Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 6

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

Game 6 - Battleline
Johannes Scherpenhuizen, Wood Elves

  • Spellweaver (Level 4, Lore of Life) on Elven Steed with Earthing Rod, Talisman of Preservation 
  • Naestra and Arahan on Ceithin-Har (Dragon)
  • Glade Captain on Elven Steed with Battle Standard, Charmed Shield, Hail of Doom Arrow, Opal Amulet, Asrai Spear
  • Spellsinger (Level 2, Lore of metal) on Elven Steed with Dispel Scroll
  • 10 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 10 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 18 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 8 Wild Riders with Shields, Standard, Champion, Gleaming Pennant
  • 7 Sisters of the Thorn with Standard Bearer, Standard of Discipline
  • 5 Wardancers
  • 5 Wardancers
  • 5 Wardancers
  • Great Eagle
  • Great Eagle

Comp Score: 2

After winning my previous game, I found myself back up on Table 2. Presumably this meant I was still top of the pile of people who had actually lost a game. It turned out Hannes had not lost one at all yet, so I guess that made sense. Adam Camilleri was playing Charles Black on Table 1 beside us (yes, Mr Calamari really had made himself at home there - hadn't moved since Game 2), and after comparing notes we came to the conclusion that Hannes might be able to win the event if he utterly smashed me in terms of the win and table quarters, but only if Chuck beat Adam. I couldn't reach 1st place, but if I beat Hannes and Adam won, I'd probably get 2nd... Anyway, it seemed there was everything to play for.
Ah, leafy tree dragon. We meet again! He had been running around with no wings attached, but Hannes kindly repaired him in preparation for having his photo taken.
Hannes took a while to absorb the enormity of what Alarielle could do for my list, then set about basically turtling in the corner to try to give his ranged attacks time to have an impact. The exceptions were the Eagles and the Sisters of Twilight on their Dragon, who looked more interested in making a nuisance of themselves. I had to commit before he did, so focused on the centre and keeping things within regeneration range of the Everqueen. So long as I had champions and regeneration, I felt like my units were fairly safe from the Dragon.

I had the bonus in the roll-off for first turn, so was a little disappointed when I lost it anyway. That would mean getting shot more before I could reach the enemy. 38 Trueflight Arrows. Oh well. That's why I had regeneration, right?
Deployment, with most of the Wood Elves hiding in the corner.
Most of them shuffle further back as the game progresses...
Hannes started the game by almost killing Durthu. First he forced through a normal-level Searing Doom and did 2 wounds, which I did not save (and being flaming that became 4 wounds). Then the Sisters of Twilight took aim at him. One of them has a Strength 5, flaming bow that does D6 wounds. Pretty scary stuff, especially if you're a flammable Treeman who is relying upon regeneration for protection. Anyway, the shot hit and wounded Durthu, and my passing his 6+ ward save was the only thing that kept him alive to see his first turn. It was a close call. My army largely shrugged off the rest of the shooting, and it moved on to my turn.

I advanced aggressively with my tough units (Durthu and the Treekin), but went a bit slower with the others so they could take pot shots at the enemy. My Dryads in particular held back on the left flank, trying to make it harder for the Eagle (whose name was Vanessa, I believe) that was lurking on that side to make it to the Bolt Thrower quickly (and also shield the flank from the Dragon). The Eagle on the other flank (also named Vanessa) didn't live through the shooting phase.
In the centre I concentrated my efforts on removing the Wardancers that were screening the only Archers not tucked away in the corner of the field. Durthu had rolled up Flock of Doom rather than his usual obsession with Curse of Anraheir, and I actually chose to keep it rather than swapping it for Wildform like I normally would. He got to cast more spells successfully in this game than every other game of the tournament combined. He did something like 5 wounds to the Wardancers, only to see 3 of them pass their 6+ ward saves and survive! I eventually eradicated them, but it took a blast from Awakening of the Wood and some arrows to finish the job. When I finally did wipe them out, the Archers panicked and fled through the Wild Riders behind them, but being frenzied, they didn't care.
The Archers flee through the Wild Riders before rallying near the table edge. Almost like it was deliberate.
In my turn Alarielle had healed 3 of the 4 wounds suffered by Durthu. I think Hannes died a little inside, seeing that.
The Wood Elves engage the Back Foot Shuffle
The fleeing Archers rallied behind the Wild Riders, who managed to restrain their frenzy and basically held their position. Most of the Wood Elves (including the Dragon) really didn't move, apart from Vanessa (the alive one), who flew forward, going very wide to make a charge from the Dryads all but impossible. Shooting focused upon Alarielle's unit of Maiden Guard, who lost a number of models (partly because of that flaming shot from the Sisters, I think).

