Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Uprising 2023 - Part 3

This is the final part of my report from a recent 6th edition Warhammer Fantasy tournament. You can find the previous part here.

With only one game to go, my apparently mighty Cult of Slaanesh army had still yet to taste defeat. I seemed to be surrounded by Vampire Counts, however...

Game 3 - Pitched Battle
Jake Campbell - Vampire Counts (Necrarchs)

  • Necrarch Vampire Count (Level 2, Lore of Necromancy) with Book of Arkhan, Nehekara's Noble Blood, Ring of the Night
  • Necromancer (Level 2, Lore of Necromancy) with Dispel Scroll
  • Necromancer (Level 2, Lore of Necromancy) with Staff of Damnation
  • Wight Lord on Nightmare with Heavy Armour, Great Weapon
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Ghouls
  • 15 Skeletons with Shields, Full Command
  • 20 Zombies with Standard, Musician
  • 11 Black Knights with Barding, Lances, Heavy Armour, Shields, Full Command, Banner of the Barrows
  • 3 Fell Bats
  • 20 Grave Guard with Heavy Armour, Shields, Full Command
  • 3 Spirit Hosts
  • Banshee
  • Black Coach
This game would be interesting, as it was the first time I'd run into another player with some real muscle in the magic phase.

Nice-looking terrain, although I could have done without a river. I won the roll-off for sides, and elected the one with a hill on it.
Dire Wolves on the flank, Skeletons, the Black Coach, the Black Knights led by the Wight Lord, and the Banshee.
Next was the Grave Guard including a Necromancer, the Zombies led by the Vampire and the other Necromancer, and the Spirit Hosts showing off by floating around on the river.
On the other flank were the Ghouls and Fell Bats, who also would have no trouble getting across the river to my vulnerable missile troops.
The Furies were the nearest thing I had to a counter for Spirit Hosts in a river, and the Daemonettes formed up in front of the hill to try to offer some additional threats to whatever got close.

Once again I finished deploying first, then lost the roll-off for first turn. I guess it's a tradition. However, Jake decided that he didn't actually want the first turn, and gave it to me. Given the range on my magic and Crossbowmen is limited, it makes a certain amount of sense. But it still feels brave to give it away sometimes. His decision was more or less vindicated; I did very little in terms of damage to his army, despite advancing the Crossbowmen over on my left a bit to get them into range, and moving up the troops around them to offer support.

We had been talking before the game about my idiot Cold One Knights failing stupidity repeatedly the previous game, and when I rolled up the ability to give them Frenzy with Luxurious Torment, Jake suggested I should just cast it on them to make them immune to psychology. I decided this was a great idea, and did it immediately. Jake let me, presumably figuring he would just manipulate their movement to his benefit.

