Reavers, Pistoliers, Spider Riders and the such) and Light Troops that retain the old fast cavalry rules in terms of movement/reforms but not the feigned flight or the vanguard option (such as Wild Riders, Warlocks, Pegasus Knights).
- Parry save: this was upped to 5+ in an effort to increase the use and survivability of Sword and Board infantry; a good change, if you ask me, and another reason to try and flank these infantry blocks!
- Marks of Chaos were also changed, mainly Nurgle (now forces rerolls on 6's to hit, making it better against poison but worse against regular attacks) and Tzeentch (the 6+ ward doesn't stack, but comes with a built-in re-roll 1's mechanism)
- Killing Blow: works on everything, but now only causes a single wound without armour saves on any unit type that was previously immune to it; infantry and cavalry now get D3 wounds instead of getting instantly killed. Good change, my wardancers are happy! (and better all-around troops now)

Other notable changes are slight points tweaks and nerfing of the worst offenders (Banner of The World Dragon, Chalice of Darkness, Storm Banner and the such) and a brand new Army Book for Beastmen!

Other changes, revealed in the sneak peaks from the rules, are changes to the way monstrous mounts work. Basically, there are two categories of mounts now:
- small mounts (like a manticore) work exactly like a pegasus with the exception that they do not give a +1 to armour save
- big mounts (like a dragon) make the defensive equipment of rider redundant as the enemy always attacks the monster
In both cases, the rider and mount die simultaneously. So for example, a sorceress on manticore has T5 W4, the manticore base, her ward protects her mount as well, but once the four wounds are down, both manticore and sorceress die.

Chariots now work exactly like small mounts IIRC – so you can have a dreadlord with T5, 4++ ward and D6+1 impact hits. Or a really sturdy death hag on cauldron.

My list

Well, I have tried MSU before but I had only limited success. It might have been my lack of skill, the armies I fought or just bad luck but too often, my executioners were being slaughtered even when charging a scar-veteran in the flank or fighting skullcrushers. Their largest problem is hitting their target – they might go on 3+ against most foes but out of 10 attacks, it is easy for them to only score, say, four hits. If this happens, or if the opponent rolls well for armour saves, the poor elves are facing a grim and very short future. One solution would be to give them more attacks but that is not that easy (it needs a bound spell from cauldron, a designated hero acompanying them or timewarp, there are no other possibilities as far as I know). Another would be to use other units to fight those armoured guys but they have their own problems. So in the recent monts, I was either playing them in horde or not at all.

However, the 9th age beasts magic offers one more chance to revive this idea. Under this system, the lore attribute is actually an additional spell that is cast whenever a normal spell goes through. In case of beasts magic, this spell can give a friendly unit either +1 attack or +1 strength. And it does not have to be the target of the original spell.

My friends, this is huge. It means that at least one combat buff is guaranteed. You might not know you can force through the wildform but you can rely on getting off something – and that something can give you quite a powerful buff as a side effect. Executioners with 15 attacks instead of 10 are more likely to produce at least, say, 6 hits. Warlocks with S5 can suddenly attempt to fight armoured units.

By the way, under the new rules, killing blow ignores armour and inflicts d3 wounds on cavalry and infantry. So one more buff for executioners facing monstrous cavalry.

So the basic idea for the army was set – beasts magic, MSU infantry and some support. Spears are now hopefully usefull again as they have killing blow against some foes at least. I wanted my sorceress to fly – she wants to throw amber spears in the flank of cavalry units, give herself (or another suitable model) a breath weapon (new version of Transformation of Kadon) and be close enough to buff anyone who needs it. That requires some mobility! Besides, with the combined profile, T5 W4 is not that bad. Her equipment is not ideal I fear, I have misinterpreted the new rules for ridden monsters, but who cares, a healing potion is cool.

And the BSB... well, she is a very sturdy model with high strength attacks that can buff near models significantly, what is not to like? She still only moves like an infantryman and is quite big so using her correctly is not easy. I am not sure without going through the pictures but I think this is an area where my play could have been improved quite a lot.

The enemy


Any unit can be dangerous if used right but the following threats were the most immediate:

His shooting that can kill my poor T3 unarmoured elves very quickly. I wanted to avoid being shot at by staying out of range and to kill his shooters with bolt throwers if possible. They have a big advantage in range so it should hopefully work. My other shooters could help too, of course, but their impact would be limited. In normal case (long range, move, multishot, no cover), dark riders have 10 shots hitting at 6+ and shades 10 shots hitting at 5+. They are not bad but expecting one squad of DR and one of shades to win against 15 archers would be too much I fear.

Here we come to another rules change: volley fire now allows a unit to ignore interfering units (if not moving I think). Therefore, while screening a unit with shades who are hard to shoot at might be generally a good idea it does not work against archers.

The other big threat are dragon princes whose role was surely to race forwards as fast as possible and destroy my bolt throwers. I had to prevent this as without RBTs, I would have little options how to kill the opposing shooters and would be going to be shot to bits. However, this goal is not straightforward. They survive RBT fire quite well (and until Turn 2 or 3 I thought they had 1+ armour, making me reluctant to aim shots at them). Executioners can be effective against them but only if they survive their attacks. So it was mostly a job for my heroes to counter them. Or for warlocks with doombolt or boosted strength.

Other units were not something I was thinking about too much in the beginning. Reavers and eagles will be hiding anyway before being assigned their task and the close combat infantry is slow. And will die horribly against my witches, spears and warlocks at least. Not that they are not dangerous, they are, but before I will have to worry about them, the situation will change quite a bit.

Spells

As Swordmaster explains on his blog on Ulthuan.net:

Wyssan’s Wildform - casting values 10+/13+; range 12"/24", Augment, Temporary; Target has +1 Strength and +1 Toughness

The Amber Spear
- casting values 9+/15+; range 24", Hex, Missile, Damage, Instant; Target suffers 1 strength 6/10 hit with multiple wound (D3/D6), no armour saves allowed. Penetrates ranks like bolt throwers.

The Curse of Anraheir - casting values 10+/13+, range 36"/72", Hex, Temporary, Target has -1 to hit (shooting and close combat), and treat all terrain (including open ground) as dangerous terrain, and fails dangerous terrain tests on 1 and 2.

Transformation of Kadon - casting values 13+/15+, Cater, range 12", Augment, Focused, Temporary, Target get one of following effects (choose onewhen spell is cast):
Aspect of Hydra: +2 Attack and Regeneration
Aspect of Chimera: +3 Strength, 4+ Scaly Skin
Aspect of Manticore: +4 Initiative, Killing Blow
Aspect of Dragon: +3 Weapon Skill, Strength 4, Flaming Breath Weapon

Lore Attribute - Range 18”, Focused, Augment; Temporary, Target has +1 Strength or +1 Attack. (choose which when the the attribute is cast)

As you can see there are some interesting changes to the Lore of Beast. The lore attribute in particular can turn units into killing machines. Imagine Wild form and Lore Attribute augmenting a unit at the same time. Transformation of Kadon is great because now you are getting an aspect instead of trying to get the monster in some tight situation and it can be cast on something else not only the caster her/himself.

EDIT: As a reader kindly pointed out, we played the lore attribute incorrectly as it can only buff a single model. Pity.

Deployment


Image

Deployment order:

1. Dark Riders (DR1) - Ellyrian Reavers (ER1)
2. Dark Riders (DR2) - Ellyrian Reavers (ER2)
3. Bolt Throwers - Great Eagle (GE1)
4. Dreadspears - Great Eagle (GE2)
5. Executioners (E1) - Sisters of Avelorn
6. Executioners (E2) - Sea Guard
7. Warlocks - Dragon Princes (DP1)
8. Witch Elves - Dragon Princes (DP2)
9. Characters - Rest of the Army

Scouts:

10. Shades

Vanguards

11. Dark Riders (DR2) - Ellyrian Reavers (ER2)
12. Dark Riders (DR1)
The army Swordmaster has is awful in this regard. His first four drops reveal almost nothing (I thought the eastern reavers were a bit to the back because of scouts). Then he continued with two shooting units behind the hill which is a decision that still only says a little – and while I suspected the loremaster might go in the sea guard and the BSB will hide behind the hill it still said nothing about dragon princes. So I was putting my regiments down blindly more or less.