My second turn was a slightly bizarre mix of me pushing the Treekin and Durthu hard forward, whilst trying to shield my Maiden Guard from a flank charge by the Dragon. I had been intending to switch the characters to the full-strength unit, but they had barely made it out of the Dragon's arc and the addition of a single model in their back rank would have sealed it. Maybe I was unreasonably concerned by the prospect of the combat, but even if I didn't get thrashed, I would likely have been bogged - and I needed Alarielle's circle of influence further across the field. Regrowth brought a number a few of the fallen Maiden Guard from her own regiment, buying me time. I think Durthu and one of the Bolt Throwers had a crack at the Wild Riders, thinning their numbers a lot more than Hannes would have liked - I think it changed his intention to charge the next turn.
The gap is closing. The Wild Riders are no longer a viable fighting unit, and start thinking more about survival. Alarielle's unit yo-yos in size as archers fell them and she brings them back.
The Dragon finally moved a bit to keep its targets in sight, and the arrow bombardment on Alarielle's unit continued. I think the flaming arrow failed to hit and it meant the Regrowth efforts of the previous turn basically cancelled out the damage done now. Still, my unit was thinning. Wardancer units moved up to block the charge of the Dragon Princes and Treekin, with both units taking care to make use of the forest and their being Steadfast in it. In a shameless display of top table Warhammer, the unit facing the Treekin positioned themselves 1 model wide with the unit champion at the front, in order to limit the potential damage I could inflict. Sigh.
This was the left flank, with the Dryads trying (and failing) to buy time for the Bolt Thrower by threatening the approach. Between this effort, the forest causing stupidity that they couldn't clear in a single turn and the threat of the Dragon, they really didn't get to contribute.
Vanessa the Living made it to my Bolt Thrower (she was on one wound by this point, having survived a volley on the way in). I fluffed my attempts to kill her off, and she pecked the crew to death before overrunning off the table to relative safety.

The remnants of the Wild Riders retreated up onto the hill, behind their own lines. Magic still largely consisted of the metal mage trying to Searing Doom Durthu, but after the near-miss in the first turn, he couldn't get it through again. The main mage continued to lurk in the safety of the Sisters of the Thorn over in the corner, caressing the Dwellers Below spell card and trying to decide when to move into range and try it on Alarielle's unit, knowing full well that Alarielle had the same spell to throw back if it came to that. It was a Cold War scenario, with the nukes held in reserve.

My turn was aggressive, with the Treekin and Dragon Princes engaging their Wardancer screens and Durthu charging at the rallied Archers. They didn't like the look of him, and fled the field due to terror. He redirected toward the large Archer regiment on the hill, but it was a long charge and he didn't make it. The Dragon Princes and Treekin were both bogged, and it took them both several rounds to get through. It wasn't until my last turn that both units were free to move again.

The middle turns blur a bit in my mind. I had difficulty deciding on what course of action to take with the dwindling number of Maiden Guard with Alarielle. I realised that when the regular troops dropped below 5 models, I would be able to take the flaming hit on a model with Dragon Armour and shrug it off, but in the end I decided that regeneration would not be enough to save me and I was better off moving the characters to the other unit. In the end this (and a weaker Regrowth) was not enough to save the shattered unit, and Hannes made a point of finishing them off in a hail of arrows to claim the points. The Sisters of Avelorn suffered a similar fate.
The Dragon lurks a little closer, whilst the Wardancer step up to block my advance.
The net closing in.
Then the Cold War came to an end. The Dragon landed up beside Alarielle's new unit in preparation for the magic phase, but first Hannes forced through the Dwellers Below on the unit. Alarielle's bodybuard noble perished along with nearly half the unit, but she and her BSB survived. Then came the flaming arrow, and the Dragon's breath weapon, then the arrows... It was dire. The the entire unit was wiped out apart from the two remaining characters. 
My combat line gets bogged a tiny number of Wardancers that I just can't roll well enough to kill. Frustrating when you know there is nothing to stop your units when you get through...
Alarielle and the BSB were pretty isolated where they were, and I was driven to desperate measures in the face of the sudden gloves-off stance of the enemy. My Dryads reformed about 12 models wide in order to get within range of Alarielle and the BSB, and they both raced across and joined the unit. Alarielle then crashed through the Dwellers Below against the Dragon, in spiteful retribution for what her own unit had just suffered. The Dragon passed the strength test, but the intent had been signalled. My remaining Bolt Thrower continued firing at the remaining Wild Riders, leaving a single model in the unit and the wounded mage, who fled to the safety of the larger cavalry unit. 

