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Lost colony in 9th age - 2500 vs. VC 
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Assassin
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I have written an answer but I feel unfocused and fear I would be telling nonsense so have a bit patience please till I proof read it. :) For the time being let me say that I really appreciate your comments - and most of all the comments explaining how many things I did wrong. :D

I will be back soon. :)

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Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:52 pm
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Marchosias wrote:
ETC Team Tourney – Introduction

Last weekend, I attended what is probably the biggest tourney in the Czech Republic – an ETC event for teams consisting of five players. 14 teams signed up which meant that 70 people were battling there – not a bad number I say.

The pairing system was slightly complicated and very similar to the one used in ETC itself so you can look it up. (In short: Both teams nominate simultaneously one of their own players as their opener; then they assign two possible opponents for the opener of the opposing team, simultaneously again; and finally, the opener's team chooses who out of the two candidates is actually going to fight the guy they nominated in the beginning. This way, two pairs emerge (two openers plus their designated opponents), three armies remain in each team. Then, the process is repeated.) The important part is that if an army has two bad matchups in the opposing team it can't be used as the opener as it would then probably have to fight one of them; excluding the cases where this move would have allowed very good matchups for other members of the team. On the other hand, if an army has some bad matchup in the opposing team it can be avoided with good pairing and so on. The possibility of being sacrificed for the greater good is part of the fun – personal experience. :D

I was attending the tourney as part of a team imaginatively named Warriors. :D We had three experienced warlords – an orc player with a savage orc horde, several war machines and lots of chaff; an ogre player with an irongut deathstar and a big unit of each maneaters and mournfangs; and the captain himself with lizardmen consisting of lots of skinks, a big temple guard unit and two dinosaurs. They were joined by a WoC novice who started playing in April and was bringing two demon princes, a big unit of trolls and five skullcrushers; and then by me with my absolutely harmless MSU. :D

The rosters – together with the list of every other attendant – can be found here.

One more important thing to consider is that while from each battle you could bring 0-20 points as usual, the result of the team as a whole could be at worst 35-65; bigger differences got rounded up. True battle points were only used to resolve ties. This allowed us to play heavily risk averse on several occasions.

Going to the tournament we knew we could place well if things went right, maybe even in the third place; but it was hugely dependent on how the wild cards – the inexperienced novices – were to succeed.
. Did they use the new End of Times stuff?


Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:54 pm
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@ Callison

Haha, do you predict I will follow the path of Shadowblade and turn on my former order? :)

@ Marchosias

I am glad you find my comments worth replying, looking forward to reading your post! I know it is going to be worth reading for sure!

Cheers!

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Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:17 am
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Thank you all for replies! I am glad my reports attract so much attention, even if they feature such shameful losses as this one. :)

And yes, learning from losses is easier because if one wins one can easily end thinking one played without mistakes while in reality, the winning player probably made some mistakes too but not as grave as his opponent. :)

@ Swordmaster: You provided a very in-depth analysis, as usual. I really appreciate that and you certainly suggested some ideas I did not consider before so thank you very much for making the time to write this. :) To answer your comments:

- Your assessment of my army is correct. I would only add that the flying heroes can be used to an aggressive advance, too; in some cases they can fly forwards and sack the backfield, threaten with flank charges and generally disrupt the enemy movement. I think about the army as a force with a proactive and a reactive part: pegasus heroes and cavalry try to be active all game while the infantry units usually wait for openings.

Actually, I do not have that much shooting. Only 610 points can shoot at all, most of which are located in dark riders and shades who do not have that many shots anyway. I have been rarely outgunned thanks to the matchups being favourable in this regard but I rarely felt any superiority in this department, either.

- Deployment: I agree, shades were too far (this could have been salvaged but I failed to do this) and spearmen should have gone behind the house. The dark rider vanguard, however, was not as bad as it seems from the picture. They were really close to the impassable terrain so they were protected from most attention. I do not know anymore how I did it (my solution might have been lacking) but I have thought about this.

- I never wanted to say the silver helm combat was the only reason for my loss. Before that, though, I think I had a more or less reasonable battle plan with a decent chance for success and here the plan got ultimately ruined. You are of course correct that I was not forced to take this chance, I just overestimated my odds. It is true I could have for example pulled the spears back, jumped with sorceress to the eastern executioners and let the new escort bring her to safety - I am not sure it would have worked but it is an option, maybe safer than what I did. Angling the spearmen as you have written is a very good suggestion I never thought of so thanks for opening my eyes. :)

One more possibility could have been to block the helms with BSB alone. But it would have probably been too risky as well.

