Scenario: Pitched Battle
1st turn: Warriors of Chaos
Background: This was only my second game using the new Warriors of Chaos army book. I hadn't had time to read through all the new magic weapons, armour and the rest of the paraphernalia to arm my characters and then I thumbed past Archaon. I use his model as my own Lord and I'm light on rank and file models so why not just bang him in for a game?
Warriors of Chaos
- Archaon (Flickering Fire and Pandemonium spells)
- Thaer, Exalted with additional hand weapon, Shield
- Angur, Lvl 2 Tzeentch Sorcerer (Flickering Fire and Pandemonium spells)
- 12 Warriors, standard, musician
- 10 Warriors, standard, musician, Banner of Wrath
- 16 Marauders, standard, musician, shield and light armour
- 5 Knights, standard, musician, Warbanner
- 5 Marauder Horse, musician, flails
- 5 War hounds
- 5 War hounds
- Level 4 sorceress with sacrificial dagger
- Lvl 2 Sorceress
- Lvl 2 Sorceress
- 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
- 10 Repeater Crossbows
- 16 Spearelves full command
- 5 Dark Riders
- 5 Dark Riders
- 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
Terrain and Deployment
Gary had set up the table for my arrival. The main terrain feature was a shallow stream running up to a stony lake in the centre of the table. Ruined buildings and a wood made up the rest of the terrain. I immediately knew I'd be in for a tough game as my movement would be restricted, allowing the Dark Elf shooting and magic to increase their effectiveness. I'd have to be very careful with my deployment.
Fortunately I won the choice of table edge. This meant I could attack from the side nearest the lake; once I got past that pinch point in turn two or three I'd have a free run to the Dark Elf units. My main attack would be in the centre and I had my large Warrior unit, Chariot, Marauders and a Warhound unit here. My right flank would be contested by the Marauder Horse, Warriors with the Banner of Wrath and more dogs. The Knights deployed on my extreme left flank. I deliberated over placing the characters for some time. Archaon could move through the woods and stream without penalty so I knew I'd place him on a flank; eventually I put him with the Knights (representing the Swords of Chaos). My Exalted went into the Marauders and the Sorcerer joined the central Warriors.
My plan was essentially a double envelopment. On the left my Knights would march around the woods to be in the Dark Elf deployment zone and threatening flank and rear charges from turn 4 onwards. I planned to split off Archaon and put him in the woods to get those flank charges a turn earlier.
On the right I hoped the Warriors would dominate and allow the Marauders to cross the bridge and attack the Dark Elf flank.
My middle would have to hold position for three turns at least. My worry was that the Dark Elves would spot my flanking forces and simply push forward, killing my central units and ending up far away from my flankers.
The Dark Elves faced down the Knights with a unit of Dark Riders. The other Dark Riders deployed on my right along with 10 Repeater crossbows and a Sorceress. The rest of the Dark Elves set up in the pocket in the centre.
I won the turn to go first and everything marched forward. My Knights moved slowly out of the ruined building. My magic was spectacular with a single flickering fire spell destroying a chariot!
The Dark Elf magic phase was no less devastating with my own chariot being destroyed in turn!
The game quickly broke up into three main battle zones; the extreme left, centre and far right.
The Dark Riders on my left parked themselves awkwardly in front of my Knights. I charged Archaon out and they fled back into the woods. This allowed my Knights their full march move up the flank. The Dark Riders rallied and moved back toward the Swords of Chaos. Again I charged them with Archaon and again they fled. My Knights continued their march up the left. I think Gary was wrong footed by this as he thought I would swing them right into the centre. I don't think he could believe I had planned to run them right around the woods, effectively taking them out of the game for four turns. Gary is a much more direct player than me and in a similar situation he would have put Archaon in the Knight unit and simply rammed them up the centre. Which approach would turn out to be best?
On my right the other Dark Riders charged my Marauders and slaughtered them. In a worrying turn of events their pursue move took them past the Warriors. My Warhounds eventually failed a panic test and ran away.