First of all, I wanted my RBTs out of range of opposing archers as a volley of 15 shots could with some luck destroy them. I was not happy about having to shoot through a forest all the time but better this than being destroyed turn 2. Besides, I expected dragon princes (or other units) to attack them as quickly as possible and wanted to have time to deal with them. If deployed more forwards, they could have been charged turn 2 in theory. And they had to be spread because otherwise, getting in cover or out of range would have been considerably easier for enemy units.

A spread deployment meant more difficult protection, however. The eastern flank was easy as I knew my heroes will be deployed behind the house anyway, to avoid bolt throwers shooting their way. I had to protect the western flank with spears, though, and they had to be either in the water or to the west of it. I thought that while they will probably be out of the game for quite a time after being deployed so far to the side, keeping my backline safe is worth it and they might be able to march to the middle and flank charge something.

The thoughts about executioners 1 were similar – I needed something to intercept a possible attempt to get behind my lines and I needed this something to stay out of range of the opposing shooters.

Otherwise, I was just trying to stay in cover and out of range (which I did not achieve entirely) and to have some means to intercept enemy attack, should it come. I am not convinced about the position of the cauldron, it should have probably been operating alone and amybe it should have been controlling the area to the east of the rocks but I am really not sure. Being in a unit protect the BSB from single shots. There is not that much space behind the house to hide her as well as the sorceress.

All things considered, I am relatively satisfied with my deployment. Swordmaster surely has an advantage here as his units can support each other better but that could have hardly been avoided given his advantage in cheap drops. I had something to destroy or at least keep busy his archers and enough regiments to stop the attack that was likely to come on the eastern flank.

Outcasts - turn 1

Image

The High Elves waited for nothing and mounted an attack. Their shooters climbed the hill and rained quite a few arrows on my shades. The western bolt thrower was extremely effective against my spearmen, killing four or maybe even more. Dragon princes advanced on the eastern flank, their back guarded by swordmasters. They were still relatively cautious, though.

Magic Phase Details
(as written by Swordmaster):

Winds of Magic: 2,5 --> 8-6 (one channel each)
Miasma at BT2, BS: 1,6 + 2 = 9, no dispel attempt, d3=1 --> -1
2d6 Fireball at BT4: 4,5,6 + 2 = 17, dispel attempt successful on the roll of 2,2,4,6,6
Earthing Blood, Bubble: 1,3,3 + 2 = 11, failed to cast

Lost Colony, Turn 1


Image

My main objective for the opening turns was to neutralize the enemy shooters. To this end, spears moved towards archers, shades and dark riders attacked a bolt thrower and RBTs all aimed on sisters on the hill. The result of my shooting was diappointing but still, the western bolt thrower was wounded and a few sisters died.

Second, I had to stop the attack of dragon princes. As they were relatively far back still, though, I still had to guard both paths arround the impassable. On the other hand, I had some time to adjust my formation still. My cauldron should have maybe left the executioners to give me more options later, though. Not sure about this.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 1,4 --> 5:4
Amber Spear at DP2: 1,5,6 + 4 = 16, no dispel attempt --> lore attribute: +1A for Executioners --> 1 dead Dragon Prince
Wildform at Shades in the Woods: 1,6 + 4 = 11, dispelled on the roll of 1,4,6,6

Outcasts, Turn 2


Image

The attack continued, the dragon princes were now close enough to attack the bolt thrower. Notice how the swordmasters are guarding landing spots behind the cavalry. The eagle redirected my cauldron executioners in such a way that a lone cauldron was unable to charge out as the original unit was in the way.

Shooting was reasonably successful with the dark riders on the west destroyed completely. I was quite lucky, though, when the loremaster miscast and blew up a nice number of sea guards. Less shooters for me to care about! I could have actually tried to dispell as under the 9th age rules, a miscast only adds a significant bonus to the casting roll (d3 + number of power dice used) but we only remembered too late.

Magic Phase Details:


Winds of Magic: 6,6 --> 12-7 (one channel for DE)
3d6 Fireball at Sorceress: 2,3,6,6,6 , no dispel attempt --> 3d6 = 10 hits --> 3 wounds, 2 saved

Miscast result: 8 sea guards dead, loremaster wounded, 5 power dice lost.

Lost Colony, Turn 2

Image

I knew the shooters were about to be destroyed so I could dare to fly out with the sorceress to attempt some amber spears in the flank of dragon princes. Granted, a bit bold as one of the bolt throwers was able to shoot her way.

On the west, I continued my attack against the shooting base. I god very lucky as the shades were able to destroy the bolt thrower, panicking the nearby archers.

Witch elves marched forwards, eager to chop down some swordmasters or white lions.

The difficult question was how to stop the attack on the eastern flank. In the end, I decided to guard my RBT with warlocks. (I could have moved it but I really wanted to shoot as much as possible that turn - I had a chance to kill the loremaster after all.) I knew I had enough augments to make them on par with dragon princes.

Shooting was indeed effective, killing the sisters and sea guard to a man. The loremaster survived but that would be asking too much I fear.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 3,3 --> 7:3 (one channel for DE)
Amber Spear at DP1: 2,3,4 + 4 = 13, dispelled on the roll of 2,3,6 + 2 = 13
Wildform at Warlocks: 1,4,5,6 + 4 = 20, no dispel attempt (Edit: With (incorrectly played) lore attribute they are now S6 T4)

Outcasts, Turn 3

Image

Great eagle failed a charge on my RBT (needing 6 or something similarly laughable). The flanking force advanced carefully. I could have either attacked the reavers and suffer retaliation from both dragon princes units and the BSB, or waited and tried to deter the attack in some other way.

Elsewhere, the HE retreated from the centre. Archers rallied.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 4,5 --> 9:5 (no channels)
Burning Gaze at Sorceress: 2,3 + 2 = 7 --> no dispel attempt --> d6 = 2 --> 1 wound, no save
2d6 Fireball: 1,3,3 + 2 = 9, failed to cast
Miasma at Dark Riders: 5,6 = 11, dispelled on the roll 4,6,6 + 4 = 20
Earthblood: 2,6 = 8, dispelled on the roll 3,5 + 4 = 12

Lost Colony, Turn 3

Image

Here, I did some mistakes. My plan was to retreat slightly, shoot down the eagle and the reavers and slow down the enemy approach with warlocks. The cauldron was positioned to counterattack. There would have been no way to escape my BSB for anything charging the warlocks – the charger could maybe overrun off the board but the death hag would have just waited for him or he could get stalled by the RBT or warlocks themselves, exposing himself.

However, shades could shoot nothing as the cauldron obscured the view (under 9th Age, if something large is in the way, monster, cavalry or so, you or your target have to be at least as large to have line of sight). Combined with dark riders needing 6s to hit and some not so great rolling, the eagle survived.

To the south, the sorceress killed an entire unit of dragon princes with small amber spear. Lucky me. Infantry regiments closed in to threaten the loremaster.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 1,2 --> 4:2 (one channel for DE)
Amber Spear at Dragon Princes: 1,4,5 + 4 = 14, no dispel attempt --> all unit dead
Frenzy bound spell from the Cauldron: 2, failed to cast

Outcasts, Turn 4

Image

The remaining dragon princes and BSB charged my warlocks who to my surprise fought well and held. The safety of attackers was assured by a redirecting eagle. This is why I really should have shot it down.

Furthermore, Swordmaster noticed his swordmasters can attack the executioners in the flank. I thought I had to stay because I did not want them to redirect in my sorceress. Fleeing with her was unacceptable as she would have maybe fled in the charge arc of that infamous eagle.

The other eagle redirected my witch elves who were otherwise in perfect position to help the sorceress after the executioners get inevitably butchered.

The loremaster-swordmasters failed their charge. In the ensuing combat, I managed to kill all the reavers that were sent there just to be sure and the swordmasters champion fell as well; however, the executioners were broken and nine swordmasters overran in contact with the sorceress.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 1,6 --> 7-7 (channel for DE)
Iceshard at Executioners (E2): 1,1,2 + 2 = 6, failed to cast

Lost Colony, Turn 4

Image

My options were limited. Both witches and BSB killed an eagle at least; the overrun of cauldron was stopped by dark riders while witches were carried out of position. Warlocks finally fell, meaning the enemy battle standard bearer and dragon princes will be able to move freely next turn. I would have prefered them to die one turn sooner – then, I would have been able to shoot at the victors with them unable to hide.

