Sunday, 14 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 4

This is part 4 of my account of the recent tournament, Moonstruck. You can find the previous part here.

Game 4 - Meeting Engagement deployment
Adam Camilleri/Admiral Calamari, Ogre Kingdoms

  • Skragg the Slaughterer
  • Bruiser, BSB, Rune Maw, Great Weapon
  • Firebelly, Level 2, Additional Hand Weapon, Ruby Ring of Ruin, Dispel Scroll
  • 9 Ironguts, Full Command, Look out Gnoblar, Banner of Swiftness
  • 3 Ogres, Additional Hand Weapon, Bellower/Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 8 Maneaters, 4 Additional Hand Weapon, Banner/Musician, Gleaming Pennant, Scout/Poison
  • 4 Leadbelchers
  • Gorger
  • Gorger
  • Gorger
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • Ironblaster

Comp Score: 4

Well after winning too many games on day 1, I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually find my way onto Table 1, where Adam had been making himself at home for the last couple of rounds. He had even dealt with the unstoppable silliness of Tim's army using my 4 Wyverns. 

Looking at Skragg's rules, I decided that the only way to kill him would be to do it before he got into combat with my infantry. Once he started wading through single wound models, he'd quickly become too tough to handle. So my basic plan was to murder him with Durthu. I also noted all the Gnoblar units with standards - clearly Adam had paid attention to the player pack when he'd made his list. 

If I am honest, I made a few mistakes in this game. Again we were using the Meeting Engagement deployment rules. Adam won the roll to choose sides, and had to deploy his whole army before me (except the Maneaters and Gorgers. So half his army, I guess). I then deployed knowing that he would probably have the first turn, and I kind of got ahead of myself. Without having to worry about elements starting in reserve, Adam had deployed the bulk of his forces fairly centrally on the front of his deployment zone. I spent too much of my attention trying to ensure my main elements were within Alarielle's circle of influence, and failed to remember that his gutstar had the Banner of swiftness. I put my key unit far too close to the gutstar, basically. He only needed something like a 7 on the dice to charge me in the first turn. I had put Durthu a bit further back, for some reason convinced that he was in greater danger. My other mistake was what I did with my Dragon Princes, Dryads and Unicorn Mage. I put them all a fair distance from my main forces, intending to guarantee that I could seize the two table quarters to my right, and sweep on around the enemy flank/rear. Something about those 35 point table-quarter-stealing units of Gnoblars offended me. Maybe the fact that I had completely forgotten a similar unit in game 2 as it lurked outside of the game proper. Anyway, I had allocated several units and the ability to raise more, all for a couple of table quarters when really I should have kept them in a position to assist the rest of my army.
I forgot to take photos of deployment. Here we are in the middle of Adam's first turn. Having failed to charge Alarielle's unit, he set about blocking it up with Sabretusks. I hate those things.
Something I only saw now, looking at the photos. I wonder if I could have panicked the Sabretusk in front of me by shooting the other, and used it to block his charge the next turn? Angles and ranges might not have been quite right.
The table from a wider angle. Look at all that stuff I jammed on the right flank. Idiot.
The Maneaters appeared on the end of my lines, but that was not unexpected. The Treekin were facing them, and despite being outnumbered I figured regeneration should really level the playing field. I failed to steal the first turn, and so Adam gleefully declared the charge on Alarielle's unit. This was a real concern, now I thought about it. The unit had held up very well in previous games, but this was a genuine gutstar with a Firebelly in it. There was going to be all sorts of hurt involved. I was not in a position to flee, so stood and shot ineffectually and then breathed a sigh of relief when he failed the charge by 1 measly inch. I had dodged a bullet. The rest of his forces moved up a bit, and 2 of the Sabretusks rushed forward to ensure Alarielle's unit couldn't do something like charge out of trouble before his next turn. The Firebelly got excited and cast a maximum level Fireball with irresistible force upon Durthu, but he shrugged it off without taking a wound. The Ogres were less fortunate and took several wounds from the blast, including Skragg. The Ironblaster bounced off Durthu, because apparently this is what Ironblasters do.
Skragg and his mates trying to recover from the efforts of the crazy Firebelly.
I was in trouble. There was not much I could do to move Alarielle. Her regiment charged the nearest Sabretusk and disposed of it, but it wouldn't change anything in terms of the enemy charging the following turn. Durthu had ideas of his own, however. He managed to roll an 8 to make a charge into the gutstar, engaging Skragg and his mates. The Treekin charged the Maneaters. I rolled a pitiful magic phase, which meant I couldn't do anything substantial. I managed to cast Shield of Thorns on Durthu in the hope that it would help him grind into the enemy regiment before they made it through. 