Over the next few turns Gary shot at my Warriors with the Banner of Wrath with everything he had, including the Bolt Throwers, and decimated the unit. In return I whittled away at the Repeater Crossbows with my magic missiles.
Eventually only my Warrior with the Standard remained and the Dark Riders charged him. He ran 9" straight through the Crossbows (who were now below unit strength 5) and out the other side. The Dark Riders pulled up short, not wanting to run down the Crossbows and thus my plucky little Warrior survived a bit longer.
The battle was always going to be won and lost in the centre.
Magic played a massive part in the action. Over three turns the Dark Elves miscast four times; once due to Pandemonium and once due to the sacrificial dagger. Spells were forgotten, wounds were lost and the magic phase ended but the Sorceresses endured. I wished I had picked the Infernal Puppet for this game. Still, the Dark Elves caused casualties to my Warriors and Marauders. My own Sorcerer chipped away with flickering fire and tried to get Pandemonium off.
My Warhounds had fled but eventually rallied on the board edge. They moved back up to support my units but played no further part in the game.
The loss of my Chariot was a blow as it meant the Hydra could move up on the flank of my Warriors. It flamed them, killing a couple. I shuffled the unit back to face the front of the monster and the Sorcerer left the unit. Gary was surprised I had blocked his line of sight for flickering fire but I explained that he had cast Pandemonium so he couldn't cast another spell. Gary insisted that Pandemonium had come from Archaon. In the end I accepted his view to keep the game moving.
The Hydra charged into the Warriors but rolled poorly. The Warriors caused a wound or two and their standard and outnumbering helped to win them the fight. The Hydra stayed. It was crucial to my plan that the Warriors would hold my flank.
The Dark Riders exited the table stage left pursued by Archaon. My Exalted charged out of the Marauders to hold up the chariot. To my surprise Gary chose to flee. Although it rallied, this meant that it was now a sitting target in front of my Knights which had finally rounded the woods. Archaon positioned himself to charge out of the woods.
In a crucial round of combats my Warriors excelled themselves and took the Hydra down to a single wound. The beast broke. The Executioners turned to face Archaon and the Assassin revealed himself in the unit.
Bolt thrower shooting took out two of my Knights but the survivors crashed into the chariot and destroyed it. Flickering fire from my Sorcerer took the last wound from the Hydra. Archaon charged out of the woods and took on the Assassin in the Executioners. The Everchosen survived the Assassin's attempted killing blows and unleashed the daemon from the Slayer of Kings. He annihilated the Assassin and the whole unit broke and were run down. Archaon overran into the Spearelves.
Archaon steamed straight on through the Spearelves and they broke and were run down too. The Sorceress was trampled into the dirt. One of the bolt Thrower teams ran off the table in terror. Archaon marched on over the bridge toward the Dark Elf survivors. He was just in time to see the Warrior with the Banner of Wrath get shot to pieces.
In the very last action of the game the Sorceress, Repeater Crossbow unit and the Dark Riders all ran off the table due to terror.
- My plan worked perfectly. The game worked out (except on my right) exactly as I envisaged, which is the first time this has ever happened to me in a Warhammer game. I think I'm getting the hang of it a bit more. It was a gamble having almost half of my army (in points values) out on my left flank but I knew I would be in a strong position in the second half of the game. The question was would Gary realise my plan and be able to counter it? In the crucial centre he made a half-hearted attempt to attack with the Hydra with the Executioners, chariot and Spearelves jockeying for position. That meant I could shuffle around myself until, literally, the cavalry could arrive.
- I still need to work out how to use my Marauder horse and Warhounds more effectively. I lost them very cheaply in this game.
- Tzeentch Sorcerers and magic are very effective and their spells are great against the Dark Elves. I'll definitely return to this lore in the future.
- Using Archaon was fun but I'm not a massive fan of special characters - I much prefer to create my own personalities and develop them over the course of my games. I'll keep experimenting in the future so I don't think I'll be using him for a while.