- The loss of western dark riders - I have underestimated what a single boosted soul quench can do and how easy it actually is to cast it. With an unboosted version, I think the hero had a very good chance at surviving. Then he would have charged one of the warmachines, maybe even overrun into the other (I am never sure what kind of "closing the door" you can do if angling to a round base) and be a general nuisance for quite long. So according to the plan, I sacrificed a unit of dark riders for the benefit of destroying two bolt throwers. I think this would have been worth it if it worked.

And you of course only ever talk silly things. Everyone knows MSU does not work - except you who is still failing to notice and keeps winning using it. :D

@ Gidean: The tournament was held in June so no End Times stuff. I am just unbelievably slow with posting the reports. Sorry for confusing you. :)
There is an ETC tournament this weekend, though, and nothing from the End Times book is allowed. We (well, they) do not believe anything from the new rules is going to be used at the ETC in summer so why bother?

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Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:54 am
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Hi Marchosias,

I am very happy to know you liked my comments and even consider some of my ideas good! In every game there are multitude of options and as game develops many new patterns appear. Hence, it is really easy to miss some in the heat of battle. But that is also why Battle Reports and the discussion afterwards are so important! In every game I wrote about even during the process of creating maps I spotted things that I totally missed in the game. So don't worry and don't think of yourself as a bad player. You are not, just the contrary! I am sure you are going to use the experience in your future game to shift the odds into your favor.

Speaking about MSU I wonder how do your team members perceive that army? My observations are that in a team tournament people prefer to take armies that protect points better so that if something happens the team does not suffer much. MSU is not such an army and has higher risk factor involved.

I am also looking forward the next battle report although I am aware that by adding more questions I may be keeping you from finishing it!

Cheers!

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Thu Oct 16, 2014 4:46 am
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MSU army in a team tournament - that is a multifaceted question, actually.

From one point of view, such an army is considered weak (or rather unoptimal) so the top teams would be reluctant to accept it.
On the other hand, when I asked my captain if he wants my army in his team he answered that while it might be unusual the important thing is that everyone should play the army he is used to.
For the ETC team, this means creating a "strong" army and then practicing with it as much as possible. Here, however, there was no one (I am aware of) that wanted to win this much. :) Some used it as part of their training for the big event, though.

Still, a MSU army might have its merits as a member of a team.
A MSU army has some bad matchups but so has almost everyone. In a team setting it should be possible to avoid them.
I even think MSU could have relatively few bad matchups and as such it could be used as a blocker (this is one of the reasons I was so often offered as the first player: given how many points are there in heroes that can avoid death rather well, I should not be losing with a large margin, in theory at least). Against some armies, MSU might actually be very strong. Or at least, it could be moderately strong while the opponent believes it to be utter crap which is generally even better. :)
As I think about your battles, it seems you even have a relatively small volatility. You play for drawish result (say, 6:14-14:6) against almost anyone. Barring grave mistakes or big swings of luck, naturally. This is another asset, you can be sent against almost anyone and expected to bring some points at least. And by doing this, you can tank the only army someone other is really afraid of. Or the only army that can avoid total destruction from the hands of some heavy beater.

You can join the Australian ETC team and find out yourself. :D Prague is a nice city. :)

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Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:15 am
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Hi Marchosias,

Thanks a lot for your reply! It is a very intriguing matter because armies for team tournaments are composed with different roles in mind. And apart from Daemonic MSU I am now aware of anybody considering MSU for such event.

It is nice that your captain had such an approach. In my opinion, it is a player who defines the army and there is no absolute optimal force (boy but I hate that term in warhammer :)). Hence, as your captain said, it is better that the player plays with the army he knows how to use. Of course you are correct that ETC teams pick the forces and then each player spends a lot of time playing with it.

In theory I could apply for a position in the Australian ETC team, although I am not Australian. This year they had a Spanish player among their ranks. I am not sure, however, if they would consider my style worthy. But no harm to ask :)

Ok, enough of derailing the topic! Any chances we are going to see 5th game soon?

Cheers!

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Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:49 am
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Sorry for the long delay but the impossible is now turning reality:

Team Tourney 5/5: Lost Colony vs. Skaven

Last battle of the tourney and guess what, I got sacrificed. :D
This time I was not the first one offered; I got chosen as one of the two possible counters for their Skaven. Originally, my captain was worried what the bell could do but when I explaind the bolt throwers (that can be brought down with one ringing) only cost 280 points in total, he decided it was the best course of action. Sure, I have never played against Skaven before but who cares, I am just that cool. 
I received very specific instructions for the battle: I was to go for a draw or a small loss and I was forbidden to engage the bell. The course of action was not hard to see: hide everything important from the warp-lightning cannon, try to destroy it with fast cavalry, bring down the doomwheel and abomination and then just evade.
Easy, right?