My shooting knocked off a Leadbelcher, but the rest of the unit passed their panic test. The second Sabretusk also perished. Durthu challenged in his combat, and when the enemy unsurprisingly declined, I forced the Firebelly to the back of the pack. Skragg did a wound, then Durthu opened up and smashed him in a single round of combat. Given he is Toughness 6, this was good rolling. I'd like to thank the Firebelly, without whose miscast such things could not have been possible. This was a major blow, as it meant the enemy had lost their Level 4 wizard and general. I was now clearly winning. My enthusiasm was dented somewhat when the Ironguts struck back, and somehow did 4 more wounds to Durthu despite my being within range of Alarielle's regeneration. I think it was a combination of Adam rolling well for the Ogres and me being dismal at the saves. Anyway, Durthu was teetering somewhat on a single wound. If it was my turn next I could have healed him up, but it was not my turn next...
Durthu rampant. Pity he took so many wounds in return.
The Treekin commenced Operation Disappointment, and failed to do more than about 3 wounds to the Maneaters. They took similar damage in return, but held for that first round. On the right flank my Dragon Princes found that the small Ogre unit had advanced a little carelessly in an effort to close with the Unicorn mage hiding behind the hill, and charged and smashed them in a round before carrying into the flank of some Gnoblars. The Dryads also advanced on that side, heading for more Gnoblars.
Even with all the forces I had on the right flank, they made a botched job of cleaning it all up quickly. The Dragon Princes let one Ogre escape and he rallied, the Gnoblars were too tough for them to break on the charge... They may have been able to intervene with the gutstar and buy me some time had they not been so inefficient. Would have been a long charge.
I'm pretty sure Adam was convinced he had lost when Skragg fell, but his army fought on. All 3 Gorgers turned up behind my lines which was a little disconcerting. The Gnoblars even fended off the Dragon Princes for a turn (I rolled poorly and failed to knock off their steadfast and then they passed the break test), which was key in delaying my Dragon Princes from returning to assist the rest of my army in any way.

The Treekin continued to embarrass themselves, broke and were run down by the Maneaters. It was bad. Worse was to come, however. The Firebelly continued his impressive display of no self control whatsoever, and cast Fulminating Flame Cage on Alarielle's unit with irresistible force. This time the miscast was a Dimensional Cascade, which sucked him into the warp, damaged the Ironguts all around him, and killed Durthu. The loss of Durthu before he could attack was unfortunate, but the real problem was the Flame Cage of the Everqueen's entourage. If they moved, I could expect to lose about two-thirds of the unit. Very, very bad...
The Treekin are gone and there are almost more enemies behind me than in front.
In my turn I charged my second unit of Maiden Guard into the flank of the Maneaters, who were looking hungrily at the rear of Alarielle's unit. I considered charging the Leadbelchers in the building with my main unit, but the prospect of losing 60% of the unit on the way in was very unappealing. And when I got there, I wasn't sure I could kill 3 Ogres outright, which would probably leave me still exposed to the gutstar. So I sat still with the unit. 

My magic phase was another weak one. This was not ideal. Adam no longer had any magic defence, so I could have gone berserk with a decent phase. Instead I managed to just cast Throne of Vines followed by Flesh to Stone. This I put on the Maiden Guard facing the Maneaters, because I was not yet convinced that the other unit would need it. The regiment had 2 Nobles, Alarielle and regeneration. And a lot of weaker attacks that could still bring down Ogres. It might be enough to buy time.

With Toughness 7, the Maiden Guard flanking the Maneaters smacked them about pretty badly and broke them. Unfortunately they outdistanced my pursuit comfortably (I rolled pretty low), which meant they would continue to be a problem and I had no points from them. Bummer.
You had one job...
Oh, it's all bad.
Then came the moment of truth. The gutstar couldn't really fail their charge and went straight into Alarielle's unit. All 3 Gorgers also charged at the rear of the unit, with 2 of them making it on average sorts of rolls. I hadn't really factored those guys in when deciding how much trouble my unit was in. It now became clear - I was in a lot of trouble. The rear charge bonuses from the Gorgers and the attacks that would now have to go backwards instead of into potentially softer Ironguts made things look a lot worse. Then came the combat, and I fluffed my attacks pretty badly. I did little to no damage to the Ironguts, nothing to the Gorgers, and I then failed something like 18 of the 20 regeneration rolls I was required to take. Things were looking pretty grim before the rolling started; they were diabolical afterwards. In the end only Alarielle and the unit champion lived to flee. Ironically they actually managed to escape the pursuit of the Ogres, but because the champion was still clinging to Alarielle and wailing about the horror of her 17 closest friends having just been eaten, I needed double 1s to rally. I rolled a 3. The Gorgers chased them off the table, and the battle was all but lost.

The Maneaters had rallied, so my remaining Maiden Guard unit had no choice but to go after them if I wanted to try to salvage the game by harvesting some points. There were only 4 Maneaters to my 18 Maiden Guard. I was definitely a respectable chance to get rid of them and get clear of the horrors behind them... until I failed the Fear test. Suddenly I was WS 1, did little damage, took tons, and I was the one taking the break test. My unit held, but got a Gorger in the rear and eventually the regiment was wiped out. With them went any chance I might have had of fighting back for some points.
Yep, this one is bad too.
What Elves? If you look carefully in the snow you might see the Everqueen's footprints leading off the bottom of the screen as she scarpered from the field.
Having stuffed up against Durthu, the Ironblaster woke up long enough to shoot both of my Bolt Throwers off the table. Not that it really mattered at this point, as the heart of my army (and all the points) had been torn out. My Unicorn mage managed to raise units of Skeletons to claim the 2 table quarters to my right, the Dragon Princes and Dryads held back rather than throwing themselves in sacrificially, and the game was over. All I had to show for my efforts were those 2 bonus points. 

So yeah, I stuffed the game up. I deployed too close to the gutstar and the game was nearly over in a turn. I put too much of my army out of reach of the things that mattered, being too focused on table quarters and cleaning up meaningless units (I did admittedly get those table quarters, and those units survived. For what that was worth). I put what magic I had into protecting my secondary unit because I failed to really establish how much trouble my main regiment was in. And I decided not to move and cop the hits from the Flame Cage when it might have been the right thing to do. After all of that, I had a couple of chances to really take control of the game and it was probably only that irresistible Flame Cage that kept me from winning the thing. Ah well, I got what I deserved.

Result: Loss (0-15) +2 Table Quarters = 2

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