Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Battle of Finuval Plain: Turn 3 - To Kill a Daemon

This is a continuation of the account of the Battle of Finuval Plain. If you missed the previous turn, you can find it here. If you want to go to the Finuval Plain main page, click here.

High Elves Turn 3
High Elves Turn 3. The crosshair up the top is a new Comet of Cassandora. To see a larger version, right-click and select "Open Link in New Tab"
With the enemy advancing and tide seemingly going against them, proud High Elves launched themselves into the fray all along the line. On the left flank, units leapt to the assistance of their struggling allies. The White Lions who had been waiting in the forest decided that the time had come to intervene. They charged into the rear of the massive regiment of Dreadspears assaulting the now-riderless Star Dragon.
To the rescue! The White Lions and Griffon ensure that a Star Dragon is the least of the Dreadspears' worries
The Noble nearby directed his Griffon toward the same target, and it dived into their flank with a deafening roar that was soon replaced by the shrieks of dismembered Dark Elves. It did not all go the High Elves' way, however. As the Noble leaned down in his saddle to swing his great axe in a deadly, glittering arc, he felt a terrible pain erupt in his side. He cried out as the Assassin drove his poisonous blade once more, and the axe dropped from his suddenly nerveless grasp. Even as the murderous Dark Elf turned to melt back in amongst his fellows however, the vengeful gaze of the Griffon fell upon him. As did its fearsome beak. And its claws. It then took out its grief at the loss of its master upon the hapless Dreadspears, whilst the White Lions cut a swathe through their ranks, and the Star Dragon lashed out with its tail whilst eviscerating a few Cold One Knights with its fangs and claws.
Dying in droves: The Dark Elves take so many casualties that they lose Steadfast, and with it any chance of staying in the combat.
The Dark Elves managed to wound the Dragon and drag down a handful of the White Lions as they advanced, but they were over-matched and soon turned to run. They didn't get far however, and were felled by the White Lions and Griffon as the Dragon rampaged through the fleeing Cold One Knights and crushed them like bugs. This proved a dismaying sight for the Kharibdyss, which panicked and scampered away from the slaughter. So traumatised was it that its headlong flight would continue right up until the final moments of the battle. It was nearly slain by shots from the High Elf Bolt Throwers, but staggered on along the back lines with renewed enthusiasm.
The gap in the centre of the picture is where the Dreadspears used to be. Those White Lions actually tried to restrain pursuit and failed. Must have been worried about their flank. Wait, what is that in the bottom corner of the image, looking hungrily at the White Lions...?
Eeeek! The Kharibdyss wants nothing to do with the nasty Dragon after seeing its handiwork
Not satisfied with the demise of the Dreadspears, the Griffon's line of pursuit took it into the rear of the Harpies that were flanking the Swordmasters. The warriors of Hoeth were being sorely pressed by the relentless assault of N'kari and his fellow Greater Daemon. For every telling blow landed upon N'kari's iron-hard hide, five more would glance away harmlessly. The situation was grim, and the Loremaster at their head took it upon himself to swing the fight in their favour. Unleashing an unstoppable surge of power, he cast Wyssan's Wildform upon the regiment. Fresh strength flowed through their limbs, and they swung their wicked great swords with unremitting force. It was the edge they needed, but it came at a cost as the Loremaster felt his grasp of the arcane slipping from him. He staggered to the back ranks as N'kari bellowed a challenge, his pride overwhelmed by his desolation at what he had lost. N'kari's derision at his perceived cowardice was short-lived however, as the Swordmasters closed ranks around their leader and chopped the massive daemon down with powerful blows.
The Loremaster cowers in the back ranks after declining the challenge, waiting for me to make excuses for his gutless display in the narrative text. Wimp!
N'kari's eerie howl of frustration as he was once more banished from the mortal plane carried unnaturally across the field to Malekith's ears, and he hissed a curse under his breath. Sulekh stirred uneasily, as though the mighty Dragon could feel the sudden absence of Slannesh's favoured emissary.