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 Pegasus: BSB, Great Weapon, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Talisman of
Preservation, Charmed Shield, 209
Master on Dark Peagasus: Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Shield, Sword of Might, Potion
of Strength, Dragonbane Gem, 177
2x 5 Dark Riders: Musician, Champion, Shields, Crossbows, 120
20 Dreadspears: FCG, 210
10 Witch Elves: FCG, Banner of Eternal Flame, 150
2x 10 Har Ganeth Executioners: Musician, 130
4x Reaper Bolt Thrower, 70
5 Harpies: 75
5 Shades: Additional Hand Weapons, 90
5 Doomfire Warlocks, 125

Skaven:
Grey Seer on Screaming Bell: General, Lvl4, Ruin/Plague, Power Scroll, Skalm, Dragonbane
Gem, 510
Chieftain: BSB, Standard of Discipline, Shield, 87
Assassin: Weeping Blade, Potion of Strength, 170
Warlock Engineer: Lvl1, Ruin, Dispel Scroll, 90
Warlock Engineer: Lvl1, Ruin, Warp-Energy Condenser, 85
40 Stormvermin: FCG, Storm Banner, 355
3x 40 Skavenslaves: Champion, Musician, 86
2x 5 Giant Rats: 1 Packmasters, 23
3x 6 Gutter Runners: Poisoned Attacks, Sling, 108
Doomwheel: 150
Hellpit Abomination: 235
Warp-lightning Warp Cannon: 90

Deployment

Image

Let me first apologize that I have no photo of the deployment and therefore am by no means sure where the warlocks were starting.
I did not want to give away too early that I was actually not going to fight. Therefore, while my heroes and infantry clustered behind the large impassable terrain I had several units on the eastern flank, too, threatening with a combined charge.
Dark riders garrisoned the wall with a vanguard. They were probably in range of some slaves but I thought the chance for a successful charge was so small it was worth it.
The Skaven formed a tight formation around the general; the only decision that surprised me somewhat was how far to the flank the abomination went.

Lost Colony, Turn 1

Image

Having got the first turn, I jumped right into action. The dark rides crossed the wall (for no casualties, luckily) and threatened the warp-lightning cannon as this was pretty much the only real threat for my heroes (well, I would have not liked an abomination to run into them, either, but this can be easily avoided with their speed). As I wanted to get rid of the doomwheel, too, I prepared everything I could have to shoot it. Otherwise, I was staying back.
I indeed managed to doombolt some wounds off the doomwheel. I tried a comet I think that got dispelled. In addition, I succeeded in putting a wound on the cannon.

Skaven, Turn 1


Image

Doomwheel, abomination, bell and two slave units moved forwards at full speed. However, the cannon had to move in order to prevent my charge and the remaining slaves had to stay back and protect it.
Then I started to understand why Skaven magic is so feared. A free scorch from the bell (small template with S3 I think) followed by a spam of lightning bolts (D6 S4 or something, D6+2 in case of one engineer) and additional scorch for good measure, with the constant threat of the dreaded 13th mean a good barrage. It was enough to kill four warlocks, forcing the remaining one to flee. This was of dire consequences because from this point on, my only spell to be feared was the comet so my opponent was just saving all his dice for it.

Lost Colony, Turn 2

Image

The storm banner was declared.
The dark rides chasing cannon could not charge, and so they swoop around the slaves and parked one inch in front of the cannon. They lacked the movement, however, to form a long line, and so they remained three wide. They tried to shoot the cannon again but without success, unsurprisingly.
Dreadlord joined the witch elves and together they were prepared to counter the abomination. This might have been a mistake as no sane Skaven would send his abomination against a flaming CoT dreadlord while if they stayed separated, I might have succeeded in luring it forwards. Hard to say.
I prepared everything to shoot at the doomwheel on the hill. However, due to the storm banner, no wounds were inflicted.
Otherwise, I remained more or less still. Magic did nothing significant. I pushed a unit of slaves further back with wind blast.

Skaven, Turn 2

Image

Bell unit plus one slave escort advanced towards me. The cannon guardians repositioned; this time, the cannon remained where it was. The remaining unit of slaves charged my warlock further away, thus creating some space for the doomwheel to try to get into my dark riders; luckily, it fell short. The abomination was cautious and closed to the centre. A unit of giant rats threatened my bolt thrower on the far west.
The cannon hit nothing (I think) but one unit of executioners got severely reduced with magic. The Skaven also got through a spell that inflicted a further -1 modifier to shooting.
Oh, and some gutter runners appeared behind my fast cavalry units; luckily, they shot no one as the storm banner was still in effect.

