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How to deal with VC knight bus 
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Corsair

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:18 am
Posts: 93
Hey guys,

A friend is running a VC knight bus of 12ish Black Knights, (Ethereal mounts, killing blow, 2+ armor, s4+lances) with a 450 pt tooled vamp lord (combat) 4+ ward on him. Wight king for challenge accepting.

What the hell can i do to kill this unit. (Vamp is also lv4 caster and full heals from lore attribute each turn, also resses most of the knights each turn.)

The lists I have available have SOME redirectors, but not by any means heaps of them. Mostly just a unit of harpies and possibly some small rxb units if necessary.

I'm a little worried.

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Tue May 15, 2012 9:35 am
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Cold One Knight

Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:21 pm
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There are lots of ways:

Give killing blow from the cauldron and direct attacks on the Lord and other characters.

With hatred this gives you a lot of chances to KB these guys.

You should stop him casting van hels if possible as if the whole bus strikes first it will vastly reduce the number of attacks.

Lore of shadow enfeebling foe and withering can give you a better chance in combat along with Word of pain. Mindrazor could straight devastate the bus.

Stubborn units could hold the bus in place allowing a counter charge in the flank.

For example Peg lord with Crown and pendant, or Khainites near cauldron.

Executioner horde.

Getting a ring of hotek near the bus could be a problem for him ideally on a peg mounted characted.

Watch out for screams though.

Once I ran a VC bus against DE he used L4 shadow with dagger & L2 shadow and L2 with Tome of Furion with Dark Magic.

He had 2 Reapers and approx 20 XBows and 8 +7 Shades.

Loads of spearmen and a hydra.

He kept peppering me with bowfire and reapers.

While threating to cast miasma followed by PoS.
He was also threatening to cast Enfeebling followed Black Horror.
And Withering followed by soul stealer.
I was undone by a withering reducing my toughness followed by a nasty round of shooting.
This culminated with a single shot from the reaper which killed my lord.

Another great weakness of the Bus is that it leaves the rest of the army vulernerable due to the heavy investment of points in the bus.

You can often mince large parts of his army if you can keep the bus occupied with harpies etc.


Tue May 15, 2012 10:17 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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My personal favourite is to push my big spear elves up with KB on them from cauldron. Kill his lord with KB, and let your spear elf unit take the charge head on. Also, shoot the unit to bits first, so he has to focus on healing his knights back up.

Don't waste medium and small units on that deathstar. The ASF and rehit over again for all wounds dealt, means that the lord tears down expensive units like the BG and witch elves too quickly. You need ranks and steadfast. If you field a 1+ armor with pendant lord, you should be able to survive a challenge in the unit as well.

Magic helps you out alot. Shadow is perfect to debuff his deathstar considerably, although it hurts if you field shadow and he comes around with a big etheral list.

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Tue May 15, 2012 10:27 am
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Generalissimo
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Hellebron on a manticore.

She charges the unit in the front and challenges. Regardless of who he accepts with (wight king or vamp lord) you easily cut him down in combat because you strike first with a lot of attacks, generating you lots of combat resolution and avoiding hit backs. You win by a lot (+6 or so versus his +1 for a rank), and he crumbles. Turn two, do it again.

I had an opponent call the game on turn 2 after I did this to him once. It was brutal.

The only way it doesn't work is if he has some way to give ASF to the unit or put ASL on you. I've not played against VC much in this edition, so this could be a dated tactic!

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Tue May 15, 2012 12:34 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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I don't remember, but does Hellebron have ASF? Every VC Lord builds I've seen has it, and with the mere number of attacks, I don't think Hellebron will stand a chance to survive... especially as he gains attacks from each wound he does, and the more popular builds forces you to reroll ward saves too. I don't remember the build of the one I killed with KB the last time, but he took out about 10 spear elves singlehandedly every round. Those could have been BGs or anything else as expensive and with such lack of protection.

I think the VC lords are pretty epic in strength, with the only weakness being KB. Even our pendant lord will get chewed down easily by a well made VC lord. Especially as he will heal up with vampirism and vampire lore.

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Tue May 15, 2012 12:46 pm
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Corsair

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Yeah Red theres a vampiric gift called quick blood, fairly cheap, gives ASF. Hellebron would be hilarious if he didn't have it, but he does. The problem wiith the unkillable peglord is the killing blow wight to challenge / accept challenges.

I do have my lv4 death in the hopes of sniping the lord, but I have to be close enough to the bus to snipe without being in fly + scream range of terrorgheist, (have a 4+ ward but honestly to lone characters that thing is just stupid.)

Then, since scream allows no armor saves, if i play the run away game with my sorc, he can eat up MY bus with it. I feel like, having made an offensive list, I am being pushed into a defensive position, which is a real disadvantage when I really need to get into combat to make back my bus points. Whoever gets the charge, buswise, will almost certainly win.

I could have negated this issue by giving my bus ASF, but unfortunately my executioners (in a different list in the campaign) took that, and I cant use the item again.

