Monday, 29 September 2014

Axemaster 2014 – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my account of the recent tournament, Axemaster 2014. You can find the previous part of the report here.

Game 2
Josh Tucker, Ogre Kingdoms
  • Slaughtermaster (Level 4, Lore of the Great Maw) with Talisman of Preservation, Great Weapon
  • Bruiser BSB with Armour of Destiny, Great Weapon
  • Firebelly (Level 2, Lore of Fire) with 2 Hand Weapons, Dispel Scroll?
  • 9 Ironguts with Full Command, Standard of Discipline
  • 8 Ogres with Full Command, Light Armour, Ironfists
  • 6 Leadbelchers
  • 4 Mournfangs with Ironfists, Standard, Musician, Dragonhide Banner
  • 1 Sabretusk
  • 1 Sabretusk
  • Stonehorn
  • Stonehorn
Comp Score: 5
Yup, 2 Stonehorns. Now that is classy.

Next up was Josh who, being a man amongst men, had fielded 2 Stonehorns in the place of anything sensible like an Ironblaster. I can only salute such folly - it was akin to fielding a pair of Griffons! Well OK, maybe it's slightly more sensible than that. Josh's comp score was still 4 points below mine, but it was the highest I encountered in the tournament. As I said earlier, people who understood the player pack (and didn't choose to ignore the logical conclusions like I did) had chosen to stick with pretty tough lists.
The BSB led the regular Ogres; the Slaughtermaster and Firebelly were in the Ironguts.
This felt like a pretty good match-up for me, with no artillery and not much ranged magic to threaten the Griffons. I won the first turn and moved most of my quicker elements over on my left into a position to charge things the following turn (especially if the Ogres advanced). My Steam Tank killed one of the Mournfangs with a cannon shot, but failed to wound the Stonehorn behind. Searing Doom took off another of the Mournfangs, but they passed both their panic tests with the general nearby.
The Empire forces advance warily.
One of the Sabretusks places itself in a slightly dangerous position.
One of Josh's Sabretusks rushed forward to block my Demigryphs, whilst the Stonehorn to my left attempted a long-range charge on my Knights. It failed and shambled forward a few inches, whilst the rest of the army hung back and any units that moved forward at all did so pretty tentatively. My Steam Tank lost a couple of wounds from the Bonecruncher spell (I think).
The Ogres advance cautiously.
In my turn the Demigryphs charged the Sabretusk and swatted it, whilst the Knights and a Griffon charged into the front of the nearest Stonehorn. I assumed I would break it, but impressively my units tore it apart before it could attack (the Griffon gave it a good mauling). This allowed the Knights to overrun into the Leadbelchers, however they were so close that I couldn't wheel more than a single model into contact.
The Stonehorn discovers its failed charge got it a bit close to the enemy lines.
The Griffon and Knights make impressively short work of the Stonehorn.
The Leadbelchers were too close to the Stonehorn, and are clipped by the Knights as they overrun.
The Steam Tank continued to head toward the Mournfangs a little faster than I would have liked, and shot off another of their number, leaving just one survivor.
The Steam Tank apparently dislikes the Mournfangs.
The last one heads for the hills, hiding in the corner and avoiding my notice in the later game.
In Josh's turn the remaining Mournfang turned and ran for cover behind a hill near the back corner of the table. There it met up with the remaining Sabretusk, who had also decided to spend the game hiding out in the hope of escaping notice. Meanwhile the Ironguts were sick of the Steam Tank's antics and wheeled about to charge it in the flank. They hammered at it with their great weapons, and managed to inflict a few wounds. The Slaughtermaster cast Spinemarrow to make his unit Stubborn and try to dissuade my units that were in range from attempting a rescue.
The Ironguts crash into the flank of the Steam Tank. I was not at all displeased. The main enemy unit bogged against the one thing they couldn't kill quickly, and their flank facing my lines.
The Stonehorn moves up to support the Ironguts, whilst the Ogres back away from the combat involving the Leadbelchers.
The Leadbelchers fared less well in their combat. They were only fighting a single file of Knights, however the model at the front of that file was Luthor Huss, who decided to hulk out and suddenly had 5 Attacks at Weapon Skill 8 and Strength 9. The Ogres were thrashed and failed to hold on Insane Courage. I decided to reform with the Knights rather than waste a turn chasing them, and was rewarded when Josh rolled pretty high for his flee roll and the Leadbelchers left the table as my unit shifted to face a new target.
Luthor Huss bludgeons his way through the Leadbelchers in admirable fashion, and the survivors flee the field.
With the Ironguts being stubborn and not a lot I could throw into the fray, I decided to delay any rescue of the Steam Tank and settled for casting Wyssan's Wildform on it instead, lifting it to Toughness 7. I'm not quite sure how the spell works on an inanimate steel machine, but I like to think it started to grow hair in random places and maybe growled a bit. Anyway, it was able to shrug off the enemy attacks for a turn and even crushed an Irongut under its wheels as it grumpily resisted their efforts.