If the loss of N'kari bothered the remaining Keeper of Secrets, it gave no indication. Instead it continued to gleefully carve its way through the Swordmasters, seemingly careless of their new-found strength. Its assault still pushed the Elves onto the back foot, but they held the line and fought on.
The Keeper of Secrets fights on, though its list of allies grows thin
Elsewhere the other Swordmaster regiments were making their presence felt. One unit wheeled in and charged the flank of the Daemonettes. They cut into the daemons as they reeled under the assault, however it was insufficient to completely crush them, and a single ragged line remained defiantly at the end, with the Herald forcing her way to the fore.
More Swordmasters enter the fray, picking on the poor, defenceless Daemonettes.
There were a reasonable number of them at the start of combat, but only the front row lived through the round.
Here you can see the depleted Daemonettes, as seen from the rallied Phoenix. Bird's eye view and all that...
The smaller regiment of Swordmasters charged toward to the Corsairs, however with the Silver Helms nearby also looking ready to pounce, they thought better of holding their position and fled around the Chaos Knights to a location where they could regroup safely. The charging Swordmasters tried to alter their course, however by that point they were committed and they were left frustrated.
The Corsairs retreat rather than wear a double charge from the Swordmasters and Silver Helms. Probably sensible, but hardly the stuff of legend.
Teclis moves in for a closer look, next to his battle standard bearer
There was movement behind the front line too. Teclis abandoned his position with the Archers on the hill in order to get closer to the conflict, joining the White Lions down on the flat ground. The Frostheart Phoenix regained its composure and wheeled about behind the Archers, ruffling its feathers in a shower of ice shards and snowflakes. Far more remarkably, the Great Eagles that had been destroyed by the Corsairs and Daemonettes suddenly appeared near the battery of Repeater Bolt Throwers in the corner of the field and rallied. Apparently they were not, and had never been, dead. Amazing!
Tales of our death have been greatly exaggerated: In a remarkable recovery, the Eagles reappeared on the map once I realised they had actually escaped their pursuers in the earlier combat. Here they are, rallying and getting in the way of the Bolt Throwers. Go team!
Toward the centre of the line, the trio of Nobles upon their Eagles decided that the Darkshards were in fact too far away for a leisurely charge, and opted instead for the Dreadspears fighting with the Lion Chariots. They swept in with their lances lowered and their mounts' talons extended, and inflicted considerable damage upon the Dark Elves. One of their number fell however, with a well-placed Druchii spear driven into his eye. The charioteers and their beasts continued to hack into the enemy, however the discipline of the Dreadspears held and they continued fighting.
"The 3 Ameaglos" (as they became known) decide that the numbers were somewhat against the White Lion Chariots, and head in to help.
The Prince and his Star Dragon finally disposed of the last of the Cold One Knights that had accounted for the second group of Eagles (these ones were definitely dead – their crumpled and bloodied forms were checked and no life signs were found). The Prince felt his wounds healed by the Everqueen as he wheeled about and looked for a new target. The other Prince on his Moon Dragon took to the skies with a cry before dropping upon a regiment of Dreadspears behind the Black Guard, who were advancing into the teeth of the enemy Bolt Thrower fire with more than a dozen of them falling to a withering volley. As the Dreadspears looked up in dismay at the rapidly descending Dragon, their champion stepped forth and bought them some time with his life.
The Dark Elf centre under aerial attack
The Moon Dragon Prince takes on a unit of Dreadspears and promptly loses because of the challenge. Hey, at least he didn't break.
A suicidal flock of Harpies had landed immediately in front of Tyrion's Silver Helms and the Everqueen's bodyguard of White Lions, looking to stall their progress. For their troubles they were charged by both units and crushed before they could even give a shriek of protest. The cavalry swept on, however the White Lions were more content to hold their position.
How do you define overkill? How about charging 10 Harpies with 16 Silver Helms, a couple of Nobles, and Tyrion? Oh, and a horde of 80 White Lions...
As she stood aside and allowed her bodyguard to make short work of the foe, Alarielle's gaze was drawn toward Malekith once more. The Witch King was taking his time in engaging, and continued to lurk behind the front lines upon that monstrous, dark Dragon. The more she looked at the beast, the more she was convinced that there was something not quite right about it. She could see the winds of magic swirling about it unnaturally, but whether that was something to do with the Dragon or its rider, she was not yet sure. Her attention was then drawn elsewhere as she felt a powerful surge of magic come from the Archmage on the right flank, and saw a dim flash in the skies above the main battery of Dark Elf Bolt Throwers behind the centre of their lines. She smiled slightly. It seemed another comet was on its way.

