Thursday, 11 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 3

This is the third part of my account of the recent tournament Moonstruck. You can find the previous part here.

Game 3 - Battle for the Pass
Viv Gleeson, Undead Legion

  • Vampire Lord (Level 4, Lore of Vampires) on Barded Nightmare with Heavy armour, Shield, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, The Other Tricksters Shard, Red Fury, Quickblood, Beguile
  • Tomb Banshee
  • Tomb Banshee
  • Necromancer (Level 1, Lore of Death) with Dispel Scroll
  • 41 Skeleton Warriors with Light Armour, Shield, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
  • 18 Skeleton Archers with Standard
  • 18 Skeleton Archers with Standard
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Vargheists
  • 5 Vargheists
  • 9 Black Knights with Barding, Lance, Heavy Armour, Shield, Standard, Champion
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Black Coach

Comp Score: 1

Viv! We meet again. The Blender Lord himself was my next opponent, and this time around he was sporting a painted army. Excellent! Unfortunately it looked like a pretty frightening army for mine, which was less excellent. Flaming catapults? Durthu was displeased. Actually, all of my units were displeased, except the Dragon Princes who thought such considerations were quaint with their fancy asbestos Dragon Armour...

I got briefly excited in the lead-up when it occurred to me that Alarielle would get to use her Touch of Purity rules, which mean she wounds on a 2+ and inflicts D6 wounds in combat against Forces of Destruction. Viv then informed me that allying Vampire Counts with Tomb Kings actually makes your army less evil instead of more evil (even though as a person it makes you more evil instead of less evil)... The point was conceded that Alarielle would do D6 wounds against Viv himself as he was a bad man, but this would not help me in-game.

The game began with plenty of threats about how the Black Coach would have flaming attacks by the time it made combat (yes, it can do that), how the Blender Lord could take Durthu in a single turn, and how I was going to Dwellers off said Blender Lord before such a confrontation could take place. 
The Undead set up. There was a horrible Temple of Skulls hill thing in the middle, but nary a model would balance on it and so we swapped it out for something a little flatter and rules-laden. Did you know my army theoretically required 5 army books? High Elves, Wood Elves, Vampire Counts, Khaine and Nagash. I blame Lore of Undeath. And End Times. Anyway, it came in useful here...
My deployment, in the midst of the very annoying pillars. We treated them as cover and dangerous terrain.
Bravado aside, this match-up really worried me. I was not at all convinced I could stop the Vampire Lord, and the threat of those catapults as well as the Banshees and a leadership 10 Spirit Leech was very real. Then the table had inconvenient pillars that were going to interfere with my lines of fire. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to go badly. It was a bit of a struggle and I didn't take as many photos as I should have. Sorry...

I got the first turn and moved up more on my right than my left. I threw most of my shooting at trying to negate the threats posed by Dire Wolves (removing the unit on my right and denting the one on my left) and Skeleton Archers (crippling the unit on my right). Right from the start I had it in my head that I might want to snipe off the smaller point targets like the wolves, because I didn't see myself getting the big points. It would be a holding action, and I would need an early lead if I wanted to win.

The Treekin had moved into theoretical charge range of the Vargheists on my right and they had to test on their own leadership of 7 to restrain frenzy, but they managed to do so. On the second turn they were going to have to test again, and as I had moved up a bit closer (shuffling Alarielle across to offer regeneration cover), Viv just gave up and declared the charge. Thus began a combat on my right flank that would last until the end of the game. The Vargheists struggled to get past my regeneration (despite spending a couple of rounds with re-rolls to hit from Vanhel's), and I struggled to do any damage in return because apparently my Treekin are lame.

Viv decided to raise a unit of Zombies to block Durthu, and got almost the maximum number of them - 14. I got excited by the possibility of not being shot by Screaming Skull Catapults if I could somehow fluff my attacks enough not to crumble them all, and Durthu charged. Sure enough, I failed to do 6 wounds with my 7 hatred-fulled attacks at WS7, S6 and a thunderstomp... A few Zombies remained. Durthu was safe from flaming stone throwers. It was the perfect crime.
Durthu employs the "gently, gently" approach to swatting Zombies, and generously allows some of them to remain standing so that they can shield him from flaming stone throwers. What a pro.
Dire Wolves move up in the centre whilst the rest of the Undead are a little more circumspect.
Wait, are those frenzied Vargheists flying backwards? Yes, yes they are. Shame on them.
In the centre Viv moved some Dire Wolves up, presumably to try to tempt me into charging him. I took the bait and hit them with both my Dryads in the front, and the Dragon Princes in the flank. Obviously the Wolves didn't survive, but the main point was the overrun of the Dragon Princes. I needed to roll a 9 to run into the rear of the second pack of Vargheists, who were advancing facing backwards in a great display of the silliness of competitive warhammer. Charging them in the rear would have been karma, but I fell short by 1 inch. Curses! They would live to fly the wrong direction another day. The Dryads didn't know what to do, but decided it might be funny to overrun into the Blender Lord's Black Knight unit. I had assumed they wouldn't make it, but they were enthusiastic and rolled high. Oh well, it might delay them a turn. Alarielle's regeneration was in range...
Argh, so close!!
Are we sure this is a good idea?
Any hopes that the Dryads might survive basically evaporated when the Black Coach charged in alongside the Black Knights. It had only taken one magic phase to get itself 4 upgrades, including flaming attacks. I think the impact hits only felled 1 Dryad, but it meant the regeneration was gone and the unit was murdered pretty badly, with the Blender Lord leading the way. The few Forest Spirits that survived turned and were run down as the Black Coach barreled a full 12" toward my lines whilst the Knight bus went really, really slowly. Not at all what Viv would have wanted.

