Thursday, 12 September 2013

Axemaster 2013 Aftermath – Day 1

It's taking me a while to get around to my tournament reports nowadays, so once again I will declare my intentions to keep things briefer than normal. Who knows, I might even achieve it this time...
My Wood Elf army list for Axemaster 2013
I've discussed my army list before, however I will repeat it here for convenience:
  • Highborn on Great Eagle with Longbow, Light Armour, Shield, Helm of the Hunt, Stone of the Crystal Mere, Ogre Blade, Potion of Foolhardiness
  • Glamourweave Spellweaver (Level 4, Lore of Beasts) on Unicorn with Longbow, Dragonbane Gem
  • Noble (Battle Standard) with Asyendi's Bane, Hail of Doom Arrow
  • Branchwraith
  • Branchwraith
  • Branchwraith with Cluster of Radiants
  • 10 Glade Guard with Standard, Musician, Banner of the Eternal Flame
  • 10 Glade Guard with Standard, Musician
  • 16 Dryads
  • 15 Dryads
  • 12 Wild Riders with Standard, Musician, Gleaming Pendant
  • Treeman
  • Treeman
  • Great Eagle
I went into the tournament with pretty modest expectations. We will see how these panned out.

Game 1: Dawn Attack
Mark Skilton, Chaos Daemons
I think Mark has some daemon filth in his eye. Not this this accounts for the blurry photo. That was all me.
  • Keeper of Secrets (Level 4, Lore of Slaanesh) with 2+ armour save, 2D6 shot missile weapon
  • Herald of Slaanesh (BSB, Level 1, Lore of Shadow) with some little magic banner
  • Herald of Slaanesh with Ogre Blade on Exalted Seeker Chariot
  • 30 Daemonettes with Full Command
  • 12 Daemonettes
  • 12 Daemonettes
  • 12 Daemonettes
  • 5 Seekers of Slaanesh
  • 5 Furies
  • 5 Furies
  • Exalted Seeker Chariot
  • 3 Fiends
Mark is a regular at the club and we've played a number of times before in tournaments. It's nice to see a Daemon army based around something other than Nurgle, however the sheer speed of Mark's Slaaneshi bunnies was going to be a problem.
Deployment, after our Vanguard moves
Mark's right flank was fast and scary
Those huge, cuddly bunnies are actually Fiends of Slaanesh. Cold, heartless monsters hiding within the bodies of sweet, cuddly animals.
The second blender chariot, this time with a Herald at the wheel. Or helm. Reins? Whatever. I think she was driving.
Mark set up first and wound up with his Keeper of Secrets off on a flank. I rolled just about my entire day's worth of 6s and had remarkable control of my deployment, and for want of a better approach, stacked the flank furthest from the big gribbly. I then compounded my assy-ness by stealing the first turn. Mad skills, yo.
The Wood Elves advance somewhat cautiously
The Daemons sweep around my left flank.
I had shot off a Fiend by this point. I think I just used Glade Guard bows for that.
Despite this awesome lead-in, the game didn't go overly well. My first turn was pretty cagey. I shot the Seekers to death when they got too close (they only took a Vanguard and 1 turn to achieve this), and think I used my Hail of Doom Arrow to finish the job. The Wild Riders charged in the second turn, killing the 12 Daemonettes on the flank next to the house and overrunning into the Furies behind them, dealing with them handily as well.
The Wild Riders mid-way through their destruction of the Daemonettes
The Eagle flew up in front of the main Daemonette unit to buy time and plug up the huge chariot behind them. I then undermined this great plan by moving a Treeman right up in front and using Strangleroot on them. I did an unexpected amount of damage and cleaned off more than the back rank of the horde, leaving a teeny-weeny gap for the horrible blender chariot to squeeze through (provided it charged). Of course, it did – straight into my Dryads on my right flank. My Dryads died bravely, killing the Herald on top before the sole survivor turned and fled through my Spellweaver immediately behind – into whom the chariot pursued. 2D6+1 Strength 4 impact hits. Bummer.
Ah, crap. The crazy blender chariot finds a gap and butchers my Dryads.
The Daemon lines as a whole after turn 2
Wait, this wasn't in the script...
I did what I could to rescue my mage, but it was always going to be a bit futile. My Highborn flew into the flank whilst the Wild Riders had reformed and charged into the rear. Their combined efforts were enough to destroy the chariot, but not before the Spellweaver had been cut down (despite giving herself Toughness 5 with Wissan's Wildform).
Vengeance is ours, but it is small consolation.
In the centre the Eagle died bravely against the Daemonette horde, however they chose no to overrun into the Treeman. The Treeman then charged them, along with his mate (one was in the flank), and my Dryad unit with all the Branchwraiths. The Dryads bounced off the Daemonettes (they killed maybe a couple), but the Treemen waded in reasonably well. It was not enough to knock off Steadfast and so perhaps half a dozen Daemonettes remained, in combat with only the Dryads.
I throw everything at the Daemonettes... 
... but it is not enough to knock off Steadfast
Before this point the Keeper had flayed a couple of wounds off one of the Treemen with her shooting attack (Nurgle helped by doing a wound thanks to the Reign of Chaos table). She then charged the now unengaged Treeman in the rear and (slightly fortunately) managed to inflict the 3 wounds required to finish him off. She then overran into the flank of the Dryads, and it was all sorts of badness for them. They got thrashed and run down.
The Keeper of Secrets savages my army
By this point things were falling apart. The remaining unit of Furies and Exalted Seeker Chariot arrived in my back lines. Two Furies survived my efforts to shoot them off (a failed Swift Reform meant only 1 of my units could fire), and one made it through the destruction of my first unit and BSB (made possible by the help of the chariot) and into the flank of my other unit. Apparently 1 Fury in the flank is enough to take on 10 Glade Guard, and my unit broke and was run down. I used Treesinging from one of the Treemen to kill the final Fury after it landed in a forest, but it was small consolation.
The Treeman struggles hard against the Fiends, whilst my Highborn goes it alone against the Daemonettes and their Herald.
A heroic but ultimately doomed quest.
The end game saw my Wild Riders killed by the Keeper after they finished off the remnant of the Daemonette horde, whilst my Treeman made spectacularly difficult work of killing 2 Fiends (like, maybe 5 rounds of combat and emerging with 1 wound). My Highborn guzzled his Potion of Foolhardiness and charged the Daemon BSB as she skulked in one of the small Daemonette units, and cut her down convincingly, although the Daemonettes did a wound in return. Having already lost a wound and his ward save in dealing with the Herald's chariot earlier, he then spent several rounds trying to protect his single remaining wound (I passed a few dramatic armour saves) before he eventually succumbed when the other unit of Daemonettes got him in the flank. Boo! I had been wiped out apart from the crippled Treeman.