I was at least successful on the west where spearmen finally reached and destroyed the archers. To be honest, I do not understand why Swordmaster did not move them the turn before: by backing a bit, they would have been further than 5 inches from me, allowing a stand and shoot. The spearmen victory would have been very likely nevertheless but it would have given him a chance at least.

The most important question of this turn was, however, what will happen with my sorceress. Basically, without buffs she was dead but I had one magic phase to save her. Transformation of Kadon (dragon breath to kill lots of swordmasters before they strike) got dispelled and then I miscast on wildform and lost all remaining dice. I should have probably cast soulblight on the swordmasters instead, the result would have been very similar but miscast for warlocks works differently. It would have allowed one more buff.

As it stood, the sorceress suffered three wounds and only killed a few swordmasters. This was bad.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 4,6 --> 10:6
Transformation of Kadon, Dragon Aspect: 1,2,4,5 + 4 = 16, dispelled with the roll of 1,1,2,2,3,5 + 2 = 16
Wildform on herself: 2,6,6, no dispel attempt --> Overwhelming power result: 4,5 = 9 --> 3 dice lost, no further effect

Outcasts, Turn 5

Image

Dragon princes charged a bolt thrower, the BSB hid behidn the rock. White lions chased away the fleeing executioners and ensured they will not affect the battle anymore.

There was no shooting or magic to speak of but in combat, the sorceress was killed, according to expectations. Furthermore, the two remaining dragon princes failed to defeat the bolt thrower crew but they reformed so that the death hag could not see them by jumping on the other side of the RBT. This move is not legal in 9th Age anymore but we had no idea at the moment.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 1,5 --> 7:5 (one channel for HE)
Burning Gaze at Witch Elves: 1,1 + 2 = 4, failed to cast
2d6 Fireball: 2,3,6 = 11, dispelled on a roll of 1,1,5,6 + 4 = 17
Earthblood 1,2 = 3, failed to cast

Lost Colony, Turn 5

Image

Executioners tried a long charge on the swordmasters (I think) – as the swordmasters were already reduced, they had a good chance to beat them up and overrun in the BSB, holding him in place and allowing my own death hag to challenge him to an epic duel. Or even killing him themselves with their S6 hatred attacks. They failed, though.

Witch Elves charged white lions. This was probably a mistake as there was a very high probability of the HE to flee to safety. Maybe I should have turned them to face the swordmasters for a turn 6 charge. Not sure. Anyway, the lions were really really slow and the girls caught them.

The picture suggests I also moved a RBT further from the dragon princes. I actually think I forgot to do so. In any case, it was a reasonable thing to do as now the dragon princes fulfilled expectations and destroyed the RBT, ready to charge further.

Shooting was not spectacular and there was no meaningful magic with both sorceress and warlocks dead.

Magic Phase Details:


Winds of Magic: 3,4 --> 7:5 (channel for HE)
Frenzy bound spell at Executioners: 3,4,4,5,6 = 22, dispelled on a roll of 2,4,4,5,6 + 2 = 23

Outcasts, Turn 6

Image

The dragon princes first charged my dark riders who fled and killed themselves in the forest; then they redirected in my RBT, destroyed it and overran in another.

HE bolt thrower evaded my witches. The gryphon riding BSB charged my shades and executioners who both fled. Swordmasters redirected the cauldron.

There was no shooting and magic failed... again.

Magic Phase Details:

Winds of Magic: 3,6 --> 9:6
Burning Gaze at Shades: 3,3,3 + 2 = 11, no dispel attempt --> d6 = 2, 1 wound
d6 Fireball 1,1 + 2 = 4, failed to cast
Searing Doom at Executioners: 5,5,6 + 2 = 18, no dispel attempt --> d6 = 2, no wounds

Lost Colony, Turn 6

Image

The death hag destroyed the swordmasters with impact hits only. Two fleeing units rallied, two continued their run. Dragon princes destroyed the third bolt thrower.

The Outcast BSB was in prime position to get in single combat with the death hag on cauldron. She looked at him provocatively but he turned tail and left the field.

In the end, the point difference was something like 20 points in my favour so I am labelling it a glorious and triumphant victory! :D

After-battle thoughts

Well, given the predictions, especially the ones given on Ulthuan.net, I actually fared quite well. :)

The biggest mistake was of course allowing Swordmaster to hunt down my sorceress. Not much to say abot this, it was just a flank charge I did not see.

I also did not handle ideally stalling the eastern flank attack, as discussed earlier. On the other hand, it still took quite a while to breach through and Swordmaster only destroyed three bolt throwers and warlocks that way so it was probably not that bad.

I think my general plan worked quite well; not sure how much was it the result of deployment and strategy and how much of Swordmaster's miscast. In any case, I do not see what could have been done significantly better.

9th Age impressions

Well, this was not really the 9th Age, we have been using preliminary rules. Under 9th Age, some quite important changes have been made:

- no more ASF, elves have +1 to hit instead unless wielding a GW
- this also means that most of elves strike at initiative 5 but ahw gives +1 to ini and some (black guard, wardancers and such) have I6
- reworked magic as you have seen; irresistible force gives a big bonus to the roll but does not prevent dispelling; similarly,the impact of miscasts has been reduced somewhat when casting on a low number of dice
- you can deploy as many units as you wish in one go, whenever you like; after putting the last hero on the table, you say if you attempt to go first or second and then receive +1 for *each* unit your opponent has remaining, meaning that if you finish early enough, you will both know for sure who will go first
- units have been adjusted: black guard and harpies cheaper, warlocks for 25 points without magic or for 195 with the champion working as a lvl2
- and probably quite a few things I am not remembering right now

Give it a try, it is quite fun.

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Last edited by Marchosias on Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:06 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:40 pm
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Interested to see how this plays out, I'm honestly surprised you didn't want to try your high elves (from the Druchii tournament). High elves have gotten some fantastic buffs out of the new upgrades.

Archmage on Stardragon. T7,W7, and I'm assuming that the dragon doesn't have to worry about auto-kill initiative tests as much anymore since test will done only with mage's initiative. (We played template on ridden dragon, was test by dragon and rider separately).
Prince on griffon. Griffons are great with the new rules (T5 4W), get the rider's ward save and have 5 str 6 attacks with ASF (with initiative 5) when they charge and killing blow only does 1 wound against these guy if I understand it correctly.
High elf spearmen are arguably one of best spear infantry in the game (with martial prowess) so the new spear rules are great for them.
Additionally like you mentioned, new bow rules help out high elves archers, since they can now shoot without any penalties for intervening units causing cover to hit penalties.


Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:31 pm
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Well, I am still a Dark Elf player. ;) I will try some other race from time to time to get a perspective but those are only temporary detours. :)

Quite a lot of possibilities have opened, indeed. The archmage on star dragon is one. A grifon prince might be strong but so is a manticore dreadlord with CoT. Spears are as vulnerable as before and getting them in combat with the monstrous cavalry would be non-trivial, though. I suppose they could be quite strong when protecting a shooting army but a horde of 50 spears eats most of your core points. Once you take two units of reavers you will be above the minimum 600 points in a 2400 battle. But then the question is if having archers in core and lions as counter-charge would not be better.

This is all quite premature, though. Points costs will be changing, together with statlines and special rules. For now, I just want to test wacky ideas. A flying sorceress able to breath on something each turn is one of them. :) Executioners with zillion attacks is another. Who knows, maybe 1+ armour walls will be toned down enough for me to stop fearing them.

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Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:17 pm
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It seems your fellow Druchii players are reluctant to place the bets, Marchosias :) Who would have thought they would be so shy :mrgreen:

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Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:38 am
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Remember that the beast signature spell is a "focused" spell:

"Focused
With a “Focused” spell only single models can be
chosen as targets. This can be either be a unit
which consists out of a single model or a single
model inside a unit (including characters). If the
target is a multi-part model, only one of the parts
is targeted."

So it doesnt affect the entire unit, but a single model :)


Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:22 pm
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Thanks a lot Mikael.k! Seems like we were too enthusiastic about 9th Age and decided to distribute lore attribute to everybody for free :)

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Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:25 pm
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So I haven't taken a deep look at 9th, so I am going to base my bets on the deployment and lists (as far as I can work them out) from past experience.