Anyway, here are my tools, roughly. Any suggestions based on what I have available are greatly appreciated.

Lv4 Sorc, Death, Focus Familiar, Talisman of Pres, Dragon egg
Cauldron
Master BSb- hydra banner, cold one (mundane gear)

2x 30 spearmen
10 xbows
5 harpies

9 coks
10 shades

hydra


His list is literally 1000+pointsish on bus, including Lord, Wight king and 12 or so knights. The rest of his army will be maybe a necro and chaff, for the most part, plus Terrorgheist.

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Wed May 16, 2012 2:33 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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there is nothing strange about a 1000+ point undead unit if you include characters. my own vampire costs 499 points and the BSB is another ~150. that leaves only 350 points for the unit itself, which is not very expensive.

Anyway, as been mentioned, spearmen + KB from the cauldron sounds like a safe bet. you will most likely land ~1 KB per turn if you stay in steadfast formation. 30 spearmen sounds a little bit thin though. i would say 40 at least to be able to withstand a few rounds of combat. if you follow up with executioners/BG/witches in the flank its curtains for the black knights.

A very potent spell to use against them is word of pain. even with rerolls, hitting on 5s is terrible. that way you can survive a good long time. and it will help you to get more KBs too :)

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Wed May 16, 2012 5:20 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Executioner horde will smash it. S6 KB attacks will easily wipe out the Knights, and give will make the characters sweat especially if you land a KB on one of them :)

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Wed May 16, 2012 6:28 am
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If the VC player is stupid, the (slower) executioners will work yes. If he is smart, he won't run his deathstar into those at all though, and he'll use etherals or zombies to bog the executioners down.

I would also have run units of 40 spearmen rather than 30. Remember that you will loose huge amount of elves when you get charged. With 30, you will break after 2 close combat rounds, with 40 you will have 3. That means 3 rounds where you have KB chances (Where the first one is of course the best).

Also, I think a unit or two of harpies would be great.

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Wed May 16, 2012 7:46 am
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Corsair

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The list has to be able to stand up against other armies too, so I have to make sure not to tailor it too much towards JUST killing this one. This will be a go-to list for lower initiative and castling dwarfs, for mad purple sun shenanigans.

That said, how do you guys feel about dropping the few rxbs and boosting those two units of spearmen up some? I still have the 10 shades for some missile fire to protect from some of the things like dogs he would try redirect me with. As Omnichron mentioned, the boosted units should stay in combat longer too.

I could always be a mad jerk and go for steadfast forever, as those knights are MUCH less scary in turn two without their lance bonus. The vampire will still chew me, but only take out 30-50ish points per turn.

I do have the one unit of harpies, I know not much for redirecting purposes, but as I said this army has to stand up against others too, being a combat bus kind of army I think redirectors will sometimes be points I would miss (that would have to come out of either bus or shades.)

That said, winning games has a fair chance to allow me to take extra points for my next game only, so if i go on a bit of a roll, I can spend some of those points on harpies if I will need them against my next opponent.

Just to sum up, the ideas (that involve bus army and not executioner horde army :P) include: try get him into combat with spears and KB them into oblivion, not to mention combo charging while hes bogged down, stop Van Hels (ASF.)

In regards to the terrorgheist issue, I think they have low leadership? Hopefully I should be able to snipe it, perhaps with shade backup, before it can tear me a new one. Is it worth chucking a purple sun through it even if that sun will not hit anything else immediately? (assuming my snipe spells for the turn failed and I'm in danger of losing my sorc or bus to scream next turn if it lives.)

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Wed May 16, 2012 8:40 am
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Malekith's Best Friend

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Metal magic, easy peasy :)


Wed May 16, 2012 10:42 am
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I somehow missed that you had harpies there. So used to them being mentioned later in army lists I guess :)

I think I would have kept those crossbowmen... although I guess you get enough core with 2x40 spearmen and maybe enough shooting with the shades.

You have a lot of gear on the sorceress that you don't absolutely need to have imo. At least if you stay back a bit together with the crossbowmen with her. Other than that, the list you have there would struggle alot with etherals as you have no magic weapons.

Terrorgheists are easily handled by enough shots or magic, you just have to make sure you focus it down to a few wounds or kill it completely fast. Terrorgheist has a LD of 4 and a I of 3, so there's plenty of lores that should kill them quickly.

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Personal quote: "It's better to do little damage and lose nothing than to do lots of damage and lose everything."
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Wed May 16, 2012 11:00 am
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Corsair

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The sorc is supposed (ideally) to fly right into their face and miscast a large purple sun through them, (except against elves and such high I things.) Focus familiar is for extended range, and also can be used to set the sun off from, so I can exploit terrain without being in too much danger.

The ward save I figured I would need, seeing as she's all by herself on a peg with no unit protection. Black dragon egg just struck me as a cheap, useful item. Breath weapons out of combat with no more partials can do a right assload of damage, and the ld penalty, possibly combined with doom and darkness, could save my ass in a tight spot. Its my answer to make this list still not terrible against high elves I guess.