Lost Colony, Turn 3

Image

The raging of the skies continued.
It was not clear if my dark riders could have charged the cannon: they had little space between the table edge and the slaves unit but they only needed to wheel a tiny bit. In the end, we 4+ed it and I lost. Therefore, I circled with them around the slaves and tried a few more shots at the cannon. I lacked the movement to make a full sweep to the other side of the slaves.
I moved the harpies nearer to the centre through which the bell unit was nearing (on foot because of the storm banner) and advanced the eastern executioners a bit to threaten with a flank charge. I was not going to take it but I hoped it would slow down my opponent.
Eastern dark riders had no good place to escape the doomwheel and so they ran as far to the table edge as possible.
I also noticed a unit of giant rats was about to charge my bolt thrower and therefore, I placed my PoS master in their path. This was a risky move, however, because in this move I offered a nice target for the warp-lightning cannon.
As my shooting had a total of -3 to hit before accounting for movement, long range and cover, I killed nothing. I managed to push a unit of slaves back with wind blast again, though, and discovered a use I have not anticipated before: the strategic importance of this spell was low (though not negligible) but it did annoy my opponent who had to shuffle his million models in a strange direction.

Skaven, Turn 3

Image

This is where my photos end. I think the effect of storm banner might have ceased here as well but I remember it was remaining in play for a really long time so it might have ended later too.
My opponent was probably feeling sorry for me – this is the only explanation I can offer for him charging my pegasus master with his giant rats.
His eastern slaves charged my shades who forgot caution and stayed too near. The doomwheel tried to reach my dark riders in the corner but failed.
Bell plus the slaves I was constantly pushing away advanced again. They were trying to maintain formation, though, and so the bell did not use all of his allowance.
Magic managed to kill scorch some more elves – the eastern executioners this time - and the bell might have destroyed a bolt thrower or two. Gutter runners were shooting at dark riders.

Turn 4 and onwards
After this, the battle went in a similar manner to the end. The bell was trying to reach me but without success. It was able to magic away several of my units, though. I was staying in my hiding place. Gutter runners shot down my dark riders eventually and my opponent retreated with abomination and doomwheel. In the last turn, I blocked the bell with harpies to protect my units from magic (because I was thus able to retreat out of his 24 inches reach).
In the end, he got several small units while I only killed the one unit of giant rats which resulted in a 5:15 loss.

After-battle thoughts
Well, this did not go as planned. On the other hand, what could I have done? :D
I am quite pleased with how I played the dark riders in the vicinity of cannon. It almost never got to fire, let alone fire at something important. It is a shame I was not able to charge but still, tying up a cannon and a slaves unit with one squad of dark riders is nice.
I feel I was – again – too rash with warlocks. There was no need to throw the doombolt from the first turn on. I should have probably circled around the hill to get cover from magic, used my power dice for a comet or maybe soulblight on the doomwheel – there were several units shooting that way, after all. There was enough time for doombolts in subsequent turns.
Another question is, should I have deployed more compactly and hidden everything behind the big impassable? It would have made it more difficult to grab points from me; on the other hands, my opponent would have been able to just race to me at full speed. This might have put me under a much bigger pressure; on the other hand, it might have forced him to make some mistakes. Maybe I would have been able to kill the abomination, for example. I think my approach was safer in the sense that it made a 20:0 very unlikely but at the same time, it made it very unlikely to achieve something close to a draw.
Alternatively, I could have tried something with the heroes. One single cannon is not that much, it could roll badly for strength and I have ward saves mostly so the risk might have been acceptable. On the other hand, what could I have achieved? As weird as it sounds, the abomination and doomwheel are probably the easiest points there. In addition, it should have been relatively easy to force the cannon protecting slaves to flee as they would have been steadfast on Ld 5. Then the cannon could go down… I would have tried something like this in a singles setting but as I was instructed to play as safe as possible, I let this possibility go.
Another option worth considering is if it was somehow possible to kill the bell with infantry only. I would have been risking only a small amount of points that way, points that were lost anyway due to all the magic. I might have at least killed a warlock engineer or two. Not that such a thing would have been easy to set up.
All in all, though, it was a fun game where we really played on the whole table. And my opponent was a pleasure to play, too, so it was surely a good way to end my first tournament.

Tournament wrap-up should come soon as this does not require me creating any diagrams but I do not want to promise anything. :)

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Last edited by Marchosias on Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:01 am
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Thanks for an interesting (as usual) report.
No particular comment.

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:26 am
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Thanks for the report.
Very hard to go into a battle with a mindset that you don't want to win, you can in effect become too defensive and this results in missing easy points that you would normally pick up and you end up struggling for even a draw.

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:06 am
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Edited the report to include army lists.

@Amboadine: well, I wanted to win, I just had to do it without any unnecessary risk. :D

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:19 am
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Marchosias wrote:
Edited the report to include army lists.