Therefore I am going for a DE 12-8 win.

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Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:22 pm
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I am going for 6-14 loss for Marchosias, I've spent countless hours reading Swordmasters reports and he truly mastered the MSU tactics a long time ago. I fear because of his experience, list and deployment Swordmaster will be able to push through your lines and take out the Cauldron. I hope you prove me wrong!

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Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:18 pm
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Swordmaster of Hoeth wrote:
Thanks a lot Mikael.k! Seems like we were too enthusiastic about 9th Age and decided to distribute lore attribute to everybody for free :)


No worries, takes some time getting used to all these new terms, but we´ll get there :) Great fun to read these new 9th age reports! :)


Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:08 pm
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@ Lord Drakon: Well, I am aware Swordmaster is a far better player than me when implementing MSU tactics. However, this can be mitigated somewhat if one is cautious enough. Not that I claim I managed to do so. :) I just think that there are far better ways how to bleed me points than to kill this overpowered cauldron. :)

@ Amboadine:
Finally someone who trusts me! :D

@ Mikael.k:
Dammit. I was wondering if this attribute is not a bit too strong. Back to the drawing board then, I suppose. Thanks for pointing out, though.

Anyway, first two turns are up. :)

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Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:14 am
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Hi guys,

Many thanks for comments and for Marchosias for updating the report! I think it is a good formula when the report is posted in stages as it can be a really good exercise in trying to predict the outcome or even better, suggest the alternatives we as players missed!

We also hoped to hear some more reasoning for particular bets or even more comments on the deployment. With two armies that have quite a substantial amount of troops and distinct strengths and weaknesses, even the deployment itself can be done in many different ways.

I hope you guys enjoy the report so far as it is clear Marchosias is getting an upper hand and what can be better than beating up some weak HE :-P

As to the game itself I believe I made a big mistake with Sea Guard and Sisters. I thought I might inflict some damage when I got lucky to get first turn. Unfortunately for me, I could not reach many targets while I exposed my two units that could hurt the enemy at the distance.

I should have moved Sea Guard just on the slope so that they would benefit from cover (in 9th Age you can do that) and simply cast spells first. And move in turn 2 to shoot at the units that got closer to my lines.

Cheers!

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Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:48 pm
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Excellent Battle Report so far. I am also really looking forward to 9th Age rules. Also big thumps up to Swordmaster for posting here. Always nice to have both contenders available for a chit-chat.
Based on what I have seen so far, I would predict a close outcome with the better ending for Marchosias. A great deal because of the miscast and disastrous result on the Seaguard it had.

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Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:40 pm
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I wonder how did that battle end :)

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Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:22 pm
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Swordmaster of Hoeth wrote:
I wonder how did that battle end :)


I read the end on your plog :) Good game.

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Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:45 pm
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Well, I know the delay was LONG and I apologize for that... but I have good news, the full report is now online! :D

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Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:08 am
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Lost colony vs. Entombed Dynasties - 2400 points, 9th Age

This is the first game I had under the full 9th age rules so I hope there were not too many rules mistakes.

Lost Colony

lvl4 light, pegasus, midnight cloak, MR(1), dispel scroll: 350

lvl 2, essence of free mind: 165
witch mistress BSB, glittering cuirass, screaming swords: 135 (-1 to be hit, causes fear)

2x5 dark horsemen, crossbows, shields: 2x 110
12 blood witches, FCG, flaming banner: 172
20 spearmen, FCG, heavy armour: 210

5 shadow raiders, ahw: 85
10 tower guards, FCG: 160
12 executioners, FCG: 186
2x 5 harpies: 2x 70
3x bolt thrower: 3x 80

3 medusas: 210
5 dark art apprentices (warlocks): 125

First I have to say that the intention of this list is trying new toys rather than finding the most overpowered roster.

As the first concept to try I wanted to experiment with MSU elite infantry in some way. As the new elves do not have rerolls anymore - they only get +1 to hit if not wielding a great weapon, and strike at their own initiative even if fighting with one - I am somewhat worried how they can fare in close combat. Too often I witnessed my executioners to fail 60% of their 3+ to hit rolls, my opponent being a bit lucky with armour saves and subsequently destroying the unit in a terrible manner. If other races roll badly in combat they are usually cheap or numerous enough to absorb damage but if elves roll badly, they just die. This is one reason for light magic - WS10, +1 atack or -1 to be hit can all help quite a bit in this regard. And making everything M10 is quite nice as well. A sorceress on foot would probably be better but who cares. A flying one is better at denying points and getting in range at least.

Essence of free mind on the lvl2 allows her to choose her school of magic on the spot, according to the enemy. It eats the whole magic item allowance, though, costing 50 points for hero level casters nad 100 for lords. On a lvl2 it allows to round up the magic phase nicely, though, choosing metal if against something heavily armoured, light against undead, fire against avoidance armies. Worth a try at least.

Other units in short:
- tower guard has many S4 AP attacks at high initiative - excellent against infantry, reasonable against armour
- executioners have GW so no bonus to hit but they have multiple wounds (2) which really boosts their damage output
- dark art apprentices are without magic in this roster; they would need to purchase a champion for 70 points who acts as a lvl2 mage
- witches are slightly worse now, no rerolls means less hits and less poisons but hopefully they can still work as before
- medusas are now quite cool - three S5 armour piercing attacks each + frenzy. And Ld8 finally. The weird initiative things are no more.

Entombed Dynasties

lvl4, Sands, Dispel Scroll, Gem of Fortune 265

Engineer on Sand Snake: General, HA, Shield, Lance, Golden Mask 195

4x Chariots: Standard, Flame Banner 200
4x Chariots: Standard 190
30 Archers: FCG 210

10 Ushabti: Great Aspen Bows, Standard, Musician, Holy Icon 535
5 Pyramid Knights: Standard, Musician, Banner of Speed 310

Necrotitan: Massive Aspen Bow 160
Necrotitan: Massive Aspen Bow 160
Soul Colossus: 185

I had no time tu study the list of my opponent so I went into the battle more or less blind. I only knew - or thought I knew - the general aspects:
- their archers only hit on 5+, ignoring all modifiers. They are quite numerous, though, and can be augmented by a spell that gives them multiple shots (2). 60 shots, even if hitting on 5+, are dangerous.
- shabtis and colossi hit on 5+ as well but have high strength and multiple wounds. The sorceress should beware.
- shabtis are a good close combat unit as well, though, with three S5 attacks a piece
- chariots have lots of impact hits but are lackluster combatants otherwise
- the pyramid knights are good in combat but should be beatable without too much effort, they are no skullcrushers after all
- and I thought the colossi would be bad in combat. A big mistake.

Deployment

Image

We rolled normal deployment and breakthrough secondary objective - any player who has a unit with a banner in the opponents deployment zone at the end of the game gets additional VPs.

Palmu, my opponent, chose a random map from ETC 2013. One thing is imortant there: there are no hills or impassables in the center of the map, meaning I would be unable to approach with cover. I basically had two options. I could have tried to hide behind rocks and out of range, play a boring game and hope my bolt throwers can outshoot his colossi - risky given their T6 and the fact that the other shooters could advance as well, the shabtis have a range of 36 inches after all. Therefore, I chose the more interesting option and deployed directly opposite the undead, intending a full speed assault.

One more word to deployment: There was a point where Palmu had two units down I think and I was pretty sure he was about to castle around the hill. I contemplated the option to deploy all my units at once, securing first turn (9th Age: you deploy as many units as you like in one go and every unit your opponent has left after you deploy your last drop gives you +1 to the roll to start). However, I was worried that if I deployed across the hill, he could have put everything else on the opposite flank. I did not fancy being shot at from that direction with limited choice of targets directly opposite me so I decided to wait for one more drop - and in this drop, Palmu went all-in in turn. Not sure if my decision was right, maybe his shooters would have no good place to go anyway.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 1

Image

The force moved forwards a bit to get in range. Archers were too far anyway - I had ensured that with my deployment - but chariots and shabtis were able to shoot. Luckily, the casualties were not high.

To my surprise, the unit of pyramid knights with general moved forwards at full speed, even aided with a spell. Their intent was probably to eat my bolt throwers. It meant, however, they were exposed to a counterattack - and that they left the rest of the army unprotected. How to make the best use of it?