With the Leadbelchers gone, my Knights had been looking for a new target and charged into the remaining unit of Ogres alongside the nearby Griffon. This didn't go as well as I anticipated, as I lost a few Knights charging through dangerous terrain on the way in. The Griffon ended up accepting a challenge from the Ogre BSB and did no damage whatsoever (I'm not sure I even landed a hit). Thankfully the Ogre didn't roll very well either, but the rest of the combat was similarly disappointing. I think I killed a single Ogre with the Knights, and lost a couple of models in return which meant the Ogres were Steadfast for their break test, which of course they passed. When I declared the charges, I had assumed I'd clean the unit off in a round and be ready to rescue the Ironguts. Now that wasn't going to happen...
The Knights lose 3 of their number to dangerous terrain (before we then removed the offending rocks entirely as they were causing us headaches). Somehow a charge that killed a Stonehorn outright could only account for a single Ogre this time around,
My remaining forces move into supporting positions.
In my turn I had moved my BSB into the Halberdiers to shore them up with Hold the Line against the charge of the Stonehorn, whilst moving the Demigryphs into a position to counter-charge the following turn. The Stonehorn apparently thought my obvious trap to be a quaint thing, and barrelled straight into the front of the Halberdiers. It smashed in and did plenty of damage, however my unit held its ground as planned. Josh had cast Spinemarrow and Trollguts upon the Stonehorn to give it Stubborn and Regeneration in preparation for the arrival of the Demigryphs.
The Stonehorn ploughs straight into the waiting Halberdiers.
The Ironguts continued to bludgeon away at the Steam Tank and were making gradual progress. Without the Hatred and lances on my Knights, they bounced fairly ineffectually off the Ogres, and the Ogres couldn't break through their armour in return. Unfortunately the Ogre BSB woke from his earlier stupor and smashed the rider off my Griffon with contemptuous ease. If I won the combat at all that turn, it wasn't by much.

Despite the magically bolstered Stonehorn's apparent lack of concern, the Demigryphs stuck with the plan of trying to reinforce the Halberdiers and charged into its flank. I cast Birona's Timewarp on them too, so they arrived with a wall of ASF attacks. I was somewhat disappointed then when I did 9 wounds and Josh passed 8 Regeneration rolls. I think I had been forced to let Trollguts through in order to prevent the Ironguts from gaining a Strength from Bullgorger and tearing up the Steam Tank, but I was feeling it now. The Stonehorn continued to frolick amongst the Halberdiers, flinging broken corpses all over the place, and I didn't even make it take a break test. Some rescue.
Break, damn you! Send more Griffons!
Speaking of rescues, I gave up on trying to save the Tank and charged over the Ironguts with my second Griffon into the flank of the Ogres as they continued to hold up my lines. This was finally too much for the Ogres and the broke and ran, however my pursuit rolls were a mess and everything got tangled (one of the Griffons went 4" or something and it meant a wasted turn for the rest of them).
The Demigryphs continue to try to maul the Stonehorn, but now the Ironguts get involved.
Perhaps realising that help was never going to arrive, my Steam Tank gave up its stalwart defence and was finally smashed to pieces by the Ironguts at what was probably the worst possible time. The Ironguts were able to reform just in time to charge straight into the flank of my Halberdiers as they tried to fend off the Stonehorn. The carnage was terrible, not least because the Firebelly went berserk and burnt 8 or 9 of my men to death with his fiery breath. For my part, the Demigryphs still had Birona's Timewarp upon them and ripped the Stonehorn to shreds as Josh had elected to move Trollguts onto the Ironguts instead. Anyway, the Demigryphs were no longer in the combat, but they could only sit and watch as the Halberdiers freaked out at their horrendous casualties and broke, losing me my BSB in the process. The Ironguts chased them down and ran straight into the front of the Demigryphs.
With the Halberdiers and Stonehorn gone, the Demigryphs and Ironguts now face each other.
At about this point it became apparent that we were not playing quickly enough, which was unfortunate as I needed one more turn in order to catch up to the Ironguts with the rest of my army. The Demigryphs would have to tough it out alone. They were not entirely unassisted however, as I once more cast Birona's Timewarp on the unit in order to give them a fighting chance. Over the next 2 rounds of combat, I cut the Firebelly out of his unit (Trollguts once again making the job harder than it should have been), left the Slaughtermaster on a single wound (apparently Josh is terrible at proper 4+ ward saves, and I should have attacked him earlier), and culled a few Ironguts. I lost a couple of Demigryphs in return, and I think we might both have taken a break test by the end with both sides holding their ground.
After a couple of rounds of combat, the units remain deadlocked.
With one more turn I probably would have cleaned up, but I honestly don't know what caused us to run out of time. I had also failed to go after the Mournfang and Sabretusk skulking behind the hill because I had forgotten they were there (there were a lot of dead models nearby so I failed to notice them in time). That last Mournfang could have given me a handy score boost. In the end it was a decent result, but not the crushing victory I thought was on the cards when I had cleaned off the Leadbelchers.

Result: 14-6

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