The second regiment of Phoenix Guard stepped wordlessly up next to their brethren and engaged the Black Guard, whilst their comrades focused upon the Dreadspears. A handful of Phoenix Guard fell silently, but a greater number of Black Guard died in return, and the Dreadspears fell in droves. The Phoenix Guard had the upper hand, but their opponents were stubborn and refused to yield.
The Hydras are starting to thin.
The line of Hydras had been broken up into a tangle of individual struggles. The remaining Lion Chariot succumbed to the beast that had already destroyed its twin, whilst the Hydra right next to it was torn apart by the Frostheart Phoenix it had been trying to fend off. The remaining Tiranoc Chariot was dismantled by two more Hydras, however one of them hissed in dismay when it saw what transpired next.
The Dark Elf Dragon can feel something nipping its tail. Oh, that would be the High Elf Star Dragon. Could be a problem.
The Druchii Dreadlord upon his Black Dragon had failed to make a real impact upon the Dragon Princes he was fighting, and now found himself under attack as the Caledor commander drove his own Star Dragon into the Dark Elf beast's flank. The Black Dragon bellowed in defiance and tried to turn to confront its more noble cousin, but it had been caught off-guard and was outclassed. The Dark Elf Dragon died where it stood, and its rider's scrambling attempts to escape were futile in the face of such rampant opposition. The Star Dragon ignored him on its way through to the enormous regiment of Witch Elves, who screamed praises to Khaine and brandished their wicked weaponry, ignoring a final volley of arrows raking their flank and dropping a mere dozen or so of their seemingly limitless number. The Dragon Princes carried rode the fleeing Dreadlord down mercilessly before setting their sights on the wide-eyed Hydra and thundering into its flank with lances lowered.
Alas, poor Black Dragon. Oh well, there are still plenty of Witch Elves to go round...
Volleys of fire came from the Shadow Warriors and Sea Guard on the right flank as they tried to thin the lines of Dark Elves moving toward them. They felled a handful of Corsairs, but the majority of them wrapped their sea dragon cloaks around them for protection, and continued their advance.

Not all of the High Elf Archers had shooting on their minds, however. Seeing the enemy Dreadspears crash into the Silver Helms containing their battle standard, the nearest regiment of Archers shouldered bows, drew blades and rushed to their assistance. The Dark Elves had an Assassin in their ranks, but he alone would not be enough to save the Druchii. Unfortunately, he was not alone. As the Archers arrived, more Assassins emerged from hiding. No less than 4 more of them, in fact! As demoralising as this must have been, the Archers fought bravely and managed to fell one of the evil death machines, although they suffered dearly in return with almost a dozen of their number slain to the envenomed blades. Better equipped than their would-be rescuers, the Silver Helms took a toll on the few enemy warriors who were not Assassins, and engaged on 2 fronts, the Druchii were forced back a step. However, they steadfastly refused to break ranks.
It turns out the ENTIRE UNIT is Assassins! Well no, not actually. But there are 5. Which is utterly bonkers, and totally unfair on those poor Archers, who were only trying to help.
The Archers reform in light of their sudden influx in casualties.
Near the cliffs, the Dragon Mage's mount was out for blood after the demise of its master and lunged at the Dark Riders as they came around the flank. It was joined on the charge by the White Lions, who attacked with axes held high. The Dark Elves were quick and deadly, and managed to slay half a dozen of the White Lions before they could bring their slower weapons to bear. But it was not enough to fend off their attackers, and they were brought down and destroyed as they tried to escape.
The vengeful Sun Dragon joins the White Lions in charging the Dark Riders.
The Dark Elf Beastlord on his Manticore fared better in his struggle with the Flamespyre Phoenix, and the Manticore managed to inflict a couple of telling wounds on its blazing opponent. The Phoenix had no reply and finding itself outmatched, it turned and fled over the heads of the onrushing White Lions. The Manticore tried to pursue, but was too angry to make any real headway and had to settle for raging impotently.
I know, it all looks out of focus, right? No, that's just he Manticore's rage haze. Everything looks blurry when you're that angry.
The pursuers from both sides almost collide in the centre.
The centre at the end of the High Elf turn.
The left flank/centre.
Nobody likes a Shaggoth. Maybe it was something he said?