Lost Colony, Turn 1

Image

I charged the dark riders gainst chariots, convinced they could hold them up till my next turn. This opened the way for medusas to flank charge the unit of knights. Warlocks helped from the front. The rest of the army advanced towards the opposing shooters at full speed; only on the far east I moved slowlier so that chariots overrunning after destroying my dark riders would not hit any of my infantry units.

The pegasus sorceress remained in cover, not willing to risk all the multiple wounds shooting. This limited my options in magic but still, I managed to inflict a few wounds and boost the leadership of dark riders and the sorceress herself through lore attribute.

Shooting was concentrated on the western colossus as it was the only model not protected by a 5+ ward from a spell. I got lucky and destroyed it in one go.

The combats were, frankly, a disaster. Dark riders only inflicted one wound (horses saving the day), suffered 3 in return and broke from combat. The chariots pursued (unwillingly) and slammed right in my executioners. Not good. (I should have probably removed the models in a different order to make the chariots pursue in tower guard instead, executioners are more important in this match as they are able to deal with shabtis and colossi better.) Warlocks and medusas inflicted 5 combined wounds after not-so-spectacular rolling... and then I found out a tomb harbinger gives his unit hatred. Well, warlocks got killed and the last medusa broke from combat and was run down. Elves hitting worse than tomb kings are a sad sight.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 2

Image

Snakes failed their swift reform towards the centre. Quite lucky for me, it gave me more time to do something. The shooting base backed off slightly.

Shooting took down a unit of harpies - the remaining bird flew away lightning fast. Other casualties were minimal.

In combat, impact hits killed 7 executioners (I think) but the remaining 5 were enough to leave only one wound on the enemy. The last chariot slew an exec and then crumbled to dust. Still, this was a very favourable exchange for my opponent as the executioners are my best tool against all his constructs.

Lost Colony, Turn 2

Image

Everything advanced again, just the sorceress was staying hidden from all the nasty bows. Shades remained in the forest to get a better aim which I think was a mistake - they should have closed in and threatened with some flank charges. Executioners advanced towards the shabtis - they would no doubt die in combat with them but I hoped to inflict some serious damage first.

This turn I begun a barrage on the shabtis to reduce their number to a manageable size. The results were not always spectacular but every wound counts.

I also got through a bubble timewarp, granting every infantry unit M10.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 3

Image

No charges. Pyramid knights were march blocked and only shuffled a little. Chariots reformed to block the advance of my infantry, a colossus blocked my tower guard.

Shooting brought down the last few executioners.

Lost Colony, Turn 3

Image

Spearmen, witches and riders charged the blocking chariots. Tower guard did not want to face the T6 colossus so I reformed them with the intention to move them 10 inches somewhere safe. However, the swift reform was failed despite BSB reroll.

Shooting and magic combined reduced the shabtis to one rank. In combat, chariots were destroyed horribly. They still managed to kill a witch, though. Both witches and spearmen overran to get as far from the pyramid knigths as possible, the spearmen were blocked by riders, though. Maybe I should have not sent the cavalry in. Instead, they could have circled around the castle, shooting down a few archers or trying their luck with the colossus and threatening with a rear charge against the bunker. Or something.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 4


Image

The shabtis decided not to attack the buffed executioners and shot them to shreds instead.

The pyramid knights declared a charge against my tower guard and I decided to flee. There was no danger for me to go outside the board but a roll to rally on a 9 without reroll was to come, besides, the spearmen and riders had to test for panic (spearmen passed, riders did not), so this was not without risk. Hard to say what would have happened if I stayed. The tomb harbinger would survive as he would challenge and with hatred, the snakes would kill a lot even if only two would have been remaining so I consider my chances low. I might be mistaken, though.

In addition, the skeleton archers reformed to go around my witches. I stopped the movement spell, though, and so their flight did not carry them far enough.

Not sure what was the target of shooting, probably witches.

Lost Colony, Turn 4

Image

Witches charged the death priest bunker. Harpies flew up to march block the pyramid knights again; as they were march blocked themselves, though, the sorceress first flew towards them to give them her Ld. That exposed her to some shooting but I thought I should survive one round and then, she will hide behind the hill.

Spearmen advanced as far forwards as possible to escape the knights.

Some more shabtis were killed. Witches destroyed some skeletons but not nearly enough as only two were in contact. I slided them with a combat reform; I noticed the soul colossus there but considered it no big threat - it is a casting colossus, durable but a bad fighter, I thought. Mistake.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 5


Image

Two colossi charged and I witnessed how devastating they can be: not that many attacks on their own but thunderstomp and grinding attacks (D3 +2 hits on s6) meant my units were quickly melting away. Luckily, the tower guard champion survived so the unit kept stubborn and held; and two witches survived, too.

Pyramid knights turned north to claim the objective. The shabtis shot at shades as Palmu thought they had a banner and could contest his deployment zone in turn.

Lost Colony, Turn 5


Image

Last chance to kill the hierophant. Harpies charged the archers and I managed to buff them with timewarp. With 15 attacks hitting on 2+, they were actually quite a strong unit suddenly. Together with witches, they killed all remaining archers, and as the enemy only managed to kill two witches - there were no more remaining - the hierophant crumbled. Amazing!

Unfortunatelly, now the colossus easily killed my lvl2 sorceress, tower guard champion and BSB. This panicked the nearby spearmen regiment and made me unable to secure the objective. They also lost a full rank to dangerous terrain as fleeing through an enemy unit makes one fail on 1-3.

Entombed Dynasties, Turn 6

Image

The wounded wizard-colossus hid behind the hill, the pyramid knights went forwards to secure the territory. Otherwise, nothing important happened as far as I know.

Lost Colony, Turn 6

Image

In this round, I ideally wanted to kill a colossus or two and a at least one shabti to get that unit under quarter of its starting size and thus claim half the points for it. I did not realize, however, that the colossus on the hill was outside of bolt thrower range. Thus, I cast banishment on the shabtis (let through) and burning gaze on the wizard colossus which was dispelled. Or maybe it failed to wound as I was using the small version, hoping for a 6. This meant that in the end, I only got points for half the shabtis. It would have probably been better to cast both banishment and burning gaze on the colossi and let bolt throwers to finish the shabtis.

Spearmen failed to rally and that was it.

Summed up, we earned a similar number of victory points through casualties but Palmu also claimed the objective, ensuring him a slight win.

After-battle thoughts


Well, the ED shooting was in the end not as devastating as I have feared. Most casualties were caused by the colossi. Maybe I should have played the ranged game after all. Not sure, though, I could have easily lost all my bolt throwers turn 1. Would have been unlucky but not impossible.

Obviously, I did a mistake with my Turn 1 charges. I should have ignored the pyramid knights and raced forwards instead; they would have either eaten my bolt throwers and then found themselves horribly out of position, or the could have tried to reform, in which case I would have had lots of ways to redirect them at my disposal. The medusas would have probably died to shabtis soon after but they might have been able to do something first.

It would have also allowed me to redirect the western chariots instead of charging them and preserve a good number of executioners in doing so.

Entombed Dynasties opinions

Their shooting seems OK - strong enough to pose a threat even to monsters and knights but not game-winning in itself.

Shabtis might be a bit too much - the unit has 30 wounds and 30 attacks! - but they do not seem unbeatable. 3 medusas should inflict some 6 wounds and suffer 8 in return but it is a unit of half the points cost; two such units combined would destroy the constructs easily. 10 executioners inflict 10 wounds, maybe even 12. 10 shabtis are a bit more expensive than 30 blood witches or tower guards and both he latter units should destroy them easily. None of them can shoot or be healed as easily so this should cancel out.

However, I am worried about the colossi. They are very sturdy with T6 and the ability to be healed (or get a 5++ ward). They fight very well with 5 S6 attacks and d3+2 (or now, d3+1) grinding attacks. And while their biggest disadvantage is lack of mobility, most fliers were nerfed to flying move 7 or 8 and the sand kings usually do not move that much anyway so this factor is not that big. As a monster that crosses the board, they are fine; but as protectors of a firebase who will often be able to touch something through a corner, they could mean real trouble.
The bow is fine, the skeletons need some means to keep large monsters in check.
As a side note, I generally dislike autohits as they make weapon skill useless, together with most combat buffs from lore of light, for example.

