This post is a continuation of my account of the recent tournament, Axemaster 2014. You can find the previous part of the report here.
Simon Kwok, Empire
- Arch Lector on War Altar with Talisman of Preservation, Charmed Shield, Van Horstmann's Speculum, Great Weapon
- Wizard Lord (Level 4, Lore of Light)
- Captain BSB with Obsidian Lodestone, Full Plate Armour, Enchanted Shield (not really sure for this guy)
- Battle Wizard (Level 1, Lore of Light) with Dispel Scroll
- Battle Wizard (Level 1, Lore of Light)
- Witch Hunter with Brace of Pistols
- 40 Halberdiers with Full Command
- 30 Spearmen with Musician
- 30 Spearmen with Musician
- 10 Archers
- 4 Demigryphs with Standard, Musician
- 4 Demigryphs with Standard, Musician
- Celestial Hurricanum
- Steam Tank
Comp Score: 3
This was not a match-up that my army fancied at all. A double-Banishment "light council" backed by 2 cannons. It was precisely the sort of list that my Griffons wanted nothing to do with. And I couldn't even rush into combat for fear of what the Demigryphs and Steam Tank would do to my units. In conclusion, Simon's list was obviously better constructed than mine. I knew it would be a struggle, so just resolved to have some fun and get it over with...
|Deployment. My second Griffon is almost in the picture on the left.|
|Simon's main lines. The Wizard Lord is in the Spearmen on the right. Smaller Wizard and Witch Hunter in the big Halberdier block in the middle, another along with the BSB in the Spearmen to the left|
|The Cannon sitting up the back, making the most of its huge range.|
|Simon's entire army is Goblins dressed as Empire soldiers. Unsurprisingly it won the players' choice award|
|The converted Steam Tank|
During deployment we both effectively ignored my right-hand side of the table, with the exception of Simon's Great Cannon sitting back in the corner. I had my Demigryphs, BSB and general on my right flank in the hope of sweeping along the line with these fast elements. I got the first turn and moved these up aggressively, particularly the Demigryphs (as the only thing that would be relatively safe should the enemy Demigryphs decide to charge). I had put my other Griffon hard on the left flank, but any plans I might have had for it were cancelled when Simon put his Steam Tank over there. My Steam Tank's cannon misfired in the first turn and it took a couple of wounds. I tried to mess up the enemy lines a bit with Final Transmutation, but didn't get it through.
|My Turn 1. A general advance.|
Simon's lines didn't move much in the first turn, beyond the Demigryphs on my left swinging in a little. But then, he didn't need to engage me in a hurry. I think he had a poor first magic phase, but then his Cannon fired, clearing the line of Demigryphs I was trying to use as a shield and landing smack on the head of my general and his Griffon. The rider died, the Griffon once again failed its Monster Reaction test, and this time, sitting out in the middle of the field in front of artillery and powerful magic, it decided to go Unbreakable and hold its ground for the rest of the game. In other words, it was completely doomed and Simon could pick it off at his leisure. Sigh.
|Simon's Turn 1. Less advancing than in my turn.|
The Steam Tank somewhat bizarrely decided to shoot at Luthor Huss in his Knight unit, but I think the shot left the unit unharmed whilst cleaning up a single Archer from the unit behind them.
|The Archers move up to screen my Knights from charging the Demigryphs.|
|The Witch Hunter strides forth alone, intent upon sniping my Metal Wizard from his unit.|
|The bravest model on the battlefield. Who needs units?|
The only things that really moved a long way that turn were a unit of Archers acting as a screen, and Simon's heroic Witch Hunter. As his unit backed off, he strode forth manfully to face my entire army single-handed. Both his pistols were aimed at the head of the Metal Wizard in the Halberdiers, but thankfully his aim was slightly off and no real damage was sustained.
In my turn I was acutely aware of having lost a Griffon already, and decided to push forward. My Knights charged into the Archers in such a way that if I wiped them out, I'd clip the Demigryphs on the overrun and wheel into them. Unfortunately this was a miscalculation. The Knights and horses killed 9 out of 10 of them, which meant when it was Luthor Huss' turn to swing with his great weapon, he wasn't in contact with anything. So a single Archer lived to flee, which altered my course ever so slightly and meant I missed the Demigryphs. Thinking about it now, I should have considered this and realised that it was more likely that I would leave one alive than wipe them out. I could have connected accordingly. It was a miscalculation.
|My Knights miss the Demigryphs because of a meddlesome Archer, and my Griffon does foolish things without help from any other parties.|
To continue my addled behaviour, I flew over Simon's front lines with the remaining Griffon and landed right in the middle of his units. I really wanted to bring it into the game, but the proximity of the Steam Tank and power of the Demigryphs meant I had to get behind the lines. A unit of Spearmen and the Hurricanum could see me, but I figured it wasn't too dangerous. Again this was a miscalculation, as we will see in a bit.