The undead advanced, largely camouflaging in the terrain over on my right flank. The Fell Bats are in the ruins, with the Ghouls just behind. The Spirit Hosts made sure they didn't come within range of the Daemonettes.
The Banshee flitted into the terrain in the centre of the field, the Black Knights and Coach advanced a bit, and the other troops hung back fairly cautiously given I had pushed the Daemonette cavalry forward a bit on the flank.
The Anointed was pretty much the only thing that could really threaten the Black Coach and cavalry in combat.
Magic turned out to be a bit of a thing. Jake had 2 copies of Curse of Years, and managed to get them both off in the same turn. The first he aimed at the Devoted, and I admit I let it through. My cunning plan paid off when the Anointed was wounded, thereby gaining an Attack for the rest of the battle! Sure, he was wounded... But he had Soul Stealer up his sleeve as well! Oh, I lost a few Devoted as well. But who is counting? I'm pretty sure the second Curse of Years on the Cold One Knights was cast irresistibly, meaning I had hoarded my dispel dice for nothing. Maybe I just couldn't roll. Anyway, none of them were wounded, but now there were 2 copies of the spell in play coming into my turn.
My Crossbowmen had done a little damage to the Skeletons on my left flank, and I decided that since the Mounted Daemonettes couldn't really hope to hurt the Black Coach, they might as well see if they could clear off the rest of the Skeletons. 
The Furies had sort of been designated as interceptors for the Fell Bats, so when I decided that they had strayed within range, they charged. They nearly did the job properly, leaving a single Bat left on one wound. That was not ideal. Now they were trapped with a vulnerable flank for the Ghouls to engage.
The Mounted Daemonettes also stuffed up a little. If they had wiped out the Skeletons, that would have been great. Failing that, leaving a decent number of them would also have been good...
...But now they were going to get flanked by Dire Wolves, and had only 2 Skeletons to harvest to help them win the combat.
My shooting had taken a toll on the Black Knights the previous turn, reducing them to a single rank. The Black Coach decided to gamble on being inside charge range of the Crossbowmen (who had backed up as they fired to ensure the Knights wouldn't reach), but was slightly out and received a wound for its efforts from their stand-and-shoot reaction.
The Mounted Daemonettes did indeed finish off the Skeletons, but they weren't able to do anything to the Dire Wolves and were fortunate to still be there after testing for instability.
The Banshee scooted up between my units, but couldn't find a good singing audience because everyone around her was immune to psychology. The Black Knights edged forward, but were rather nervous about coming into reach of the Devoted.
In my turn I had dispelled Curse of Years on the Devoted, but had to leave it in play on the Cold One Knights. This time it hurt more, killing a couple of Knights and wounding the Noble. The Grave Guard advanced into their path, but when the Necromancer left the unit (he's behind the shack) and tried to use the Staff of Damnation, I was having none of it. As a bonus, it was drained on its first use.
I had done a few wounds to the Spirit Hosts with Chillwind (maybe not my best use of power dice in hindsight, given the number of daemons around with magical attacks), but the Ghouls flanked the Furies and fought them to a draw as the last Bat died. I had actually fired a Bolt Thrower at the Ghouls in an attempt to panic them away, but didn't roll enough wounds. So the combat was now 4 on 4, but they were in the flank and fighting a single Fury.
What do you do when you have frenzied Cold One Knights? You throw them at the first fun thing to stray into their path. Oh, and you send your slightly crazed Anointed into the flank, abandoning the Devoted in the process. This was actually a big decision, because it meant he was not going to be around to help the other flank deal with the Black Knights and Coach. I had to hope the magic and shooting to get things under control there.
The Daemonettes advanced to shield the flank of the Cold Onw Knights, confident that the Spirit Hosts wouldn't really want to fight them. In fact it was possible the Vampire and his Zombies didn't want to fight them either.
Realising that the Crossbowmen were in trouble and that she was too kinky or deaf to care about Banshee singing, the Slaanesh Sorceress left the unit and tried unsuccessfully to blast the Banshee off with Blissful Throes (Jake dispelled it).
The Anointed killed a whole rank of the Grave Guard, and I think he even cast Soul Stealer before that to heal himself up to 4 wounds instead of the 2 he had been on. Unfortunately the Cold One Knights were having a slightly rough time of it. They still had Curse of Years in play on them (it's hard to justify 4 power dice to reliably dispel it), and they were not really setting the world alight with their rolling. Consequently the Grave Guard were still there. Well, 3 of them anyway.
My shooting continued to pour into the Black Knights. There were now only 2 of them accompanying the Wight Lord. This felt like good progress, but the Black Coach felt inevitable. Also, the Daemonette cavalry were now gone. They had failed to wound the Wolves again, and this time they vanished with a pitiful, frustrated wail (I think that came from me).