Result: 6-14

My units had fought OK, but the speed of the Daemons and the loss of my Spellweaver so early on were the decisive factors. The other key points were the Keeper surviving a Dimensional Cascade, and then managing the 3 wounds to go through the Treeman in a turn, spelling the end of the Dryads in the centre. If my Highborn had held on just a little longer at the end the result would have been closer, but it was a losing battle anyway.

Game 2: Blood and Glory
Lachie Mulcahy, Dark Elves
Lachie indicates how many battle points he thinks I will get this game.
  • Supreme Sorceress (Level 4, Lore of Death) on Black Dragon with Pendant of Khaeleth, Focus Familiar, Scroll of Shielding (maybe?)
  • Master (BSB) on Cold One with Heavy Armour, Shield, Lance, Sea Dragon Cloak, Hydra Banner
  • Master on Dark Pegasus with Cloak of Hag Graef, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Lance
  • Sorceress (Level 1, Lore of Metal) with Dispel Scroll
  • 35 Spearmen with Shields, Command
  • 14 Crossbowmen with Standard, Musician
  • 14 Crossbowmen with Standard, Musician
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 5 Harpies
  • 5 Harpies
  • 11 Cold One Knights with Full Command, Standard of Hag Graef
  • 2 Reaper Bolt Throwers
After deployment and Vanguard moves
Black Dragon, eh? Looks a little yellow to me...
This was a slightly bizarre game. We both setup according to the scenario, then I won the first turn and it was like flicking a switch – we both completely forgot about Blood and Glory. Lachie had piled both of his mounted heroes into the Cold One Knights, making the unit all but unstoppable on the charge. I had deployed my Highborn in a Glade Guard unit in a forest almost directly opposite, and declared a 19” charge right into the Cold Ones. Up the Guts, as it were. Unfortunately I fell short, and that signalled the end of my chances of dealing with the unit. It charged straight past my Highborn and into the Dryads with all the Branchwraiths (who had charged the Dark Riders who had vanguarded out in front of them, although they predictably fled and escaped), smashing through and then charging them again when they escaped and rallied.
After my first turn and failed charge by the Highborn. Lachie was the first opponent to scratch his head and wonder why the Wood Elves were running *towards* his lines.
The Pain Train cometh.
The Great Escape: My Dryads elude the pursuit of the Cold Ones, weighed down as they are with all that cheese they have to lug around.
On the left flank my Wild Riders had vanguarded and marched right into Lachie's deployment zone, and despite him buying a turn by feeding them a unit of Harpies, they eventually got the Bolt Thrower at the back of the forest. My shooting in the first turn involved maiming the central unit of Crossbowmen, dropping them to 3 models. We don't like things that shoot back.
Lachie didn't really appreciate having Wild Riders in behind his lines. Don't really understand why.
The centre of the table was an absolute mess. In the absence of the Cold Ones (who were off eating my army), Lachie had no real combat units – just a lot of flimsy stuff. Giving up the Cold Ones as a lost cause, I focused on everyone else instead. In my second turn, I charged just about everyone – most of them twice as they started fleeing in response. Crossbowmen, Sorceress (who had left her unit and was off by herself), Harpies and Dark Riders were fleeing in criss-cross patterns across the hill in Lachie's deployment zone, and my Highborn actually managed to charge the Bolt Thrower up there (the only thing that had to hold its ground).
Eventually the hill was more or less cleared. That Sorceress would have been shot to death, but managed to pass a couple of 4+ Look Out Sir rolls to pass the hits onto 5 fleeing Harpies nearby. Doesn't say she can't do that. Bogus.
Errr... Oops. My Spellweaver ends her movement right in front of a hungry Dragon. You know what would be nice right about now? Being allowed to choose to flee as a charge reaction...
Depressingly nothing else made it, and one or two failures proved costly. The Dryads on my right flank failed their attempted charge into the Crossbowmen next to the building, and didn't advance far enough for the Spellweaver behind them to get off the hill (she had gotten in on the whole “Operation: Everyone Charge Everyone” thing, given she had a massive charge range). That meant there was suddenly a Dragon breathing down her neck. And when I say breathing down it, I really mean chewing on it. She got eaten because she couldn't quite pass a single ward save to survive the charge. With Savage Beast of Horros in play she actually managed to wound the Dragon once, but it was to no avail. Once again I was wizardless early in the game.
A Dragon's gotta eat, you know. But does it have to be my mage that it eats?
With the Supreme Sorceress on her over-sized birdie right next to my lines, both units of Glade Guard turned and fired at her. I got a wound through on both the rider and Dragon, but made no real progress. At some point I lost a Treeman to Searing Doom before I eventually caught up with the little Sorceress and the remaining unit of Crossbowmen.