Dark Elves Turn 3
Dark Elves Turn 3. To see a larger version, right-click and select "Open Link in New Tab"
Stuff is happening!
With N'kari banished and his advantage shrinking, Malekith sighed and finally allowed Sulekh to have his head. The Dragon gave a great, deafening roar that seemed to quiet the rest of the battle for a moment as it echoed across the bloody fields, then leapt into the sky before snapping his huge, leathery wings out and steering his way down upon the enemy Frostheart Phoenix. Malekith promised himself he would cause his generals untold misery for forcing his hand like this. The thought alone of their terror gave him some consolation as he drew Destroyer and prepared himself for battle.
Malekith finally gets his hands dirty
As Sulekh's unnatural roar reached Alarielle's ears, she began to understand her confusion. There was indeed something wrong with the enormous Dragon – it seemed to have been possessed in some way by some foul daemon of Chaos. Perhaps the tales of Sulekh's demise all those centuries ago had not been incorrect, and the Witch King had struck some dark pact with the ruinous powers to retain his services. With this realisation, she felt her confidence grow. Now she knew her enemy, she could take steps to counter him.
Combats galore on the Dark Elf right
On the Dark Elf right flank, aggression was on display everywhere you looked. The regiment of Chosen Chaos Warriors charged the exposed flank of the White Lions and hacked into them. More than half of the High Elves died, however the disciplined warriors held their nerve and their position, though they were surely doomed.
The Chosen flank the White Lions 
This could go poorly, lads
It's a rather painful experience for the White Lions, but they hold anyway because they like pain.
The Griffon prepares to vent his frustration on the Harpies
The Loremaster and Keeper of Secrets face off.
The Swordmasters were in danger of bringing the Keeper of Secrets down, however the Greater Daemon had other ideas and cast Enfeebling Foe upon them, filling them with a sudden feebleness that belied their earlier might. The Loremaster was now powerless to stop this, but stepped forward to fight the daemon with the tools he still possessed – his great sword. Positive though his intent may have been, the dreadful weight of the spell dragging his hands and feet down made threatening the enemy difficult. For his troubles he was badly wounded, and only barely managed to keep his feet. The Harpies were less fortunate, as the remainder of them were devoured by the rampant Griffon. The Keeper of Secrets was now alone, but it was far from a spent force.
The Keeper is all alone. But he does have a big sword. That might help.
To the rescue!
The Cold One Knights crash into the Swordmasters before they can mop up the Daemonettes.
The Cold One Knights led by the bearer of N'kari's banner charged into the Swordmasters as they tried to finish off the Daemonettes. The fury of the charge was frightening, and a dozen High Elves fell, including the Noble at the regiment's head. Though they fought back and managed to bring down two of the Cold One Knights, the fight was very one-sided and the carnage had been too much for the Swordmasters, who fled only to be trampled by the pursuing Cold One Knights as they carried their momentum forward and into the rallied Ellyrian Reavers. The Daemonettes were left free to reform their unit and look for a new (preferrably vulnerable and defenceless) target.
They killed how many Swordmasters? Seems like a lot. The Swordmasters apparently think so too.
The Cold One Knights pursue into the remnant of the Ellyrian Reavers.
The monstrous Shaggoth in the centre of the field lumbered into the front of the Silver Helms and laid about itself with an enormous axe. Three of the High Elves did not survive (nor did their horses, such was the brutality of the attack), however they fought back and inflicted a couple of wounds, and their numbers were sufficient to give them the advantage.
The Shaggoth goes in...
...And gets bogged. Oh look, are those Swordmasters in your flank? That might be bad.
The ineptitude of the Chaos Warriors continued as they tried and failed once more to muster a decent charge at the flank of the Noble Eagle riders fighting the Dreadspears. The Knights were likewise unsuccessful in their attempt to charge the unengaged Swordmaster regiment, their horses seemingly overcome with an inability to put one hoof in front of another. The Lord of Slaanesh at their head cursed the lot of them and threatened them with many terrible and titillating punishments should their failure continue (his soldiers' delight in such dread promises may have contributed to their pathetic efforts to actually fulfil their orders).
The Chaos Knights fail the charge on the Swordmasters.
The Chaos Warriors continue to trip over their own clown shoes and go nowhere fast.
Happily oblivious to the fact that there was a large regiment of Chaos Warriors repeatedly failing to charge them in the flank, the Nobles on Eagles and the Lion Chariots fought on against the Dreadspears. For their part, the Dark Elves finally managed to destroy one of the Chariots, however they were still on the back foot and only remained where they were thanks to their steadfast and numerically superior formation.