I am worried about ethereals though.. as you said i'v no real way to deal with them except combat res. Any suggestions as so where I could put some in without new characters?

Maybe a ruby ring in the cold one champ.

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Wed May 16, 2012 11:28 pm
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The Guiding Eye
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Ace wrote:
Focus familiar is for extended range, and also can be used to set the sun off from, so I can exploit terrain without being in too much danger.


Sorry bud but I don't think thats quite right, I believe the spell says it is placed in contact with the wizards base - the focus familiar is not the wizard.

Edits: I run a very similar wizard lord to your setup Ace, and she works wonder with my list - but the list and her very much complement one another: she takes out anything that they cannot. I think the BDE and Focus Familiar are solid choices for her - the egg is a real ace in the hole (excuse the pun!) and as you said the ability to either decimate a large unit (and perhaps prevent them charging) or to boost your toughness is a real boon. I once lured a steam tank away from my main line by dropping her tantalisingly close to it, tried to purple sun it, failed, got charged by the tank - ate the egg and then survived the impact hits (high T + ward save ftw) allowing the rest of my army to utterly nail his, all the while casting spells out of combat thanks to the familiar - except purple sun which I then ran over the tank on turn 3.

@ Red... the problem with Helleborn in that situation is that Vamps can (and often do) take the ASF bloodline upgrade...

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Thu May 17, 2012 1:26 am
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Corsair

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:18 am
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SOmething of a debate then beans, the focus familiar rules are the ones Im referring to, (dont have my book on me right now but will check when im home,) on my last read I was fairly convinced I could use it as it just says something like 'familiar may be used as the cast point for all spells.'

Again, not certain on that by any means, if anyone gets a chance to check before I do please correct me if Im wrong.

Regardless, as your example shows, still a useful little thing to have, and still worth it in terms of simple extra range for the other spells, not to mention out of combat casting. That empire player must have been raging a good bit lol.

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Thu May 17, 2012 1:56 am
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Corsair
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The debate for FF comes from the presence of several rules.

The first sentence says that the sorceress can cast spells from the FF's position rathern than from her own. This supports Ace073.

The last sentence says that the sorceress can use that position to determine spells' LOS and range, and whether she is engaged in combat or not.
With a strict reading, a vortex has no target therefore LOS and range is irrelevant. Hence Dangerous Beans' interpretation, nonwithstanding the first sentence.


It has been debated on D.net before.
I recall that the majority's belief was that the last sentence was not limiting the first sentence' rule, it was just enhancing particular aspects.

Vortexes can be issued from the FF's position, thanks to the first sentence of FF rules. Even a "misfire" would be centered on the FF, as this is still part of casting the spell.

On the other hand, the FF mentions nothing at all regarding miscasts. In case of IF, resolve the spell from the FF and the miscast from the sorceress.

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Thu May 17, 2012 5:53 am
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Corsair

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Quote:
On the other hand, the FF mentions nothing at all regarding miscasts. In case of IF, resolve the spell from the FF and the miscast from the sorceress.


That's the way I interpreted it. Not game-breaking if it goes either way, but a nifty bonus to have regardless.

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Thu May 17, 2012 6:05 am
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I wouldn't put a supreme sorceress on a pegasus, especially not when she's the general. It's just way too easy to bring her down with anything that shoots, and the terrorgheist will kill her very quickly unless you manage to take it down first (Which means a bit of luck getting the needed spells through that critical round).

I'd just run the sorceress with either a unit of 25 spears, or the crossbowmen, and use them as fodder whenever they attack her unit. You will need the FF for the extra range, but should drop the rest of the magic things, and either add a lifetaker (Which is great at killing etherals), or spend the points on other nice things.

Dragon Egg works quite well on the Master by the way, even though he doesn't have a pegasus.

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Thu May 17, 2012 11:36 am
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Corsair

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I am a bit worried by the sorc's alone-ness, but I can at least put her in a unit even on her peg if it comes to worrying about such things as missile fire and magic. I think the freedom to be where she needs to be, especially with Death's short range, is something I want. If I go up against an army with heavy shooting (non artillery, she wouldnt get a look out sir cause not infantry, but still helps against, say, thunderers,) il turf her in the spears when I need to.

But against things like demons and VC with little range, as long as I am fairly vigilant with ranges I should be able to keep her safe enough, with ward save as a catch the unexpected kind of deal.

That said, I am sure that will come back to bite me in the ass in one or two games, but what can you do. As for the Egg, the master has a magic banner, so cant hold it :(

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Thu May 17, 2012 11:46 am
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Generalissimo
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Ah, my bad on the ASF thing then, oh well :)

The Pegasus Sorceress is not a bad idea, but against VC it's not a good way forward. As Omnichron accurately points out: a terrorgheist will make short work of her without any effort at all (my dead pegasus master can attest to that...)

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Thu May 17, 2012 4:32 pm
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