On my right flank, my Demigyphs charged into Simon's, and I sent in the BSB as well. He could have peeled off and dealt with the Cannon, but I wanted him in the combat to ensure things were in my favour. Between the charge, extra banner, extra Demigryph and the higher WS attacks from the BSB, I figured I would make sure I broke the unit and exposed Simon's infantry regiments. Somewhat disappointingly, this didn't work out as I had planned. I only managed to get 3 wounds through after saves, which was one less than Simon did. It meant I only won combat by 1, so he held and I was bogged.
|After a round of combat, both Demigryph units have lost a model and I am no closer to being rid of that enemy unit.|
In terms of magic, I tried once more for Final Transmutation, aiming for the BSB's unit in the hope of killing him. My Wizard got a bit excited and cast the spell irresistibly, but didn't manage to hurt the BSB or the Wizard lurking in the same unit. I turned a few Spearmen into little golden goblin statues which was all well and good, but the point of the spell had failed. Stupidity would affect a whole swathe of units, but with the BSB still in play, nothing was likely to fail. For my part, the miscasting Wizard rolled a Dimensional Cascade and sucked about a dozen Halberdiers, a couple of Archers and himself into the warp. Oops. Not sure that was worth it.
|Oops. Oh well, at least I killed some models.|
That turn my Steam Tank decided to turn toward the Great Cannon and try to silence it before it finished off my grief-stricken Griffon, but I failed to hurt it (I think the cannon ball stuck in the ground).
As predicted, Simon passed all of his Stupidity tests thanks to the combination of the Arch Lector's leadership and the BSB's re-rolls. He then unleashed a world of hurt on my units. The Griffon was charged by both the Hurricanum and Spearmen, and my Knights were flanked by the Demigryphs and War Altar whilst the Halberdiers went in the front. The brazen Witch Hunter decided to charge into the other flank, just for good measure. My Demigryphs found themselves flanked by the remaining unit of Spearmen, led by the Wizard Lord.
|It's that Witch Hunter again.|
|My Demigryphs are flanked as punishment for their failure to break through as planned.|
I managed to stop most of the enemy magic, but the Arch Lector still gave everything within 6" the ability to re-roll failed wounds. Combined with the Hurricanum and Hatred, I was in for a bit of a walloping. I say all this, but the Knight combat was closer than you might think. My armour did a reasonable job of reducing my casualties, and Luth Huss went berserk and did 5 wounds to the enemy Demigryphs. My unit champion fought the Arch Lector to a standstill and actually did a wound to him in the challenge. Unfortunately the enemy ranks were telling, and I broke and was run down.
|The Knights are gone, and that Witch Hunter is gloating. You can tell. Taking all the credit (he was not the deciding factor).|
My Griffon landing where it had was revealed to be a bad plan when the Hurricanum (re-rolling failed wounds thanks to the Arch Lector) slammed into it and did a ton of wounds with impact hits before the little Wizard issued a challenge. The Griffon scored a few wounds in the challenge and killed the Wizard, but the damage was really done by all those impact hits and being unable to bring my great weapon and Thunderstomp attacks to bear. It had been foolish to land there, although had the Final Transmutation paid dividends (or had Simon rolled badly for impact hits) I might have gotten away with it. I lost badly and was also run down, and with that my left flank was gone.
Things were suddenly pretty one-sided, so I'll keep things relatively brief.
|My line reforming later in the game.|
My Demigryphs were the only real success story, and they fought well enough to hold or perhaps even win the combat (harvesting some wounds from the newly arrived Spearmen to compensate for the combat bonus that their ranks brought). That combat ground on for several rounds. I killed the Wizard Lord at some point (he didn't have a save) and eventually killed the last of the Demigryphs, but in that round the BSB was suddenly out of the combat and the Demigryphs broke before they could reform and crush the Spearmen. The standard dies, but thankfully I got away with the sole survivor, who kept running until the end of the game and survived a near-miss with a cannon shot in the final turn to deny Simon some points. The Spearmen ran into my BSB as they chased, and impressively he then held them off single-handed for the final few rounds.
|The Demigryphs grind on, finally getting the better of Simon's unit.|
|The Demigryphs break, but the BSB fights on.|
|And on, and on...|
My Halberdiers fled in turn 2 (it might have been panic from my miscast, or it might have been a Banishment or fled charge from Simon's units), and panicked the detachment that was housing my remaining 2 Wizards. The Halberdiers rallied, but the Detachment didn't and carried all my remaining magic from the table.
My wounded Griffon's mourning was finally brought to an end by Banishment, and it was left to my Steam Tank to fly the flag in the centre. It did try. One shot from its cannon hit the War Altar, knocking off the Charmed Shield and half-killing the chariot. Unfortunately I couldn't quite replicate that with a couple more attempts, as that would have gone a long way to improving my position.
|The Steam Tank fights on alone.|
Simon's Steam Tank and Great Cannon eventually silenced my Tank in the dying stages of the game, and that leaves only one thing that needs to be discussed. The fate of the Witch Hunter.
|Duel of the Fates music is totally playing right now. Such the epic combat.|
After helping to run down my fleeing Knights (who had the temerity to wound him before they went), the Witch Hunter headed toward my lines before being charged by the remaining 2 Archers of one of my detachments. Epic music played and the Witch Hunter fought valiantly (by which I mean he did nothing except rant and rave about witches, people being turned into newts and burning innocent people at the stake), before he was clubbed over the head with a bow and put out of his misery. It was a bad end for a brave Goblin.
I had been soundly smashed, with only my Halberdiers, BSB and Demigryphs (or what was left of them, anyway) remaining. Simon had lost his Demigryphs, Wizard Lord, one of the little Wizards, Archers and Witch Hunter. The game had been one-sided and the score reflected it.