@Amboadine: well, I wanted to win, I just had to do it without any unnecessary risk. :D



Sorry, it read as if you were told not to win, just draw or a small loss :)

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:33 pm
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I always find Skaven a biatch :evil: A good skaven general has the tools to make our life very difficult.

Thanks for the report!

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:08 pm
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Great battle report - love the well presented maps and commentary. I used to play Skaven a lot when first flirting with Dark Elves and they're a tough army for us (I think!).

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Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:23 pm
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Good report!

In the NWL finals a month or so ago I played a similar skaven list, only he also had a plague furnace which never really saw action... But the way I took points from him was to combo my 2 fliers (regular master front, BSB flank) and 10 witches in the rear of the bell unit... I whittled down the stormvermin little by little, but I managed to kill almost all his regular characters, including BSB. Didnt get the grey seer though, and the bell of course just made them stick, but I won every combat round and only lost the regular master, and eventually I got the stormvermin below 25% for a reasonable win for me. Pegasus chars are pretty safe vs just S4 attacks, and the bell cant utilize its spells very well if stuck in melee. Of course, the doomwheel must be gone before any of this can be attempted.

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Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:45 am
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@ Thraundil: I was quite afraid of the weeping blade assassin, too. Causing D3 wounds, he can easily kill a pegasus character on his own. This would have hurt.
Next time (even in a team setting), I will probably just slam all the characters in the big unit and hope for the best. :) However, here the cautious approach paid off - see the next post. :)

@ T.D. and flatworldsedge: Well, it is a strange army. You basically only fear four models - abomination, doomwheel, bell, cannon. It should be possible to dispatch them quickly with all our mobility and mad charging skills. And all our units are experts at slaughtering massed infantry. Easier said than done, though. I will have to get some more games in. :)

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:12 am
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Team Tourney - evaluation
I have forgotten to mention how the rest of my team fared in the last battle so I am going to do it now:
Our captain met a vampire count who was instructed to go for a draw and succeeded much better than me so the battle yielded a quick 10:10. Our Orc player defeated their Empire 15:5, our WoC drawed their Beastman after being instructed to go for a draw and avoid the big blocks and our Ogre, killy as always, crushed their WoC 20:0.
In total, in an extremely leveled field where every point was important, we managed to score 254 points which was enough for the fourth place! This is a success we were really not expecting given that for me and Atonius (our WoC) this was the first two-day tournament ever but our Lizardman and Ogre played extremely well, our Orc stood his ground and luckily, we beginners were not able to send this all to vain.
It is also assuring that the third team scored 271 points, 17 more than us. This is a large enough margin that I do not have to feel bad we placed worse just because of my stupid mistakes. :)
One more interesting thing: The first team had 313 points, the second (the guys we played in our third battle 307. The maximum was 325 as every battle was capped at 65 points. In the winning team, there was a Daemons player who went 5x 20:0. Insane. A unit of 7 plague drones is apparently hard to win against...
Summed up, I had a great time and I owe big thanks to my captain who really did his homework, to the rest of our team for fighting it out to the last breath, to Rowena for painting so many nice models and supplying us with blue muffins, and last but not least, the organizers for putting this all together. I am already looking forward for the next season.

Performance evaluation
In total, I brought 27 points to my team in the course of five battles. This is not what I have hoped for; it is partly due to the fact that I often ate the matchup that would have been critical for someone while others were paired to smash and kill but still, I think something like fourty should have been possible. The blunder in the High Elves battle or the stupid loss of my BSB against Woodies stand out - avoiding those two mistakes could have easily granted me some eight points or maybe even more. On the other hand, I AM a novice player still so mistakes of this kind are kind of expected. :)

