Team Tourney 4/5: Lost Colony vs. High elves
Despite the horrendous defeat from last round we will still in the game. This time we drew a team that was solid but not unbeatable and were hoping for a good result.
As usual, I got sacrificed.
I was the first one offered to our opponents who countered with an infantry high elf list (big block of WL, smaller block of PG, anointed, high magic) and an aggressive flavour of dwarfs with no warmachines but vanguarding blocks of hammerers. For me, personally, the dwarfs would have probably been a better matchup as I would have killed something and lost nothing but others were so sure they could 20:0 them (while it is questionable I would have been able to grind down two stubborn blocks) that they convinced me to accept the high elves as opponents.
I did not think this matchup was terrible for me, anyway (and I did not change my mind still). Sure, the lionstar is powerful and it is questionable if I can do something about it. It would need an extremely careful approach in any case. However, the phoenix guard block was not that numerous and cannot be supported by magic that easily and the rest of the army is not that strong (bolt throwers can hurt but one can do something about them) so I should have been able to get a draw which was everything that was asked from me. Lost Colony:
Dreadlord on dark pegasus: general, lance, heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, shield, dawnstone, cloak of twilight: 289
Supreme sorceress: lvl 4 heavens, ring of hotek, dispel scroll: 295
Master on dark peagasus: heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, shield, sword of might, potion of strength, dragonbane gem: 177
Master on dark pegasus: BSB, great weapon, heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, talisman of preservation, charmed shield: 209
2x 5 dark riders, musician, champion, shields, crossbows: 2x 120
20 spearmen, FCG: 210
10 witch elves, FCG, banner of eternal flame: 150
4x reaper bolt thrower: 4x 70
2x 10 har ganeth executioners, musician: 2x 130
5 harpies: 75
5 shades, additional hand weapons: 90
5 doomfire warlocks: 125High Elves:
Anointed of Asuryan: General, Dawn Stone, Ogre Blade, Enchanted Shield, 280
Archmage: Lvl 4, High, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation, 320
Noble: BSB, Great Weapon, Armour of Silvered Steel, Luckstone 149
3x 5 Ellyrian Reavers: Bow, 95
5 Silver Helms: Shield, 115
9 Silver Helms: Shield, 207
26 White Lions of Chrpce:FCG, Banner of the World Dragon, 418
18 Phoenix Gard: FCG, Razor Standard, 345
4x 1 Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower: 70
My two main goals were, first, clear his chaff and bolt throwers as quickly as possible; second, avoid his deathstar. We both knew that the only big points he could have got in close combat was the unit with supreme sorceress; other units are so fast that he would have to rely on shooting and magic. Therefore, his infantry blocks went in the middle to make the distance to my bunker as short as possible; his fast units covered the flanks. I decided to use the house to hopefully split the two blocks or use it as cover for an escape. Maybe I should have taken this even further and placed the spearmen bunker right behind the house (then, should he not split the blocks, I would have easily escaped, and if he did the phoenix guard was not that numerous so I should have been able to defeat it somehow). In the game, however, I placed the spearmen to the far west; this way I maximized the distance and got the option to escape the lionstar along the west table edge provided I would have managed to defeat the big silver helms.
My infantry spread behind the forest, prepared to redirect or combo charge should an opening present itself; the fast elements were asked to race to bolt throwers and kill off some high elf cavalry.
I grabbed the first turn and got to work. Lost Colony, Turn 1
As you can see from my vanguards and first turn moves, I was using the impassable terrain in the middle as a stronghold for my agile units where they were more or less safe from shooting and magic. Warlocks, hidden from most harm, were prepared to throw some doombolts and scare the high elves from entering into their charge range, shades get in range to shoot at something while staying safe.
I was quite bold with my dark riders: I placed them in an easy charge range of some reavers. My reasoning was that I should have killed one with shooting and after the charge, we had the same armour save after modifiers, he had S4 but I had rerolls to hit so I deemed the risk acceptable. I should have probably sent the riders out of the enemies charge arc, though: their goal was to force the enemy to protect his bolt throwers somehow which would have been achieved this way as well.