I don't think the Spirit Hosts really wanted to do this, but the Vampire was under threat if they didn't. I wasn't sure I wanted this fight to happen either, given I wouldn't get saves...
This time the Black Knights and Coach made the charge, smashed up the Crossbowmen pretty badly, and then both barreled clean off the table with pursuit rolls of 14+. This was slightly annoying, given I wanted to shoot the Knights...
The Banshee decided if she couldn't sing at my Sorceress, she could still pin her in combat, block her nasty magic missile, and paw at her until she eventually landed a wound. It didn't happen straight away.
Curse of Years continued to take a toll on the Cold One Knights, and a fresh unit of Zombies sprang up behind them before being pushed into combat with Vanhel's. I did try to block it, but even as I did so, I wasn't sure it would matter. That was a lot of soft meat charging my frenzied troops...
We weren't sure if the Cold Ones were meant to benefit from the frenzy of the spell, but decided it didn't say, so they did. It didn't matter; they rolled a mountain of dice at the Zombies but did very little damage. The Zombies had succeeded in holding them in combat. Having killed the remaining Grave Guard, the Anointed was free - but he was the only one. The Daemonettes had taken a couple of wounds, but were still there and looked like they had the combat under control. At about this point Curse of Years was finally ended for the Cold One Knights. Not because I dispelled it, but because the Vampire ended it so he could blast my Dark Sorceress through the gap between my units with Gaze of Nagash. She died...
So this is after my turn. The Necromancer behind the shack had once again managed to cast Curse of Years on my Devoted. The Anointed had a decision to make. Charge the Vampire, Necromancer and mob of Zombies all by himself, or go kill the other Necromancer, thus ending that Curse of Years automatically, and remain within range for when he'd have support. I chose this plan, given the odds of something going wrong on a solo mission. I did try casting Soul Stealer on the Zombies, but turned out to be a fraction of an inch out of range. Meanwhile the Daemonettes cleaned up the remaining Spirit Hosts, and the Cold One Knights mopped up the Zombies. 
You know I'm coming for you...
I should have turned the Devoted around at some point, but they kind of got forgotten thanks to their depleted numbers and their lack of potential to hurt the enemy Black Knights and Coach. They might have had time to rescue (or avenge) the Sorceress, who would soon take a wound, break and get run down.
So in Jake's turn I had really done my level best to prevent this. I let him hit the Cold One Knights with Gaze of Nagash so that I'd have the dice to prevent Invocation creating a new unit. And I did manage to stop it... Once. Then I got out-rolled when we both had 2 dice left each, and he got the second copy through. Now my Anointed couldn't reach the Vampire. He had to content himself with Zombies as the now shattered Cold One Knights tried to do the job alone. He did manage to throw in Soul Stealer this time to help deplete their numbers. 
My Sorceress died, the enemy units that had chased off the field returned, and my shooting bounced ineffectually off my enemies. The Black Knights were so badly damaged, but wouldn't fail a save. The other Bolt Thrower couldn't see, so instead tried to panic the Ghouls, who had finally out-fought and killed my Furies. My dice were letting me down, but I did finally kill one on my final attempt, and they fled the field.
So close... The Anointed carved a fair chunk off the Zombies, and the Cold One Knights got really close with the Vampire. The Noble cut down the Necromancer, and in the end a single Zombie was left standing to guard its master. I lapped around, but it felt a bit hopeless when I realised I wasn't getting another turn, as I had gone first. The Anointed would have had the Vampire on toast, but he wasn't going to get the chance.
In the clean-up stages the Devoted died because I had been too distracted to turn them around. On the flip side, the Black Coach utterly bounced off the Crossbowmen, failing to inflict a single wound. So that was something. The Vampire actually stepped across and killed the Cold One Noble (wounded and ancient as he was thanks to spending far too long under Curse of Years)

The game ended at this point, but I have a feeling now that we had actually miscounted turns. We probably should have had another turn each, which might have been very exciting/horrifying for the Vampire. Let this be a cautionary tale for you - make sure you keep some sort of turn counter from the start of the game. It's too hard to figure it out in the heat of battle!

Tallying it all up, the game was almost exactly equal at something like 1650 victory points apiece. It was very much a draw.

Result: 10-10 draw

So at the end of the tournament, I walked away with 2 wins, a draw and 4th place overall out of 36 players. This was an amusingly good result for an army that couldn't win a practice game. The last game had been particularly close, with a lot of tense moments in the magic phase in particular. All my games had been fun, and it was novel to finally get a chance to use a Cult of Slaanesh army after all these years.

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