Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Battle of Bumpkin: Part 1

A 2500 point battle report between Nick Gentile's Dark Elves and Greg Johnson's Empire, as chronicled by that most questionable of note-takers, Owen Top.

Hellebron stalked through the burning human village, a scowl of dissatisfaction upon her face. Blood dripped from the blades she carried in either hand, but it did nothing to brighten her mood. She had been persuaded to launch this raid upon the northern Empire town of Bumpkin with the promise of a large population with weak defences. It was a certain slaughter. She and her sisters would bathe in an ocean of blood. The mere thought of it had been enough to get her ancient, withered heart racing.

She should have known the promises were too good to be true. By the time her forces had landed near the town, the humans had already raised the alarm, and many had fled inland, preferring to take their chances with the dangers of the forests than standing to face the fate awaiting them at the merciless hands of the Druchii. The town was still defended by a combination of soldiers and militia, however they were relatively few in number and the fight was over quickly. Worse; they had stood their ground bravely and died fighting. There had been precious few victims left for the Khainites to torment and murder in a satisfying manner.

With most of the town's inhabitants long gone and no real sport to be found, Hellebron had been forced to draw what satisfaction she could from murdering the odd litter of adorable puppies that had been left behind. Even this had done little to lift her spirits. With so little bloodshed to be enjoyed, the frown furrowing her brow at that moment would likely be stuck there permanently. She could almost feel her youthful complexion fading as her aggitation increased. If should could not revel in a true slaughter, the least she could do was to enjoy a little more suffering. Perhaps she should torture her scouts who had brought her on this fruitless expedition in the first place. And then maybe they could take a detour on the way home, and find some cute little baby seals to destroy.

The thought of making something cute and cuddly suffer lifted her mood somewhat, as one of her scouts (who would soon be suffering terribly at her hand) hurried toward her. "My queen," he saluted. "Another force of soldiers approaches. It seems they have ridden to try to relieve the town. The human Emperor's personal standard flies with them."

In spite of her previous brooding, Hellebron could not help but smile wickedly at this news. Perhaps she would have a chance to cause some real suffering today, after all.


The Empire
My Empire. Yeah, you've seen them all before...
  • KF Karl Franz, The Emperor
    Barded Warhorse, Full Plate Armour, Ghal Maraz, Silver Seal
    394 points
  • GtW Godot the White
    Wizard Lord (Level 4, Lore of Light) with Talisman of Endurance
    230 points
  • LS Ludwig Schwartzhelm
    Barded Warhorse, the Emperor's Standard, Sword of Justice, Full Plate Armour
    185 points
  • SF Sir Flappypants
    Captain on Pegasus with Full Plate Armour, Shield, Lance, Dragonhelm, Swift as the Winds
    140 points
  • Sp Sparky
    Battle Wizard (Level 1, Lore of Fire) with Dispel Scroll
    90 points
  • KIC 10 Knights of the Inner Circle
    Barded Steeds, Full Plate Armour, Lances, Shields, Full Command
    280 points
  • Hal 39 Halberdiers
    Halberds, Light Armour, Standard, Musician
    254 points
  • SDet 15 Swordsman Detachment
    Light Armour, Shields
    105 points
  • ADet 5 Archer Detachment
    35 points
  • Wolf 4 Wolfygryphs
    Demigryph Knights with Full Plate Armour, Lances, Shields, Standard, Musician
    252 points
  • RK 5 Reiksguard Knights
    Barded Steeds, Full Plate Armour, Lances, Shields, Standard, Musician
    155 points
  • ST Steam Tank
    250 points
  • CH Celestial Hurricanum
    130 points
  • Total: 2500 points
Nick had been talking up his newly painted Dark Elf army since before he started painting it, so when he suggested we arrange a battle report, I was happy to agree. His list would be a slightly expanded version of the one he had done very well with at Castle Assault the previous weekend, so I knew it was going to be pretty competitive. He actually sent me the basics of the list in a text message, so I had a fair idea of what I would be facing.

I considered a few different armies, however most of my options were going to struggle to compete against Nick’s force, so I ended up sticking with the Empire, which had the best options. I then set about constructing a list that was slightly more powerful than what I might normally use, in an effort to give us an even game.