On the other hand, I admit I am biased in my rant. The colossi still cannot survive a large enough number of attacks even if they come from goblins and can crumble if the opponent scores enough wounds elsewhere. It just seems to me that one needs significant investment to achieve this, far larger than the point cost of such a thing. I can be mistaken, I have only seen them once.

On a brighter note, I think I like the Entombed Dynasties. Now that they are able to march if close to the general and that they have several tough units (pyramid knights, sphinxes, colossi, maybe even pyramid guard), they might actually be able to form a solid aggressive force. Something worth testing I think. force. Which would be a very interesting turn of events.

Not sure what would happen if one tried to field a full gunline but it doesn't seem likely it would be worse than what Empire or Dwarfs can do.

Elves of Darkness opinions

Medusas are suddenly worth taking! Amazing! That being said, I am not sure what role are they supposed to fill in the army. There are already many things that wreck face in close combat. I would maybe like a boost to their shooting at the expense of their combat ability. On the other hand, medusas are faster than infantry and less vulnerable to certain weapons (low strength templates, mass damage spells) so even their current form is very nice.

Executioners are another unit I like. They are still infantry (= slow), die easily, will probably lose to tarpits such as zombies or to units with lots of low strength attacks such as witches - but they are insane if going against the right foe. 10-12 wounds against shabtis out of 10 guys, remember?

The loss of damage could be felt - warlocks did not roll well at least and ASF witches would have scored a some more wounds as well. The report also shows how fast elves die if something goes wrong - medusas, execs, witches, tower guard, apprentices, all those units only lasted one single round of unfavourable combat. And while elves deserve to die if they make mistakes, they are very vulnerable to bad luck as well. Executioners might be a perfect counter to a titan but if they fluff their attacks and do not kill it outright they will die horribly. This is why ASF was so important, it is a protection from bad rolls ruining the game. This is probably not the right place for this rant, though, so let's keep it here.

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Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:40 am
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A pleasure to read as usual. Great report, and nice to see some of the 9th Age changes in action. I have yet to use the rule set so it is good to see some good feedback on how Dark elves are fairing.

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Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:03 pm
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Nice to see 9th games being played! Two mistakes in your game/list I spotted:

1. Tower guards cannot flee from a charge as they are immune to psychology
2. Wizard cannot take midnight cloak as it is now magic armour, not enchanted item (forcing us to take a sorceress on foot)

Happy hunting!


Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:57 am
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Damn! Thank you very much for pointing out. A man is always learning...

Does this mean that a master with the midnight cloak has no benefit from armour and is thus capped at armour save 4+ or so? This would make him extremely fragile in any combat.

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Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:01 pm
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No, a (mounted) master will normally have 2+ armour (2 "points" better save for heavy armour, 1 for scaly skin, 1 for shield, 1 for mounted = 2+ armour save). But still not a very good protection. Could I propose a dreadlord build with cloak, dusk stone, lance and holy icon on a manticore? This way you have 2+ reroll armour save and 3+ ward against ranged, killing blow on both dreadlord and manti, and target must reroll wardsaves. This really goes through armour and kills single characters, but only charge things you can kill on The charge


Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:09 pm
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Marchosias wrote:
@ Lord Drakon: Well, I am aware Swordmaster is a far better player than me when implementing MSU tactics. However, this can be mitigated somewhat if one is cautious enough. Not that I claim I managed to do so. :) I just think that there are far better ways how to bleed me points than to kill this overpowered cauldron. :)

@ Amboadine:
Finally someone who trusts me! :D

@ Mikael.k:
Dammit. I was wondering if this attribute is not a bit too strong. Back to the drawing board then, I suppose. Thanks for pointing out, though.

Anyway, first two turns are up. :)


I stand corrected! Great battle report and congratz with the victory on Swordmaster, surely an achievement! :D

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Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:16 pm
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Ogr Cupp Caradax 2015

This has traditionally been one of the biggest tournaments in the Czech Republic. This year, as the transition from WHFB is still not complete and many players are still seeking their way, the attendance was low - only 18 players for 9th Age, together wih some events for Warmachine, 40k and other games. Still, there was a two days tourney with some good players and I was attending it, my first single (as is, not team) two day tournament!

Unfortunately, there were some eight other elves and most of them were better equipped to handle elves than me. See below. Oh well.

The choice of my army is largely influenced by the models I have. Basically, I can adjust heroes but I can't bring more rank and file than I have now without borrowing it (which is possible but the goal was to test some things, not to win the event). For a while, I was contemplating going MSU but that would slow down the game so that's one of the reasons why the big unit of executioners.

9th Age 2500

lvl4 heavens, talisman of 4++, dispel scroll: 310

BSB on altar of blood, ring of darkness, sword of strength: 370
lvl2 beasts, tome of arcane lore: 120

20 spearmen, heavy armour, FCG: 230
10 blood maidens, FCG, flaming banner: 160
2x 5 shadow riders, crossbows, shields, musician: 2x 120

30 executioners, FCG, banner of speed: 435
5 shadow stalkers, ahw, poison: 90
3 bolt throwers, multishot: 3x 75
2x 5 harpies: 2x 70

3 medusas: 180


I really wanted to try to cauldron as I really like the buffs it can provide. I thought it could made the army very versatile. Spearmen wounding a sphinx on 5+ was quite cool. Not sure why this blessing had to go.
I am not sure about the equipment of my BSB. I wanted to protect my costly and vulnerable executioners but ring of darkness might have been an overkill, given that they will be in hard cover most of the time anyway; Charm of Cursed Iron might have been better. Furthermore, the girl is not exactly equipped to fight the worst lords. This might not be problem - if I get enough execs in contact with the bad guy, she can refuse challenge and hope the executioners can bring the foe down. The altar buffs will work anyway. Still, the enemy might be able to arrange the combat so that the lord can't be targetted by many things (flank charge by a flyer, charge by a lord + a wide unit) and then, I am in trouble. A nice big sword migt be better in this regard. Then again, the ring is useful in many other situations so it's a hard call.

One weakness of this army is that I am only Ld9. I could have bought the standard of discipline for my spearmen istead of heavy armour. There was at least one instance where this would have saved me a lot of trouble but on the other hand, I would have been much more inclined to keep the lvl4 in the spearmen which is not always a safe place.

Other choices are kind of self-explanatory I think. Poison is on shades only because I had some spare points, it will be the first thing to drop when doing adjustments. Medusas are just my favourite unit and I wanted to give them a try.

The list has some weaknesses I only discovered during the tournamnent (no time to test, sadly). While the heavens + wilderness combo is good, I seriously lack some 2d6 S4 to kill small units in hard cover. In addition, I have only limited tools against fighty lords, as I have mentioned - I can force them to land with a spell and then charge with executioners but this is not that easy to achieve. And while bolt throwers are nice and the combination of thunderbolt and redwood shaft is scary, nothing here assures success, as we will see.

Should I build the list now, I would probably take a lvl2 fire at least. It's not that releant as there will be more important changes - see the end of this report.

Game 1 - Dwarfs


fighty lord
runesmith (+3 to dispel, +4 with racial ability, some bound spells), dispel scroll
BSB

2x20 warriors with shields
2x20 warriors with GWs
2x10 shooters - one unit with handguns, one with crossbows
2 volley guns
2 cannons

This was a boring game. I had three possibilities:
- I could have just marched full speed forwards. That would have been extremely risky - if the cannons were lucky, they could have destroyed the cauldon and after this, execs would have been decimated by the volley guns. I could have tried to screen them or something but the risk would still have been high.
- I could have sent fast troops to get the artillery. However, two units would have been destroyed by shooting at least (one for each volley gun), the other two would have needed to pass panics (not easy for Ld6 harpies when the BSB and general are hiding behind a hill), comlete the charge successfully and then actually hold their own against the machines. I could have easily lost 380 points for nothing.
- so in the end, I was just sitting behind a hill and hoping to do something with magic. As the first comet went through in my fifth round, however, I accomplished almost nothing.

Without cannons, I could have tried to advance with cauldron + execs. Without volley guns, I could have attempted something with my fast troops. Their combination killed the game.

Hilarity of the match: I was killing some shooters on a flank. The last three were able to charge my shadow riders - I had to expose them if I wanted them to be useful. Flee option was out of question because of volley guns. Stand and shoot slayed one dwarf, close combat attacks another. The last one then killed a rider in return, I lost by 1 and promptly fled. The victorious dwarf then survived shots from five other shadow riders and five scouts and had to be finished by a bolt thrower.