Having disposed of the unit's champion, the Prince and his Moon Dragon set about trying to hack apart the Dreadspear unit they were engaging. However, the champion's sacrifice had bought his comrades enough time to prepare themselves, and the Dragon faced an impenetrable wall of spear tips as it moved forward aggressively. Most were aimed at the more vulnerable rider on top, and twice the spears found their way past his armour, wounding him grievously. The Dragon pulled back at the cries from its rider, but was not entirely driven off.
Tyrion's Silver Helms under seemingly unimpressive attack
In a courageous display, the shattered remnants of the Black Guard regiment nearby readied their halberds and charged into the flank of the large group of Silver Helms with Tyrion at their head. The High Elf cavalry outnumbered the Dark Elves at least two to one, but their hatred drove them on. A group of Harpies found their enthusiasm contagious and launched themselves straight into the front of the Silver Helms. As suicidal as this was, the chaos their arrival and subsequent destruction caused was enough of a distraction for the Black Guard. A High Elf Noble turned in his saddle and prepared to strike, however the Dark Elves parted as they approached and another Assassin made his presence known by slashing the Noble across the throat, killing him immediately. The Black Guard and Silver Helms had more trouble landing a telling blow against each other, and the Black Guard stubbornly kept at their task despite the demise of their Harpy allies.
The Assassin demonstrated the power of Murderous Prowess combined with Killing Blow by turning 1s into 6s in bogus style.
Another flock of Harpies did their best to ignore the ignominious fate of their kin and landed nearby, blocking the advance of the White Lions. How they felt about this apparent sacrifice of their lives was not recorded (if the Dark Elf generals had even bothered to ask, which seems unlikely since they clearly didn't care at all).