I decided to lead my army with Karl Franz on a warhorse as he is about the most capable combat character available to the Empire. Ghal Maraz would be slightly wasted against most of Nick’s army, but it’s what I have on the model so I paid the points to replace the Runefang anyway. I still had enough Lord points left for a Level 4 Light Wizard, which I figured would be essential if I was going to give my units a chance of standing up to Nick’s larger combat blocks (and try to reduce Hellebron’s fearsome effectiveness).

As capable as Karl Franz is, I then undermined this somewhat by taking Ludwig Schwartzhelm as my BSB. I figured the Emperor wouldn’t go into battle without his personal champion, so it only made sense. Unfortunately Ludwig is “not all that” defensively, so I figured he might not make it through the game.

I originally planned to include a Warrior Priest (possibly Luthor Huss) in my list, however as I tried to squeeze other things in, he failed to make the cut. I did put in a Level 1 Fire Wizard with a Dispel Scroll in the hope of fending off a nasty blast of Searing Doom from the Dark Elf Sorceress, whilst potentially knocking off some of the lighter targets in Nick’s list with his Fireball (or even just whittling down the larger combat blocks).

What started as a large unit of Inner Circle Knights was eventually trimmed back to just 10 models, however I did throw in a unit of 5 Reiksguard later to give me some options. 40 Halberdiers helped fill out the Core requirement, and they brought detachments of 15 Swordsmen and 5 Archers with them. I hoped to make use of the detachments either to control the game a bit, or at least as a slightly safer place in which to hide my wizards.

4 Demigryph Knights and a Steam Tank were essential choices for the list, giving me a more resilient spine with which to engage the Dark Elves. They wouldn’t slow down Hellebron much, but she and the Lore of Metal promised to be the only real threats to them. Finally I put in a Hurricanum. It would help me in combat a bit, but the main reason I wanted it was to boost my magic phase a bit. I would need enough power dice to help me force through Speed of Light or Timewarp at the critical moment.

Of course, this plan was messed up somewhat when I rolled abysmally for my spells, and rolled neither Speed of Light or Timewarp with my Wizard Lord. Thankfully there was a double in there, so I was able to swap for Speed of Light, but it meant I had no back-up if Nick managed to stop it. Oh well, the plan could still work – it would just be a bit more risky…

Dark Elves
Nick Gentile's Dark Elves
  • MD Metalla Deville
    Supreme Sorceress (Level 4, Lore of Metal) with Book of Ashur
    290 points
  • Hel Hellebron
    Lunatic Elf Chick
    310 points
  • BSB Battle Standard Bearer
    Master with Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak
    153 points
  • TLR The Lone Ranger
    Master on Dark Steed with Dragonhelm, Heavy Armour, Halberd, Sea Dragon Cloak
    100 points
  • WE 30 Witch Elves
    Additional Hand Weapons, Full Command, Razor Standard
    405 points
  • D 10 Darkshards
    Repeater Crossbows, Light Armour, Shields, Standard, Musician
    150 points
  • DR1 5 Dark Riders 1
    Light Armour, Shields, Spears, Repeater Crossbows
    100 points
  • DR2 5 Dark Riders 2
    Light Armour, Shields, Spears, Repeater Crossbows
    100 points
  • Ex 21 Executioners
    Great Weapons, Heavy Armour, Full Command
    282 points
  • COK 5 Cold One Knights
    Heavy Armour, Shields, Lances, Full Command, Gleaming Pennant
    185 points
  • RBT1 Reaver Bolt Thrower
    2 Crew with Light Armour
    70 points
  • RBT2 Reaver Bolt Thrower
    2 Crew with Light Armour
    70 points
  • RBT3 Reaver Bolt Thrower
    2 Crew with Light Armour
    70 points
  • DW 5 Doomfire Warlocks
    Merchants of filth
    125 points
  • BM Bloodwrack Medusa
    90 points
  • Total: 2500 points
Nick Gentile: So primarily I put the list together because I wanted to finally paint a second army, so most of my unit choices were based around what I felt like painting, and also what I thought I could get painted in time for Castle Assault. So here it is;