On the western flank, I mostly stayed put as I knew my opponent would come to me. I just sent a unit of dark riders slightly forwards (into the forest to provide them with soft cover at least) and joined them by PoS master. If my opponent failed to do something about them they could have charged a bolt thrower or the bigger silver helm unit.
In shooting and magic, I was able to panic two units of reavers as we forgot to apply Valour of Ages. The third one, the one that was able to charge my daring dark riders, got away without harm, though. I probably managed to kill a bolt thrower, too, possibly with shades and the eastern bolt thrower though I am far from being sure. High Elves, Turn 1
The reavers on the east charged my bold dark riders.
Everything marched closer to my spearmen bunker, as expected. Silver helms protected the backfield.
In magic, my western dark riders got decimated by a soul quench (might have been boosted). The lone pegasus hero got then killed by a lucky single shot. I was able to stop arcane unforging on my general at least (if I remember correctly).
The reavers had probably eaten some drugs as they decimated my dark riders for only one casualty of their own. Lost Colony, Turn 2
First, I sent my warlocks to retaliate on the victorious reavers.
My harpies were march blocked by the silver helm unit behind the hill and so I left them there, not useful but safe from fire at least.
I then had to do something about the encirclement on the west. To this end, I marched my spearmen with sorceress and BSB (sorceress in the second rank) forwards at full speed, inviting an easy charge from the bigger silver helms. In preparation for this fight, I cast bubbled harmonic convergence on the spearmen and both bolt throwers and curse of the midnight wind on the silver helms.
In addition, I brought my executioners slightly nearer to allow some redirect should it have been necessary.
I was quite unsure what to target with my shooting. Reducing the number of silver helms would have been a good thing; however, between cover and armour, I was not sure it would have made a big difference. Therefore I decided to target the opposing bolt throwers and in a stroke of luck was able to destroy both war machines on the hill.
Combat got worse than expected, though: I destroyed the reavers but after the pursuit, only two warlocks were left. High Elves, Turn 2
Bigger silver helms charged my spearmen bunker. The infantry blocks advanced and were now dangerously near. Smaller silver helms hid behind a hill and that was pretty much all my opponent was left with.
In magic, he succeeded with casting arcane unforging on my general, destroying the dawnstone but not wounding him at least. In addition, fighting silver helms were supported with hand of glory and fear from apotheosis. I stopped a big soul quench at executioners at least (Maybe I should have risked the panic or maybe I should have moved my general elsewhere? To the spearmen unit perhaps as then, the fight would have been quite one-sided in my favour?)
There was almost no shooting left.
Combat did not go according to plan, however: I think seven spearmen died for minimal losses among the silver helms. This was quite a surprise for me; I rolled this fight again at home and there, the silver helms broke from the fight right in the turn they charged but this is not a proof of course. I am lazy to mathammer this but you are welcome to do it for me:
Silver helms had WS6, I passed my fear test;
I was rerolling 1s to hit, wound and armour saves; besides, I had hatred;
They were rerolling 6s to hit, wound and armour saves.
It is possible we forgot to do all those rerolls, I am far from being sure. Lost Colony, Turn 3
My original plan was to redirect the white lions with the western executioners. This would have bought more time to defeat the helms and I would have escaped with spearmen, BSB and sorceress. However, their movement did not suffice. Had I moved them closer the previous turn… Alternatively, I did not consider conga-lining them but I am not sure it would have helped. Probably not.
Therefore, I moved them as far as I could. The lions could have charged them and then overran into the spearmen but there was a chance they would roll low for the pursuit. (I am not sure, though, if the chance was higher than the chance they would not complete the charge in the first place).
My dreadlord flew behind the lions, ready to charge into their backs and, more importantly, escaping from more arcane unforgings. Witches and eastern executioners repositioned slightly to catch the phoenix guard at least but without much success.