The whiny part: apparently, the whole dwarf army can hate one enemy unit. This meant that while my execs were hitting on 3+, they were hit back on 4+ with reroll. In other words, dwarfs hitting better than elves.

End result: 10:10

Game 2, Dread Elves


LORDS
Lord of Darkness on Dragon Beast commander, Beast-Bane Halberd, Charm of cursed Iron
Elvish High Sorceress L4 Dispell scroll (Heavens)
HEROES
Dark Master BSB Fleet Commander, Armour of destiny, SH, Throwing weapon

CORE
16 Dark Repeaters SH,FCG, Gleaming Icon
5 Shadow Riders SH,RxB
20 Dread Corsairs AhW,RxB,FCG, War standard
SPECIAL
3 Dread Reaper Repeating shot
1 Hunting Chariot Harpoon thrower
1 Hunting Chariot Harpoon thrower
8 Shadow Stalkers ahw, poison
5 Harpies
RARE
1 Hydra
1 Hydra

Quite a lot of shooting here. My opponent (Malda on this forum by the way) deployed everything first to get a good start for his shooting, spreading evenly on the whole deployment line. I claimed a corner to reduce the impact of his farther units.

I am not sure I followed a good initial plan. Originally, I thought that a shooting war might not be that bad for me since my points are far more durable than his. Ideally, I wanted to destroy his chariots and reduce the crossbows a bit before engaging his hydras and lord. However, it turned out I was unable to inflict singificant damage. Maybe I should have raced forwards instead, seeking close combat as soon as possible - I was woried that after a combat with corsairs (who strike at I6 and have stand and shoot), there would only be a few execs remaining, making them an easy target for the hydras. The main question is probably why was I unsuccessful with my magic and shooting - if due to bad luck, bad positioning and target choices or bad armylist. Not sure about this now.

Hard cover from cauldron was nice here - it made my opponent waste a good number of single shots trying to hit my BSB. On the other hand, one turn I gave the blessing to medusas who were in position to charge the crossbowmen with lvl4 - and they still lost five wounds in one go (despite being skirmish on top of that). Besides, hard cover (nor ring of darkness) helps against breath weapons.

When I finally engaged the corsairs with my execs, I dedicated my whole magic phase to support this combat. As a result, the corsairs were hitting on 4s, rerolling successful hits. It was very, very on-sided. I was probably overestimating the corsairs a bit - even in a normal case, they shouldn't kill more than five execs. On the other hand, it helped a lot that I was charging out of hard cover and so stand and shoot did almost nothing.

The game ended prematurely as we are both rather slow players. If it lasted longer, my pseudo deathstar would have been charged by more or less everything and that would have been ugly.

One more question is what would have happened if I really decided to attack. I think it would have been a bad idea as it is not that difficult to reduce my execs with breath weapons and then finish them off with hydras. On the other hand, sending medusas against a hydra might actually work with some buff and I had two units of harpies to redirect so maybe there actually was some way to attack and pressure the lvl4 while the monsters were far away. No way to say this now.

End result: 7:13

Game 3, Sylvan Elves


Lvl4 Alchemy Enchantress
Lvl3 Wild Ancient Treant
Lvl1 Wild Matriarch
Bladedancer BSB Captain w/ Sunstone
3x10 GG s poison vystrely
2x8 skirmish Dryad
12 Bladedancers, FCG, movement banner
6 Wildriders, shields
5 sisters, champion
2x10 Pathfinders

This was a rather modest list as it had only some 50 shots and dryads and wardancers as well. Still, so much shooting - and other ranged threats - was going to be really unpleasant.

I deployed to the side, everything at once to secure first turn. I knew my opponent was going to camp in the opposite corner and try retreat to my side of the board when I get to close; therefore, I put medusas, one unit of dark riders and one unit of harpies behind a hill on that side of the board to make their advance more difficult. This did not work: my flanking force was ignored for a while, then a unit of 10 waywatchers marched there, killed a medusa with shooting, in my turn I charged, they killed another medusa with stand and shoot and the remaining girl panicked. Granted, I should have kept them behind the harpies to give them soft cover at least. Not convinced it would have helped too much.

My shooting was ineffective - forest + skirmish all over the place. Thanks to volley fire, SE can now put several units behind each other (such as shooters protected by dryads) and not care about cover even if they don't bring trueflights. Comet never went through (not sure why, I assume disadvantageous dice splits) and the occasional chain lightning didn't do enough. I really needed a fireball or two in this match.

When I finally reached the SE positions, I failed some three charges and then my cauldron unit panicked because some harpies were shot down (they were redirecting a possible flank charge on spearmen + cauldron that was made possible by the failed charge).

Cauldron blessing was of little consequence here - as I was trying to push, there was always some other unit available as a target. It would have been nice if I were leading a shooting war - well, at least against the units that actually care about cover. In this version, it felt rather lackluster. You know, I was paying a steep price for this blessing and my opponent was ignoring it anyway.

Wardancers are quite a powerful unit as well. As I am not the poor vampire player that gets his general killed by a flurry of 20 attacks or more, though, I will leave that to other reports.

In addition, my opponent's magic was quite dangerous as well, with both final transmutation and curse as must-stop spells. It meant that I always had to let magic missiles and similar through.

To sum up, the SE shoot like hell, are quite elusive with lots of skirmish and are very hard to shoot back at. I was able to presere the points for warriors, executioners and all heroes as the blocks were just too big (and I managed to avoid both final trans and curse) but I only got points for two small units used for some redirecting. This matchup would have been made far easier by something fast and durable like 8ed pegasus riders but do we have such a unit in 9th?

On the other hand, maybe I should have kept everything hidden and only advance with the big blocks - but that would have invited some multiple charges and with dryads in one flank and wardancers in the other, I could have had a problem. Or maybe I should have just played cornerhammer? After all, it is nothing surprising that an army ot T3 low armour guys has trouble against lots of small arms shooting. Alternatively, I could have deployed in the centre - one flank would have avoided me without problems but maybe I would have been able to roll through the other one. This way, I could have maybe earned some nice points and ensured a draw at least. Flank charges would have still been very easy so not sure about this.

End result: 6:14

Game 4, Vampires

Vampires, lvl3, commandment, ward
lvl 3 necro
a big unit of grave guard, banner of +1 to hit
corpse cart
three blocks of zombies
four untis of wolves, one of them 10 strong
two units of big bats, one bat swarm
two vargulf

In this game I was seriously outchaffed. Vanguarding wolves were pressuring my bolt throwers from turn 1, varghulfs were not far behind and the big deathstar was nearing. I was able to kill the wolves eventually but not all of them and not soon enough. Turn 4 or so I found out I was left with no chaff of my own while my opponent still had his bats and varghulfs and disaster was inevitable.

One of the reasons is I made some mistakes. My blood maidens were out of position, they should have been threatening varghulfs but instead they did nothing for the first two or three turns (not even projecting a threat). This was because I underestimated how fast can the undead be with boosted movement spell. And while harpies charging wolves are a good matchup, I failed to make the threat arcs impenetrable.

However, there were also some elements I am really not sure how should I have approached. One of them are the varghulfs - T5 + regeneration + very good fighting skill (hatred!) means almost nothing can dare to charge (even blood maidens with poison and flaming attacks might be at risk). However, shooting is hardly effective - a thunderbolt does two wounds on average IF 6 HITS ARE ROLLED, a multishot from a bolt thrower does one wound IF ALL SHOTS HIT, a single shot fails in 2/3 cases even after it hits. Sure, the executioners horde would hack them to pieces but it can't be everywhere.

Second, a serious problem was the abundance of chaff. Wolves are not really that bad - they will mostly be somewhere forwards or to the flank if they want to be useful and there they are vulnerable. The bats, however, can sit between the blocks in hard cover all the time and what am I supposed to do about them? Any odd wound I manage to sneak through will be healed soon. And on top of that, there is a chance a completely new unit of zombies or skeletons will appear somewhere. Given that none of my support unis can dare to fight the big zombies and that varghulfs are quite manoeuverable as well, it is very difficult to arrange a favourable fight.