The primary reason I took her was because she is 310 points and essentially it became a choice between her and another 21 Executioners...and then I read her rules. Having between 8 and 10 attacks at strength 10, re-rolling everything. Adding to that she is Leadership 10, so a great general and she powers up the Witch Elves to epic proportions. Needless to say at Castle Assault she never died once because there was never anything left to attack her back.
The Dark Elf characters, with Hellebron front and centre
Supreme Sorceress Metal with Book of Ashur
The book of Ashur is an item I've always wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. The lore of Metal is relatively difficult cast and the +5 really made a big difference. I went with Metal over Shadow because in practice games the biggest problem for the list was armour not actually doing wounds, and added to that Final Trans is a spell that can put a game in your favour very quickly. She is on foot not because it's optimal, but because I love the foot Sorceress model.

Battle Standard on Foot
This guy is pretty straight forward 1+ re-roll strength 5, didn't need to be on a steed because most of the big points in the list were infantry.

Master on a Steed
This guy essentially was a much harder to kill, much more effective unit of Dark Riders. Being on a small base and Fast Cavalry, he can hunt warmachines, snipe wizards or redirect on a whim. Such an amazing character.

30 Witch Elves with Razor Standard
My main front line unit. So powerful with Hellebron in there. They control the board and really present an area on the board that no one wants to go near. Luckily at Castle Assault no one had the chaff or presence of mind to take control of their movement away from me.

10 Dark Shards with Banner and Muso
Originally they were in the list to be a bunker for the Sorceress but they were so handy at clearing chaff and adding to the volleys overall that they actually have never performed that role. I think in the current Meta small arms fire is a little underrated, especially considering this unit can pump out 20 shots a turn.

2x 5 Dark Riders
Really do what it says on the tin. Great at war machine hunting, redirecting and even just adding to the volley of shots if they don't have a more pressing mission. I was so surprised how much damage 2 units of 5 can put out from range.

3x Reaver Bolt Throwers
A no brainer in a competitive Elf list. So versatile and combined with Metal Magic actually give an amazing amount of board control from range.

21 Executioners
Such a great support/front line unit to help the Witch Elves. Strength 6 re-rolling 1s with Killing Blow means that opponents have a very difficult decision if they want to clean up big points, it's either these guys or Hellebron and the Witch Elves.

5 Cold Ones
A really effective unit to protect and flank and bolt throwers. This small unit is so useful as it doesn't panic off and packs enough punch that even monsters think twice before coming into charge range. Their leadership 9 combined with the gleaming pennant means that they are almost never failing a stupidity test.

5 Warlocks
The other no brainer in the book. Essentially for 125 points you get a 5 wound lvl 2 wizard with 10 Strength 4 attacks with poison that is fast cavalry, added to that is the fact that they get 2 of the best spells in available with Soulblight and Doombolt. Such a useful unit for any role in warhammer. Added to all of my shooting I found Soulblight was the main role I used them for, although I must admit I have only 6 dice bubbled it once. 

1 Medusa
I really liked the model and had it painted for an objective marker at Castle Assault. I was interested to see how it went, but I'm not convinced it's any good.

So overall the list performed really well at Castle, it either had too much shooting for the enemy to handle or was too powerful in combat. I must admit I got a very good run of match ups, Empire with little shooting, Daemons with only 1 Skill Cannon, Beastmen with no Shooting, Dwarves in watchtower and finally High Elves. I really enjoyed the list, however I found overall that the book itself is overpowered. Everything in the army is just point for point so good at the role it performs that I would find myself giggling with glee at how ludicrously good everything was compared to what I was facing. Stupid Games Workshop.

The Empire forces deployed, with Ludwig Schwartzhelm deciding to ride with the Reiksguard rather than babysitting Karl Franz too intently.
The Dark Elf right flank, with a lot of vanguarding waiting to happen.
The Supreme Sorceress leads the "sexecutioners" behind the front line.
A Medusa! They do exist!
The view from overhead.
The Dark Elves disrespect the deployment zone and vanguard.
The Dark Riders lead the way round the first bend, with the Warlocks close behind.
The Dark Riders on the other flank are more circumspect. That guy on the far end is the mounted hero.
At this point I am afraid I am going to leave you in Owen's hands. His note-taking is notoriously "interesting", and given the game perhaps didn't turn out as we might have hoped, it would be an unnecessary waste to re-write it all in a narrative style. I'll try to make sense of some of what he says with the captions on the pictures. Good luck - we'll see if you make it through to the end!