Let me now evaluate the army and the way I have used it.
Heavens sorceress: while she is versatile and has good spells both in combat and outside of it magic generally failed me, partly because of bad rolls for spells. Against Lizardmen, for example, I had the comet but not chain lightning - therefore, the comet was basically the only really destructive spell which my opponent easily stopped most of the time. Causing D6 S6 wounds to skinks is somewhat unsatisfying, as is harmonic convergence on bolt throwers hitting on 4s or 5s. To avoid this situation, she has to be supported well with a backup caster.
Warlocks: I am listing them now because in my army, they should mostly play the role of the aforementioned backup caster. They can also, depending on matchup, threaten terrorgheists for example but this role is usually secondary. Sadly, I only realized this after the tournament and was losing them too early. A combination of comet + doombolt, for example, is a considerable threat and thus solves the problem I mentioned earlier.
Ring of Hotek: never came in effect. Does it mean it is not necessary in my army or that all my opponents were too afraid to cast somewhere near me? Or that I failed to make it count because of bad positioning? I suspect it is a combination of all three factors.
Dark riders: they are awesome if used right. I wonder, however, if the crossbows are that strong. Hitting on 6s most of the time with S3, they rarely cause a lot of wounds. Those are core points, however, so I will keep them that way at least until I have enough models to fill the core requirements without crossbows, too.
Pegasus heroes: they are the backbone of this army, doing the most work and carrying many hard to get points. If against someone like woodies, they can operate separated, each one hunting a unit of his own; if against a large steadfast block, well, all three combined can easily kill ten models per combat round.
I still do not know if the sword of might is the best item possible. I could swap it for a ward save. It would limit my source of high strength attacks, though. Besides, having some magical sword helps immensely against ethereals and I kind of like the versatility of this fighter even if I rarely actually get to use the potion. Therefore, I lean towards a build with a cheap magical sword, OTS and potion of strength. Protection is for losers, after all. :)
Bolt throwers: hard hitting, hard to hide from. Sometimes they are utter crap but most of the time they are able to make a difference over time. This is helped by the fact that I tend to pick my combats carefully and dance around my opponent for quite a long time - some players may be in combat from turn 3 onwards but it is not my case. The reapers are probably not an auto-include but they can be useful against any opponent, thinning hordes or archer units or scaring monsters away. Given how difficult it is for me to defeat armoured opponents, they surely have a place in my list.
Spearmen: as a sorceress burker they are nice. In addition, they can protect a pegasus hero from shooting and some spells and in doing this form a combined unit with good damage potential and some ranks. As long as I have a foot sorceress (which might easily be a necessity both due to comp and available model range) they have probably an important role in my army even though they rarely actually do anything. I kind of miss the wildform here. Soulblight is a good alternative but it does not help against armour.
Witches: love the girls. They did not do that much but they pose a significant threat for a wide range of enemies. The question is if i should not make them cheaper by throwing out the champion - or contrarily, if I should rather beef them up somewhat. With the magical banner, they are quite expensive for their fragility.
Executioners: Probably the unit that is hardest to use in my list as there are so many enemies that would smash them terribly. The only meaningful action they managed in all five games was providing pegasus heroes with cover. It might be possible to swap them for more heroes or more cavalry for example (though not under ETC 2015 draft 0) but again, as long as I have a foot sorceress and thus a spearmen bunker, some sacrificial units guarding its flanks can be worth their points - and here we are speaking about sacrificial units that in addition provide S6 KB attacks. If I faced Bretonnia or high armour Empire for example they would have been of much bigger importance suddenly. It is possible they would be underwhelming in those matchups as well; should this be the case, they can be swapped for some more shades for example.
Harpies and shades: Not much to say. Very strong if used well (like in the game against dwarfs), wasted points if used badly (like against High Elves). Their low performance is my fault, not theirs, though, so they are receiving good marks.

So, summed up, I m relatively content with my army. The only big downside I see is that it punishes every mistake heavily which is true for any MSU force. I would still consider the following changes, though:
- switching spearmen for crossbows - not possible with the models available to me but crossbows are not a worse bunker than spearmen
- experimenting with another lore - Heavens is nice but there might be other possibilities as well (light perhaps, to make the infantry move manoeuverable? Really not sure about this.)
- reworking the PoS master to accomodate the other tricksters shard. Not sure if he then should have a lance for high strength charging or some cheap magical sword as a counter to ethereals. They are not that common but when they show up they hurt.
- maybe swapping executioners for more shades
Otherwise, the army feels relatively balanced. And it works under the new ETC draft, too. It is a wild guess but it seems to me that an army similar to this is one of the better ways how to play a pegasus-heavy army under this new comp. (Somehow I feel that while big units of dark riders are cool you need some small ones too - a unit with 10 DR hardly squeezes in a deployment gap to get to warmachines.)

Looking ahead
I grow more and more lazy to prepare diagrams to illutrate battles so I do not want to promise anything but still, there are some things to look forward to:
First, after this team tournament, I have fought a small number of battles and I already have reports from some of them. I will post them up in the following days. There will be a phoenix guard block led by an anointed, a blood knight deathstar and a dragon sorceress!
I have also, using Universal Battles, tried out a COK death star. Those reports are going to be short but better then nothing.
This weekend, I am hoping to atend a small tournament with 2600 points, 50% lords and heroes and comped lore of undead. A perfect place to test a pegasus spam.
Then, I would like to toy a bit with a dragon sorceress. A mounted sorceress is not comped so this is a way to bring an additional powerful flying fighter to the board. Of course, one has to be quite careful with this model and it eats up many lord points so it might prove inefficient but this is why testing is in order. In addition, I would like to explore the COK bus concept some more - we will see if I can borrow the models somewhere. And it could be fun to try out a bowline with four reapers and two scourgerunners...
Given time constraints, this should make me busy till April at least.