I also sent the remaining warlocks against the last bolt thrower. They destroyed it and overran off the board but one of them got killed.
From the big unit, only four helms were remaining in the end of the turn so they were surely taking an unfavourable break test but they stuck. High Elves, Turn 3
The white lions charged, destroyed executioners for no losses worth mentioning and successfully overran into the spearmen. This was basically game over.
I have no documentation of the subsequent turns but I know I made several other stupid mistakes. I tried to get the phoenix guard at least and reduced their size to 10 or something with shooting. I was doing badly at foreseeing overruns and countering them, and therefore the witches got flanked by the white lions and destroyed. I was urged by the captain to try a desperate charge against the remnants of the phoenix guard, execs to the front, general to the back – but it did not work. The general was not even able to kill the champion in a challenge. Warlocks got caught by the remaining silver helm unit after their return to the board.
In the end, it was a clear 0:20 loss.
The game got decided with me being unable to break through with the spearmen bunker. There are two reasons this happened: they did not defeat the silver helms and I was unable to redirect the lionstar. As I have already mentioned, I am not sure how much chance they actually had at breaking the helms (I think a decent one but I might be mistaken) so let us talk about the redirection.
I have already mentioned the execs: Turn 2, they should have marched the maximum distance available. This would have allowed me the redirection I sought.
I should have taken care of the harpies as well, though. They were actually march-blocked twice – I could have reformed the executioners in a line and placed the general on the eastern edge, for example, this should have brought him in range of the flying girls. The unit was not safe from magic anyway and it would have been able to wear down some bolt thrower fire. Harpies should always be as near to the unit they are going to redirect as possible. Alternatively, they could have flew to the west turn 2 as bolt thrower fire is not that devastating for them (well, at least one should survive and the general would have been near).
I feel I was quite lucky clearing the chaff, forgotten Valour of Ages or not. Destroying two bolt throwers with shooting in one turn was good by itself, even with rerolling 1s, and my initial fire killing eight reavers and one bolt thrower was not bad either.
I should have not held the shades that far back. The only unit I could have been concerned about was the bolt thrower and they could have not escaped its fire anyway while keeping in range themselves; reavers and silver helms were far away. Alternatively, scouting them to the west might have been advisable for an early redirection but I am hardly sure about this. Going west, they could have died for nothing as well. They should have probably started where they did but then moved to the west as quickly as possible.
What I am still not sure is whether my army can engage the lionstar. (Unsupported phoenix guard is beatable as proved in the battle: some shooting plus a pegmaster plus witches should do the trick). My opponent was often one-dicing spells which is somewhat risky but not that risky with Book of Hoeth; therefore, together with the help from the anointed, the lions mostly had something like a 4++ ward save. 3++ in the case of characters. Once in combat, however, the number of spells he has available shrinks (in this game he would have been down to apotheosis and hand of glory); suddenly, I can use all dice on one of them, dispel scroll on the other and fight a mere 6++ ward. However, I have to survive in combat long enough before this happens.
Therefore, my ideal solution would have been: charge with two pegmasters, each in one flank. One of them might issue a challenge to get a bit safer. They kill nothing and hopefully lose no wounds themselves (only four attacks go to the flanks); with some luck, they should stick and prevent the enemy from reforming. In the subsequent round, I could charge with everything and overwhelm the unit.
However, I feel this is still a bit too risky considering how many points I would need to throw the lions way.
On other tables, our results were mixed. Our Warrior of Chaos crushed the dwarfs 20:0 as expected. Our orc, however, did a stupid mistake (I am quoting him here!) and lost both his unit of savage big uns and trolls as a consequence (I think he lost combat, rolled first on his unit with characters, failed his stubborn with reroll and the trolls then ran as well with their low leadership). Our Ogre drew a Bretonnian 9:11 and our captain crushed their WoC. So quite a volatility here.
It was not what we hoped for but we still had a chance for a good placement.