A combat twixt Mr. Gentile, health care professional and shorts enthusiast, and Mr. Johnson, fiendish hobby-type gentleman.
As told my Mr. Top, former minuter of the Coal Creek Literary Festival, and slightly confused about what Dark Elves do.

The forces:
The Empire of Krakenberg under Mr. Johnson
A large number of angry elves in eye shadow under Mr. Gentile (and loving it!)

Gregory deploys on what shall now be called the WEST flank.
Nicholas deploys on what shall therefore be known as the EAST flank.
The forest he deploys his light horse (dark riders) in is a normal forest. He declares this “the best kind of forest!”
Owen is distracted by asteroids, but nothing much seems to happen in his absence.
Greg is astounded that the Medusa is Mv 7. Fortunately he finds this out from the book before anything starts. Owen is astounded that Gentile actually BOUGHT a copy of the PDF, flying in the face of all knowledge of how the internet works.
Greg discovers he has ‘these guys’ and ‘…didn’t have to put the steamtank down.’
He places these guys in line with those cold one riders, so they can charge one another through a forest. He is a tactical genius.
Surprising no one, Gentile has ‘sexecutioners’
Greg takes photographs as the deployment ends. He does this by standing on a chair like a boss. The result of his photographic endeavors is that he knocks his mage off the hill…
Owen commences to eat spheres with evident relish.
Mr. Gentile vanguards like a mad thing all over the place.

Empire Turn 1
Empire Turn 1
Gregory takes the first turn.

No charges (Mr. Gentile is not that enthusiastic a vanguard enthusiast!)
Greg wants to do things with his steam tank, but has no artillery dice. Now he does. Four steam points safely generated. The tank moseys towards the bolt thrower on one steam point. 6 manly inches does it move.
Reiksgaurd and Ludwig cautiously wander forwards.
Halberdiers wobble forwards. Halflings lurk behind them dreaming of the enormous rage they generate in Pete. Other detachment wanders up a bit. The very big wolfy men are scared of pansy elves, and putter forward a conservative distance. Greg’s phone takes this opportunity to sing at him. There is a pause while Greg offers tech support on iTunes or something.
The phase wot is after movement:
A total of THREE power dice – Greg gets one for the hurricanum, Gentile has 2. No channels happen.
Greg hurls a middle level fireball at the warlocks because no body likes them. This is not dispelled on two dice. Greg declares he will ‘totally kill one warlock’ – he actually kills two, having done a manly two wounds.
Boo yeah! My wound roll against the Warlocks. 7 hits, 2 wounds. At least Nick was a gentleman and failed all his saves.
A panic test is taken.
A BSB is not in range.
A unit buggers off at great velocity, and with a scatter dice for no reason.
The Warlocks run away from my fearsome Fireball skillz. Yeah, you better run!
Steamtank cannon vs. Thrower of Bolts: Cold one is hit, and slain! Bounces to bolt thrower, does all the damage, and it is slain. Cold one knights “do not care cause they are DUMB!” sayeth the President. Who proceeds to photograph things. Mostly magic cards he left behind.
There is a brief delay to greet small blond 40Kers.
The Steam Tank blows away one of the Bolt Throwers, as well as a Cold One Knight who got in the way.
At the end of Empire Turn 1