Third, the amount of buffs and debuffs the Vampires had was quite scary as well. -1 strength (or -d3 in boosted version), rerolls to hit, -D3 weapon skill and/or initiative are all spells that can swing combats heavily; and do not forget the vampiress can make one unit WS5 any combbat phase. The power of those buffs was clearly visible when my spearmen got charged by a block of zombies. As the zombies were WS5 and the -1 strength went through, I only killed two zombies out of my 16 attacks. In return, one warrior died, I lost by 2 and fled (rerollable Ld6). The zombies cost something like 60 points, spearmen over 200.

Last but not least, the main unit itself. The vampiress gives it WS5 and distracting. I have ring of darkness making them WS4 but my opponent had bat swarm making me WS4 in turn. And his unit had the +1 to hit banner. In total, I was hitting on 5s while he was on 3s. Not good. To be fair, my unit might still be somewhat stronger - in the game, I was charged by this deathstar in the front and a varghulf in the rear (and bat swarm in the flank) and still did one more casualty than my opponent. On the other hand, the grave guard is more numerous and can be healed efficiently - and if I stop the heals I will have to let rerolls to hit through. All in all I think the deathstars themselves are more or less comparable (I am counting the bats as part of the undead main unit because buffing this unit in the one important fight is their only purpose) and a lot depends on the luck in the first round of combat. For example, in this battle the hit ratio of my execs was around 50% despite hitting on 5s. With luck going the other way, they would have had no chance.

To sum up, DE are about being absolutely murderous on the offfense but the only unit I was effective against were wolves. Everything else was either T5 regen (varghulfs), in hard cover (bats), WS5 distracting (main unit) or WS5 with debuff to my strength (zombies). After I bounced off, I got predictably smashed.

On the other hand, to be fair, not every time was I fighting at the best terms possible. Getting blood maidens to work earlier would have helped a lot and the problem with bats could have been solved by an aggressive use of harpies who could have charged over the blocking zombies in theory. A better choice of spells could have made a difference, too (I rolled badly and heavens+beasts might not be the best combination to begin with) and there are probably many options I am not seeing right now. Still, this changes nothing on the fact it was hard to find answers to certain threats.

End result: 5:15

Game 5, Wasteborn Warriors


Sorcerer of Change on dragon
foot BSB

2 chariots of lust
5 barbarian horsemen, javelins
18 core warriors, shield
18 special warriors, shields, caster champion
3 dragon ogres
chimera
hellcannon

Well, I generally don't like Warriors as they make half of my army useless. Here, it was better than the 8ed version - shooting at warriors is almost useless but not as useless as on skullcrushers - so good job in this regard.

However, there are still many threats that are fast, durable and hard-hitting and I have very limited options to contain them. To be specific - chariots can smash in more or less anything. Execs will chop them down but suffer impact hits first which could be devastating in later combat. Spearmen have killing blow so they can defeat a chariot but two of them would be too much and even one leaves them seriously depleted. Witches do nothing to the 3+ armour save. Dark riders might have a chance to break the chariot with a flank chaarge but it is very risky as I could easily lose a unit for nothing. The barbarians will kill the riders off rather sooner than later. OK, medusas would be a very good answer if they managed to sneak to the flank somehow. If not, it leaves magic and shooting.

Warriors. Lots of attacks (even from the second row), -1 to be hit, 3+ armour. The deathstar can kill them with sheer number of attacks but everything else bounces off. As an example, I was fighting the unit of special warriors with medusas. WS6 + shield -> I was hitting on 5s (why are medusas without lightning reflexes? They need them!). I tried to kill the BSB at least but only did one wound out of 8 attacks (4++ ward). The remaining four attacks targetted the champion and did nothing. In return, I suffered 8 wounds. I understand medusas are probably not an ideal unit to fight this kind of warriors - I risked this fight to gain an opportunity elsewhere - but first, I am not sure if a difference of this scope is intended, and second, what IS a good unit to fight them?

Hellcannon. I am hardly able to hide everything from direct shots and even indirect ones can be quite accurate if lucky. First turn in the game, it killed 7 spearmen despite they were in a 2-deep formation. More annoyingly, I have nothing to kill it with. Single shots and magic would bring it down but would need a lot of attempts due to ward and five wounds (or how many actually). Otherwise, only the BSB or execs would have a chance and they have too many other foes to care about. The best option I have is to place dark riders at maximum charge distance every turn and hope the thing fails its frenzy test. However, this is a rather desperate attempt - it can easily pass the test and still shoot and it can even complete the charge, kill my poor riders and then shoot some more. And depending on the battlefield and the way the game goes, it could actually stay in the general's bubble most of the time. Not it this game as we mostly deployed in opposite corners but it can happen.

And last, chimera. Oh my. Flying, T5, regeneration. Trying to shoot it down needs a lot of luck. In combat, spearmen are useless, as are all fast units. Granted, medusas could probably win after trading wound for wound for some time if one can arrange that fight.
That leaves the blood maidens. Plenty of attacks, flaming banner to negate regeneration, poison, I was really convinced they will shred the chimera to bits. Therefore, I marched the maidens in front of the monster, redirected a chariot that could have charged them in the flank and dedicated a magic phase to casting an anti-flying spell on the chimera. Thanks to that, the following round I was charging it. Due to a misunderstanding of rules, I even counted the maidens to be S4 (thunderous charge) so they were as killy as they would be under correct rules and wildform. I rolled pretty well, doing 6 wounds in total. Then, five were saved on 5+ armour. And after chimera's attacks and thunderstomp, there were two maidens left who promptly fled.
Sad thing is, I was actually not that unlucky. The chimera should have suffered a wound or two more but doing four was very unlikely, especially if assuming S3 only. It makes me ask, what in the DE book is supposed to contain the chimera? And what is the role of maidens if not fighting high T low wounds monsters?

Regarding shooting, the warshrine was important - the bubble 5++ ward blunts the shooting considerably but the shrine itself can be kept in hard cover with relative ease and has a 4++ ward on top of that so one needs to waste quite a lot of shots on it. Not saying this is overpowered, one pays serious points for it but making a sturdy army even sturdier can surely be frustrating for an opponent.

To sum up, half of my army was mostly useless, my heavy shooting did not go well enough, there were several dangerous models and units I was only able to engage with the execs and the opposing ranged presence was at least comparable with my own. So... I don't know. Maybe I was too cautious with my wannabe deathstar - it *would* have chopped down anything it touched. I am not convinced my chaff would have lasted long enough to prevent charges in both flanks but who knows, it might have been doable (difficult with frenzy though). Hard to say. It would have been a totally different battle.

End result: 0:20

Conclusion


Well, my list didn't work (or the combination of list, skill, luck and mindset to be fairer). I think one of the main problems (if not *the* problem) is that it goes half way to a deathstar but not all the way down. As the cauldron has a low range, it mostly has to choose one unit to buff all game - and it makes sense to choose the execs as they are the most expensive and most killy (only in the SE battle I put it in spearmen as the execs were far from the SE corner). This produces quite a powerful unit but still, every opponent had convincing tools to combat it - be it volley guns and cannons, breath weapons, cover-ignoring arrows combined with chaffing (and flank-charging dryads or wardancers were quite a threat, too), warriors with distracting or hellcannon. Furthermore, the rest of my army was not especially good in helping my deathstar wannabe to work - more riders insted of spearmen would have probably been a stronger choice, for example. If I were building the list now, I would have probably either split the big unit in two and leave the cauldron home, creating a multiple-threat MMU force (or something), or contrarily, shaved points somewhere to put a fighty lord in the big unit.


However, I have managed a more successful battle in the meantime. Brighter report incoming! :) (although just a short one)

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Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:41 pm
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Miscast into the Warp
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:07 am
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Thanks for taking the time to write that up. Great read and very interesting to see how 9th is doing.

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Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:15 pm
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Corsair
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It might be an indication that 9th designers tuned down DE a little bit too harshly?
Thanks for reporting and keep trying!

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Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:28 pm
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That was a great read. Thanks for sharing. I think our book is weak (but everyone on their forums is saying their book is weak). Compounding this further is that I can't see hydras and midnight cloak not getting nerfed so we will be even weaker (assassins too apparently).

When you are restricted by models owned, it only makes thing harder and combined with a lack of play-testing you will always be at a disadvantage. You at least gave it your best shot with what you had so props for that. I hope it was at least a fun experience.


Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:42 pm
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