I finally catch up with the little Sorceress and Crossbowmen
Futile late gestures as bits of Spearmen fly everywhere. Steadfast was their friend, alas.
The Dragon then accounted for one unit of Glade Guard in combat (although the Sorceress had to pass a number of moderate saves along the way and could quite easily have died), and the other unit died when the Pegasus Master left the Cold Ones after they had finished mopping up the Dryads in my back line. My BSB also died, which meant that I was broken and the game was over. Not that we noticed. We kept playing, and it was only when a passer-by asked if we had remembered the scenario that realised the game was up. As it turned out, had that Supreme Sorceress failed a few of the 4+ and 3+ ward saves she had been taking, I would have won the game. Instead I had lost. I counted as being wiped out due to the scenario, and had killed both Bolt Throwers, both Harpies, both Crossbowman units, the Dark Riders, and the little Sorceress. It was not an even result.
Where things stood at the end of the game.

Result: 3-17

Game 3: Battleline
Matt Thompson, Dwarfs
Matt displays the calm that all Dwarfs require as they coolly shoot to death everything that moves (moving being an unnatural and very un-Dwarfish thing to do)
  • Runelord on Anvil of Doom with Master Rune of Balance, Rune of Spellbreaking, Rune of Stone, Shield
  • Thane (BSB) with Master Rune of Gromril, Rune of Cleaving, Rune of Burning
  • 30 Warriors with Great Weapons, Command
  • 30 Longbeards with Great Weapons, Command, Rune of Battle
  • 30 Hammerers with Command
  • 10 Thunderers
  • 10 Quarrellers
  • Grudge Thrower with Rune of Accuracy, 2 Runes of Penetrating
  • Cannon with Rune of Forging, Rune of Burning
  • Cannon with Rune of Forging
  • Organ Gun
You know you're doing well at a tournament when you start playing people who have only ever played half a dozen games of Warhammer, and have never won a game. Ah well, it was the sort of boost I needed, especially against an army like this. The Dwarf list had the firepower to blow me off the table, and the units were more than I could probably take as well. Oh yeah, and they could utterly negate my magic. Against an experienced and ruthless opponent, this would have been the best game ever. Against Matt it was a bit more fun, and a few times I tried to talk him through why I would choose different targets etc. That's not to say I played the whole game for him – if I had, this would probably have been very one-sided.
Back on the same table as game 1. This was out deployment.
Matt deployed in true Dwarf fashion – in a corner. I lined up trying to do my best to run at him, although the river wasn't really going to help. I got the +1 for the first turn, but lost the roll-off anyway. Bummer. Matt opened by killing my Highborn on his Eagle with the first shot of the game. Major bummer. I needed that guy's speed. One of the Treemen was wounded, but otherwise I was more or less unscathed. I advanced, and tried unsuccessfully to shoot off the flaming Cannon with my Hail of Doom Arrow. Oh well.
The already dented Wood Elves advance.
The flaming Cannon then blew 4 wounds off my Treeman on the left flank, whilst the one in the centre was put down by the other Cannon. My Eagle panicked, failed to rally twice, and flew off the table. What a champ. The Glade Guard nearby were targetted by the Anvil (which spent the first 3 turns using Ancient Power on Wrath and Ruin, and for the first 2 turns it worked OK). They lost 4 of their number and panicked, rallied, lost all but the standard bearer to a well-directed rock from the Grudge Thrower (about the only time it was on-target all game), and the sole survivor then turned around and hid behind some trees for the rest of the game.
My forces start to make combat. 
So I started the game with 2 Treemen, but by the start of my second turn, I was down to 0.33 Treemen. Not great. Thankfully my fraction of a Treeman managed a long charge into the Warriors on the left flank, and were joined by the savaged remnant of my Wild Riders (stupid Dwarfs had been shooting them! The gall of them!) after they swept through the flaming Cannon nearby. Thus started a prolonged combat that saw the Treeman pound the Dwarf BSB into the ground in the first round (after narrowly avoiding being cut down by his flaming axe), the Wild Riders being worn down and eventually destroyed, and in the end, the Treeman emerging victorious on a single wound (he had survived several turns of great weapon attacks thanks to his high Toughness and a surprising number of passed saves on my part).
The Treeman deals swiftly with the Dwarf BSB, and stomps a few of his mates for good measure
On the right flank I had a unit of Dryads run all the way across the table to reach the Quarrellers. In a slightly dazzling display of vengeful carnage, the Dryads hacked down 7 Dwarfs on the charge (there were maybe 6 Dryads by this point – someone had been shooting at them too!) The remaining Quarrellers broke off the table, and the Dryads then skulked away from the Hammerers, knowing they were completely out-matched.