Dark Elves Turn 1
Cold ones not stupid. Medusa takes some sort of test, and passes it I think.
Cogitation of charges occurs. “I reckon he wants to charge out” is the conclusion, and some mad hoon on the edge of the dark rider unit hurls himself at the empire lines. Greg disappears seeking sanitary relief, and Gentile ponders on.
Cue thinking music.
Tum te tum te tum te tum tetumtetumtetumtetumtetumte-GONG!!!
Owen ponders what to have for dinner.
Gentile ponders charges and measures things with wild abandon.
Greg returns, and the mad hoon decides NOT to charge. Damn conservative hoons.
In the end, there are no charges, BUT the warlocks rally. Greg is not best pleased at this turn of events. Gentile looks slightly smugger than usual.
The Warlocks ignore my advice and rally. Stupid Warlocks.
Dark riders rampage around onto the hill and glare hard at the Halflings. The seem to share Pete’s attitude to those of small size and hairy feet.
The Dark Riders menace the Empire left flank, and the poorly protected Wizard behind the front line. Those Halflings are Archers. Try to ignore Owen's insistence to the contrary...
The mad hoon decides he wants to stand on a hill, twixt a steam tank and a unit of very large wolves. Greg is dubious. Gentile is railroading. The hoon is declared ‘feisty’.
Of course he's feisty. Look at that! The Lone Ranger rides forth by himself.
The other fast and angry horse elves decide to stand between the halberds and the house, cunningly angled so anyone who charges them will be brained on the house.
Those Dark Riders are in my way. They can't park there!
Sundry units mosey about a bit. They have really big swords. I think they are the vaunted sexecutioners. The medusa moves beside them and glares at things.
The cold one knights, lacking the feist of the feisty hoon BACK AWAY! There is great consternation.
There’s also a bloody great unit of longhaired bikini enthusastics in the middle of the table.
The Dark Elves close in, in the centre.
Greg channels not. Gentile earns eight of your mighty magic dice.
He plagues things with rust. Greg likes his demigryphs, and saves them. Gentile remembers to channel, and fails.
Greg attempts to distract Gentile by singing ‘the final countdown’.
Gentile does six hits on something with something else. Five wounds. It’s the steamtank, which has been hit! Curse! Greg declares this event ‘significant’. This was caused be searing doom, cast by the Leering Doom, which is Nick Gentile.
Final trans on stank. It goes OFF! This will cause stupidity tests everywhere! If a six is rolled there is doom, but Mr. gentile would not POSSIBLY dare roll a six again having rolled one for the searing doom. He does roll a six. There is about seventeen minutes of unbridled joy and dancing from Gentile. He is forced to tweet it at once.
My beautiful Steam Tank! Actually, it does look kind of boss in gold. Stupid Final Transmutation...
Rules of stupidity testing checked, and unclear. Greg tests now anyway. Pegacaptain, Demigryphs, knights and guards of rieks are all okay.
Gentile tells the first ‘that’s what she said’ joke of the day.
Greg removes the steamtank, shedding a single, manly tear for the fallen.
Gentile hurls one die at something unimportant, and it does not go off.
Greg “take[s] some photos before [gentile] shoots him”.
Medusa has done all sorts of things, and needs 5s to hit. Scores 2. One wound caused on demigryphs. Ben Leopold declares he likes her.
Xbowistas (or dark riders)shoot at “them” – them turn out to be totally immune to their attentions.
Shots taken on detachment (probably by Xbows but more likely dark riders). The Ogre is slain! Panic test taken and passed. Karl tells them not to run away.
Xbows (really this time) shoot at detachment and kill two of the foolish humans.
The Dark Elf shooting whittles down my Swordsman detachment.
Bolt thrower –single bolt misses, the other one hits but fails to wound on a two. The demigryphs sneer at the feeble archery.

Here endeth the first part of our report. You can find part 2 here.


  1. Hi guys!

    Great to see the report featuring the armies of both of you! I have also learned that you can export army lists from Battle Chronicler, how did I miss that! :) Looking forward to the rest of the story!


    1. Cheers Swordmaster!

      Yes, if you put them in there you can get them out again, however the icons in the army lists will be grey. I had to update my blog's stylesheets to accommodate different colours (I think I needed half a dozen for one of the larger games), and then update the HTML that's coming out of Battle Chronicler. But I don't really know anything about such things, and I was able to figure it out. So it's achievable.

  2. Great report, Owen's writing is evocative and comprehensive in an autistic, absinthe drinker kind of way. I've never met him, but already I deeply admire his scholarly skills. You need to get him back more, once he's finished chasing green fairies.

    Both armies look beautiful, and the terrain is lovely too. All up, a 10/10 for the battle report so far, you might get an 11 if you kill Hellebron.

    1. In case you didn't realise, Owen is the man behind Terrain for Hippos. And if that doesn't serve as validation for your suspicions about his state of mind, I don't know what will...

      The green fairies are hippo fairies, no doubt.

    2. No, Orc fairies. And I want that comment on the cover of any book I write. ANY book.