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:27 am
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The guy I played also had an assassin there... I am not as concerned about him. Sure, weeping blade hurts. But he strikes at S4, or S7 if he pops the potion. No rerolls to hit. Theres still both armor and ward saves. He will kill one character, then likely afterwards. If you can pick up everything from his unit at the cost of one master, its still worthwhile.

How will your list change with the 'newest' ETC draft?

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:34 am
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Congratz extended rightfully to Rowena, if her talent includes blue muffins!

DR's RXB are not to be expected to achieve much, the cost per successful shot is prohibitive.
Like most shooting, the potential shot is more important than the actual shot. With them riding around, no weak spell caster is safe out of a babysitting unit, where your melee units threaten them.
Also, sometimes it is enough to catch the lone survivor of a large unit, who denies your legitimate VP by his annoying survival.

Spearmen are great if you need their ranks to help a melee. Otherwise, you will enjoy more RXBmen with shields and FC.

Dragonsorc is a Dark Elf delicacy. As it is not obvious to play, it requires finesse, but it is told to be very enjoyable.

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:14 pm
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@ Thraundil: My list is legal under the ETC 2015 draft 0 so there is no immediate need for a change. Well, I should probably include more banners somehow but this should be rather easy I hope. The question is what tools will I need to prevail in the new meta - but it is too soon to tell given that I have no idea what the new meta is. :) This is one of the reasons why I want to experiment with wacky ideas first before deciding what my new approach is going to be. I do not plan to attend any important tournaments before the new season of the team tourney I have just finished reporting about so I have plenty of time.
In general, I feel that right now I rather need to broaden my understanding of the game than mastering a given list. This I will achieve better by fielding varied lists against many different opponents.

@ Calisson: True, and in addition, they can ping off charmed shields. Still, their impact is limited so I am going to watch them some more.
The spearmen are nice if they do not babysit the sorceress and are free to go into combat. With a sorceress in them, though, they can only be thrown into extremely one-sided combats. I have used them without the foot sorceress a few times and suddenly, I was willing to be active with them and they did a nice job. So my current preferences would be:
foot sorc -> crossbows
mounted sorc -> spears

And the dragon sorceress... well, I have only fielded her twice but it was indeed great fun. I am just worried about certain matchups such as dwarfs or wood elves. I will have to try it out first, though.

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:21 pm
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Great write up and analysis of your performance and of various aspects of the list.
Have thoroughly enjoyed all the reports from this tourney.

I think Calisson has summed up the DR rxb perfectly with the 'potential shot' threat, mine tend to do little real damage turn on turn but the threat is still real so I persist with rxbs on at least two units.

Painting, converting and baking. Rowena seems like the perfect girl :)

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:23 pm
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:oops: :oops: :oops: thanks for all the compliments and a huge thank you for Marchosias for writing all of these battles up. :)
And I enjoyed baking the blue muffins, so I'll definitely do it again next year, maybe then other team members will be warned in advance and will take some. Not that I minded too much - more muffins for us and i enjoy eating them as well as baking - but they were meant for the team...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the following reports, especially as I didn't see many of the battles. :)

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Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:35 pm
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So, I have not played many games after the team tourney but I did play some and in some cases, I have prepared the reports in advance. This is one of the battles, fought in early July:

Lost Colony vs. High Elves (2750)

Lost Colony:

Dreadlord, Pegasus, black amulet, TOTS, dragonhelm, great weapon: 295
Supreme Sorceress, lvl 4 heavens, ring of hotek, dispel scroll: 295 -> 590

Master, Pegasus, sword of might, potion of strength, dragonbane gem, charmed shield: 179
Master BSB, Pegasus, lance, cloak of twilight: 213 -> 390

20 spearmen, FCG, gleaming pennant: 215
10 witch elves, FCG, banner of eternal flame: 150
10 witch elves, musician: 120
2x 5 dark riders, musician: 2x 110 -> 705

2x 10 executioners, musician: 2x 130
5 shades, ahw: 90
4x repeater bolt thrower: 280 -> 630

2x bloodwrack medusa: 2x 90
2x 5 warlocks: 2x 125 -> 430


As I was unsure what I actually wanted to play on this point level I basically just took my ETC list and added a few elements. What is notable:
The equipment of heroes got reworked. I wanted to try out the black amulet dreadlord as he allegedly is a very good answer to vampire lords and demon princes and can do solid damage to other targets as well. But I did not want to lose cloak of twilight altogether as the mad charging skills it provides are just superb; in addition, I really like the utility of my PoS master. Therefore, cloak went to the BSB. This changed the dynamics of my heroes slightly: my best tank is now the dreadlord and both BSB and PoS master are quite vulnerable in a grind. If this does not work I will come up with something else – an interesting possibility could be a dreadlord with dawnstone, armour of destiny and OTS: 1+ rerollable, 4++ is as much durability as one could get while playing dark elves, he still keeps his punch and the 4++ can be the black amulet again for some additional surprise.
The medusas are back! There are no harpies in turn which is a shame but I thought I have enough fast units and need something that would actually do some work. If I want to go friendlier I could swap one unit of warlocks for them.
The spearmen finally have gleaming pennant. For a pegasus BSB it is hard to always stay in range for rerolls and this mitigates the danger of losing my sorceress to one cheap leadership test.