I think it was in the second turn that I managed to get the Dwellers Below past Viv's defences, and had to decide between the Vampire's unit or the big block of skeletons with all of his secondary characters packed into it. Killing the Vampire would have won me the game (and probably destroyed Viv's will to live), but it was an all-or-nothing gamble with his high Strength and no other worthwhile targets in the unit. I settled on the Skeletons, and was rewarded by killing off the Necromancer and one of the Wraiths, as well as a pile of Skeletons. Not bad at all.

Durthu had shaken off the last few Zombies in Viv's turn and reformed to face the rather impetuous Black Coach, and charged the thing in the side. I sent Alarielle's heroic Noble in as well, given he had fire protection (and as Viv had gleefully pointed out, all its damage was flaming now). The Noble didn't manage to do a wound, so contributed nothing. Durthu knocked a couple of wounds off before losing 2 himself to the Wraith's flaming scythe. It didn't really matter - I had the flank and the charge bonus, and it was just enough to remove the remaining wounds on the thing. 

The silly Vargheists that had nearly been rear-charged for their lack of direction flew over my lines before turning towards my secondary regiment of Maiden Guard. I turned the unit to face them and fired off some desultory shooting before the brutes charged straight on into combat. Their original intent had been to go over this unit and into the flank or Alarielle's own regiment, but in the end we came to the conclusion that there wasn't room to execute this plan properly, so they went into the other unit instead. They could just do it the old-fashioned way and crush the things blocking their path. The Maiden Guard struck first in a rather pitiful display, and lost about half their number in return, despite regeneration (Vanhel's was in play at this point, so the Vargheists landed a lot of hits). The combat was lost, but Steadfast held my line together. Alarielle then raised a few of the fallen Elves back with Regrowth, and in the second round the Maiden Guard suddenly fired up. With maybe a dozen attacks, they landed 7 wounds on the shocked Vargheists and the few return attacks they found themselves with were not enough to prevent the remainder from crumbling. 
The Dryads are gone, the Black Knights have already pursued (you can hardly tell, right?) and the Black Coach has overrun and been "handled" by Durthu and his companion. This photo was before the Vargheists (off screen below-right) charged into the other regiment of Maiden Guard. Sorry, I've focused on areas of interest rather than chronological order in this account).

Whilst this Vargheist combat was going on, the Blender Lord had spotted a path where he and his mates could just squeeze past Durthu and into the lone Noble. He stood his ground bravely as they charged in, and challenged the Vampire to single combat. This went better than expected when regeneration allowed him to shrug off most of the damage, and he only took a single wound. He didn't manage to hurt the Vampire Lord in return, but all he had to do was hold on with a leadership 6 break test and he would have successfully achieved his objective of protecting the Everqueen! Time slowed, epic music played and maidens everywhere wept at his display of selfless heroism, at which point he failed his break test by miles and was shamefully run down by the enemy. The Blender Lord and his Black Knights carried on into the waiting regiment of Maiden Guard as they closed ranks to protect Alarielle.

The Knights crashed in and Durthu counter-charged into their flank. Having rolled pretty pitifully in the previous turns, I suddenly rolled a massive one, and this resulted in the Throne of Vines and Flesh to Stone combining to give the Maiden Guard +4 Toughness. It was also the point when the other regiment regained some models before dealing with the Vargheists. I think the only win for Viv in that magic phase was preventing Wildform from Durthu. Duthu laid into the Black Knights with help from my BSB, whilst the Blender Lord decided to focus on Durthu because he was apparently now the "softest target". I guess when everything around you is at least Toughness 6 with regeneration, there is no such thing as a soft target. Durthu took a few wounds, the Black Knights lost several models, and I had the marginal upper hand.

The remaining Wraith had rushed forward to try singing to Durthu, but he was not interested. Then the Wraith was introduced to the magical arrows of the Sisters of Avelorn, and her singing days were through.

We were running out of time at this point, and Viv threw what he could at the combat to try to swing it in his direction. A small group of Zombies that had popped up to prevent Durthu aiding the Treekin charged the flank of Alarielle's unit, whilst the Skeleton bus piled into the front. Obviously my regiment was still tough, but these new additions would remove what advantages I had in terms of weight of numbers. Unfortunately for Viv, it was not enough. Durthu and the Blender Lord largely bounced off each other, the Elves struck down a few of the newly arrived infantry, my BSB was beheaded by a Black Knight's killing blow, and I wound up losing combat by maybe 2. Durthu was stubborn and held his ground, and Alarielle's entourage stayed where they were as well.
The Elves demonstrate their grinding potential again, by fending off everything that can be thrown at them. I think it was a Zombie that actually wounded Alarielle. Apparently WS6, T8 and regeneration just are not enough to keep a good Zombie down.
With that, we had to call it. I had killed the Necromancer, both Wraiths, a pack of Vargheists, and most of the Dire Wolves. One of the Screaming Skull Catapults had also destroyed itself mid-game. I had lost the Dryads and both of my Nobles, but was otherwise intact. Not a convincing margin (maybe 400 points), but enough for the win.

Result: Win (15-0) +1 Table Quarter +3 Comp = 19


  1. Great stuff - Alarielle really seems to make elves more durable. Shame the Dragon Princes weren't able to catch the Vargheists and teach them not to moonwalk across the field.

    Enjoying the battle reports as always - looks like you're on a roll!

    1. Yeah Alarielle does a great job of giving regular Elves some backbone. I think I might have to play some games with Phoenix Guard. I like Elves with actual saves!

  2. Flying the Vargheists backwards to avoid frenzy charges is cheese of the highest magnitude!

    1. Meh, it's a tournament. You get things like that all the time. But I am still allowed to call them names for it, right?

    2. of course. give the cheese mungers everything they deserve ;0)