The Phoenix Guard continued to take a terrible toll upon the Black Guard and Dreadspears, however they soon found themselves assisted by a Dreadlord as his Dragon crashed into the fray. Their arrival finally swung the struggle in the Dark Elves' favour, but not enough to break the Phoenix Guard formations.
What, a Dragon now? It's OK, we've got this. Except that we don't actually say any of this, because we're creepy mutes.
The Black Guard are starting to run out of warriors.
Sulekh descends upon the unlucky Phoenix
The sight of Malekith dropping upon the Frostheart Phoenix was like a nightmare made real. Sulekh's vast wingspan blotted out the sun, and in the shadows his eyes blazed an unnatural red. The beast stank of carrion as it blasted another roar that could shatter eardrums. The Phoenix had been directing its attention across the field to its right, and beat its great, frosty wings furiously as it scrambled to react to this new development. Another Hydra joined the fray as it slunk around from behind Sulekh's massive form and waited for an opportunity to take a bite (or five) at the over-sized bird. To make matters worse, as he swept down Malekith sent forth a Word of Pain, causing the Phoenix to convulse and shriek in agony. Through the haze of pain, it felt the dread talons of Sulekh slashing at it, most of them glancing from its ice-hard and magically protective feathers. A couple of his strikes did find purchase however, causing new cries to be forced from the Phoenix. Remarkably however, it refused to yield and held its position, doing its best to endure the Witch King's magical assault.
Such the defiant birdie. The Phoenix isn't going anywhere. Not even when he's crippled by Dark Magic and fighting a monster with 9 for most of its stats!
Another Hydra fell nearby as the Dragon Princes drove home their charge. The beast fell without offering more than token resistance, and it left the Elf knights free to reform and face the Witch Elves as they battled the Prince of Caledor nearby. The Star Dragon crashed into the unit with terrible force, fire pouring from its maw. Around a score of Witch Elves were incinerated, crushed, mauled or impaled in that fearsome assault, but they did not go quietly. Heedless of their own safety, they flung themselves at their target, poisoned blades seeking out the few weakpoints in its scaly hide. Again and again their attacks found their target unerringly, and the Dragon was all but dead from the opening exchange. Despite their successes, the Witch Elves were forced back the ferocity of the charge, and they lost some of their crazed enthusiasm as a result.
The Witch Elves brace themselves for the arrival of more High Elves.
The Corsairs add to the misery of the Archers.
The Phoenix heading for the hills and leaving the Archers to their fate. Of course, the Phoenix was already fleeing, so it was not by choice per se.
The Corsairs on the Dark Elf left flank charged at the fleeing Flamespyre Phoenix, but it saw them coming and with another beat of its fiery wings, it was away and out of their reach. If they were frustrated they didn't show it, instead turning and charging into the flank of the Archers trying to fend off the one thousand Assassins in the Dreadspear unit they had themselves flanked. The Archers and Silver Helms both fought bravely, and the Archers managed to bring down another of the enemy Assassins, however they were not equipped for combat and the combined assault was too much for them. They broke and were destroyed by the Corsairs as they turned to run. The Silver Helms also lost their nerve and fled, despite the strident cries of their battle standard bearer. He stood and died defending his banner, but it was not enough to keep the Dark Elves from overrunning his unit as they tried to escape. The Assassins gleefully leapt between the fleeing High Elves, hacking and stabbing until there were no survivors.
Assassin power! If Assassins don't solve your problem, you simply are not using enough.
The Executioners and Cold One Chariot both set their sights on the riderless Sun Dragon, however only the Chariot found itself within reach. Already wounded as it was, the beast was killed by the impact of the Chariot, which swept on past as though killing 2 Dragons in a day was nothing special.

Hard on the flank, the Manticore had a taste for blood, and decided that the White Lions nearby looked tasty. Ignoring the feeble commands and protests of its rider, it lunged into their midst, tearing the lot of them apart in an orgy of bloodshed. Amid the screams of the dismembered and dying, all the Beastmaster on top could do was pat the panting Manticore on the back and salute its brutal savagery.
The Dark Elf left flank at the end of the turn.
The Dark Elf centre at the end of turn 3.
The Dark Elf right at the end of the turn
A broader shot across some of the table
End of Turn 3
High Elves: 6545 VPs
Dark Elves: 5823 VPs


  1. Great battle report - I've enjoying this one even more than Hel Fenn.

    1. It's got Dragons. That means it wins, right?

    2. It's got high elves dieing. What's not to love about that

    3. Dragons and kinslaying ... the staples of epic fantasy. :-D

  2. What company made the Sulekh dragon kit and what is it called, if you recall? It is a huge kit!

    1. I'm told it was made by Rackham, but you can't get it anymore. It is a relic of the past...