My Dryads with Branchwraiths rushed toward the Thunderers on the hill, although they stuffed up the first charge and had to wait a turn before going in. They then made extremely slow work of killing the under-equipped Dwarfs, and if Matt had been more experienced he would have swung around with the Longbeards and flanked me to punish me for my rubbish rolling. Eventually he did this, but too late to save the Thunderers. The Dryads broke but escaped the Longbeards, and rallied without an issue. The Longbeards had managed to hook themselves on the Organ Gun as they charged, so couldn't follow up. Presumably one of the Longbeards got his excessive facial hair tangled in the gun's inner workings. Would explain the misfires it was rolling...
On to glory, Mr Unicorn!
It may not be clear from these descriptions, but this game was pretty desperate for me. I never came within a mile of casting a spell, and this drove my Spellweaver into a frustrated rage. She charged her Unicorn into the Anvil of Doom and skewered one of the Guards on the charge. She and her mount then flapped uselessly for several rounds until eventually the Runelord put her out of her misery. At least she had kept it occupied. By that point the Treeman had finally killed the Warriors, so cruised on over and smashed down the Runelord before he could get any ideas.
The Treeman stands victorious
My crack combat unit shows the Dwarf artillery what for.
The other sign that things were pretty dire was the crack combat squad I sent in against the Grudge Thrower. This consisted of my BSB (with her hand weapon and no armour) and the standard bearer of the Glade Guard she was leading. Together they belted up the Dwarfs manning the machine, and carried on into the Organ Gun (although by then the rallied Dryads and Branchwraiths arrived to help and do the heavy lifting).
The closing stages of the game.
By the end of the game I had 2 Glade Guard standard bearers, my BSB, a Treeman on 1 wound, and the shattered remnants of both Dryad units (including most or all of the Branchwraiths). I had killed the Anvil of Doom, the Dwarf BSB, the unit of Warriors, both missile units, and 3 of the 4 enemy war machines. Remarkably, I had won. Just.

Result: 11-9

I'll be honest with you, it didn't feel like much of a win. Had Matt been willing to move his units (a foreign concept for many Dwarf players, I know), he could have wiped the table with me. The elite blocks of Dwarfs were more than my army could handle, so they could have rushed at me (with or without the help of the Anvil to boost their speed), or at least positioned themselves to charge at me when I approached their lines. The Anvil was more interested in shooting my Glade Guard (soft targets) than wounding and slowing my better combat units, which is what it should really have been doing. Anyway, it was an entertaining game and I did at least have a very minor win to my name at the end of day 1. I believe Matt had also won a game by the end of day 2, so more power to him.

You can read the report of day 2 here.


  1. Seems you would have done better with Orc and Goblins. :)

    1. Haha maybe, or just a slightly better-constructed Wood Elf list.

  2. Wood elf prancing ponies..check. :) at least the paint job is good. Its true that model looks pretty cool.

  3. Those bunnies look downright creepy