At about this point my Treekin finished off their Wardancer opponents and reformed to face the remaining enemy, but this put their rear to the Dragon. I didn't think this was such a big deal, but Hannes was pretty sure that my reform had moved the majority of my models into the forest, meaning they would not be steadfast. And Alarielle was too far back to help them. The combat would not go well. The Sisters of Twilight gleefully goaded their Dragon into the rear charge, only for Hannes to roll rather horrendously and fail to make the distance...
Performance problems, Hannes? Alas, he couldn't even stretch to the 5 inches required. Check out that glorious roll. :(
And then it was my last turn. I shot Vanessa with Awakening of the Wood. My Dragon Princes charged the remaining small unit of Archers and killed them, but didn't panic the character bunker behind them. Durthu charged the big unit of Archers and somehow took a several wounds from their stand-and-shoot reaction, but he ended up going in alone when the Treekin failed to join the charge by 1 inch. So the Archers were Steadfast and held their ground in the combat. With power dice to spare and few targets, I threw the Dwellers Below at the Dragon again (who had fled in panic upon seeing the demise of Vanessa), but Hannes still had his scroll and flourished it joyously as he dispelled my efforts. My key grab for points was the last Wild Rider, hiding in hard cover behind the Sisters of the Thorn. The Bolt Thrower fired a volley at it and landed 1 hit, but failed to wound.
Nowhere left to run...
Alarielle chases the Sisters of Twilight, hurling the Dwellers Below and heinous insults as they retreat.
As the dust settled and we tallied up the points, it turned out that I was up, but only by something like 60 victory points. It was not enough to count as a victory, and so the game was a draw. It had been a very tight game in the final round, and one that could have gone either way if any one of several dice rolls had been different. Durthu's close call in the first turn, the Dragon's failed charge, the Treekin failing to make it into the Archers, the failure to wound the last Wild Rider, Strength tests all round... Ah well, at least it was eventful!

Result: Draw (5-5) +1 Table Quarter +2 Comp = 8

By the time our game had ended there were about 20 people standing around the table watching, trying to work out who would finish on the podium. A collective groan erupted when the result was announced. As it transpired, it would not be Hannes or me on the podium. The low points for a draw (and remarkably draws on Tables 3 and 4) meant that Lachie Mulcahy jumped us all from down on Table 5, and snatched 3rd spot overall. Chuck had finally beaten Adam and broken his undefeated run, but Adam's lead meant he still managed to finish on top. By 1 whole point. I wound up 6th, which was not bad out of nearly 90 players. I guess the Incarnate version of Alarielle really is powerful enough to make a mediocre army competitive.

Well, that's the end of what be my last ever 8th edition tournament report. Thanks to the Dwellers for organising a fun event, to all my opponents and to anyone who bothered to read this far :P. Now we all brace for the Age of Sigmar and try to work out where we all stand in this brave new world of Warhammer.


  1. Thanks a lot for this great, great report - as always with yours!
    I've truly enjoyed reading all this. And it feels good to see a themed list going well - even if that's mostly thanks to Alarielle, finishing 6th out of 90 with Dryads and Sea Guards as core, and the oh-so-despised Treekin, is refreshing!

    1. Cheers.

      Poor Treekin. I don't think they're as bad as people make out, but they need more aggressive magical support (boosting WS and S) before they'll really scare people.

  2. I love following your blog, despite WFB not being my game. With the Age of Sigmar dawning is there any chance you'll lend your talents to the Kings of War community? With the KoW v2 rules a slight but significant improvement from v1, I can't help but feel your lovely and huge armies would suit the game - and your penchant for huuuuge battles suits the ruleset?

    Regardless - even if you morph into a AoS skirmisher, I'm sure you'll do it beautifully!

    1. At this point I am waiting until I really know what is going on with Age of Sigmar. Then I will assess my options, and Kings of War is definitely an option that I would look at (although I am yet to really do so at this point).


  3. Hi Greg!

    Many thanks for yet another fantastic tournament report and congratulations on very good finish! 6th place is a great result and you should be really happy with it, considering that ET rules allow for some crazy combinations (even under a watchful eye of TO's!).

    And it is not the special characters who make the army list work - it always was and always is the player! :)


    1. Generally I think they did a pretty good job of keeping the lid on the ridiculous combinations. The lists up on the top tables were a pretty good mix, and by no means the worst sort of thing that people could come up with.

  4. Great read on them all as per usual. If AoS is a complete disaster then maybe we will get to read more of your 8th edition battle reports. Thanks for the hard work, writing them all.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I was just wondering if people would still be interested in 8th edition reports after AoS release. I would love to continue to write and read them but I must admit that it might be more difficult to motivate myself to organize 8th edition games and write reports if the interest in them will start decreasing.


    2. Continuing to play 8th edition is definitely a possibility, but as Swordmaster says, the question then is how many others will be playing it, and how many people would care to read the reports of an "obsolete" edition?

  5. I care watching your usually terrible rolling inspires me to greatness.