High Elves (from memory):

Anointed of Asuryan, crown of command, ogre blade
archmage, lvl 4 shadow, khaine's ring of fury, some ward

Noble, BOTWD
mage, lvl 2 high, scroll, ruby ring of ruin

22 lothern sea guards, FCG
3x 5 elyrian reavers, bows
10 archers, musician

26 phoenix guards, FCG, razor banner

6 sisters of averlorn
2 bolt throwers
Frostheart phoenix
Flamesphyre phoenix

As you can see, this army is basically harmless. :D My opponent does not own a lot of models which is the only reason the sea guard got into the list. He has a nice shooting base, though, and advancing towards it is complicated by the two birds so I was not that confident.

Spells:
Archmage: miasma, enfeebling, pit of shades, mindrazor
Mage: drain magic, soul quench
Supreme sorceress: blizzard, curse of the midnight wind, comet, chain lightning

The game

He imitated a dwarf (shame on him) and bunkered in a corner. On the other flank, there was only his phoenix hiding behind a hill. The shooters were so small that they could fit in the gaps between sea guard, phoenix guard and board edges quite neatly; advancing against them would lead to a counteraction by one of those blocks.

I in turn deployed centrally, with only one bolt thrower opposing his castle; this was meant to reduce the amount of arrows flying my way in the opening turns. Actually, first turn or two he had no good targets for shooting so I was successful in this regard at least.

The flamesphyre phoenix parked right behind an impassable terrain in the middle, hidden from my units but close enough to fly over them and return to his hiding place. I was eventually able to encircle it and force it to retreat but it cost me some time. I was reluctant to advance at full speed as the bird would have just flown over my line – on the other hand, this would have exposed it to bolt thrower fire so maybe it was an option after all.

His frostheart phoenix was initially hiding behind the hill. Then it flew out, hoping to eat some bolt throwers; but my artillery barrage inflicted four wounds on it in one turn and so it returned back to its hiding place. There it remained until a lucky shot from a dark rider or shade finished it off.

My medusas were assigned bolt thrower protection duty which they performed well; my opponent only destroyed one of the warmachines, the one on a hill right across his corner, and had to spend insane amounts of arrows on it as the girls blocked all charges. After this, I tried to screen my witches with them which did not work as the medusas were first shot down by sisters and then the sea guard had free aim. I am not sure if sisters were in range of witches as well – if they were then the death of my medusas still helped with something.

In the first turn, my magic achieved nothing. Failing to cast a comet on three dice ruins some plans. Then the comet got through, however, and killed all sisters and all but one archer. As I at the same time destroyed a bolt thrower with small arms fire, I was suddenly able to proceed forwards.

Even better, in an attempt to escape the comet, my opponent reformed his phoenix guard two-wide. This showed me for certain that one of his characters had the crown of command; and because I already knew about the ruby ring the only option was the anointed. Seeing this I changed my plans – originally I wanted to redirect the phoenix guard and kill everything else but as they were this vulnerable, I decided to go for the bigger prize. Therefore, I moved my BSB and warlocks close to the phoenix guard's sides, making reforms in a more reasonable formation impossible, and the remaining two characters prepared for a charge. He could have only changed the position of his characters and he could have turned left to get into two rows instead of two columns but he would have still stayed in a forest so no steadfast no matter what.

Somewhere at this point I was able to kill the flamesphyre phoenix and the other bolt thrower with a well-placed chain lightning.

Then the big charge came – two pegasus characters (dreadlord and PoS master) against 20 phoenix guards led by an anointed! Here my opponent made a mistake by calling a challenge with his general – I accepted with mine, killed him without being scratched (one wound got reflected), killed the mage with my PoS master, won by a ton and made the unit flee. If he challenged with a champion I would have to try killing the anointed with my master instead who had a far slimmer chance of doing this (the master was in base contact with his characters, the dreadlord was not).

And then his footsloggers were able to outrun two swiftstride pegasus riders. In his turn, they naturally rallied and reformed into a reasonable formation. 450 points slipped under my fingers just with a single bad roll. On the other hand, it was a very bold move to charge as the PoS master is actually not likely to kill the anointed at all and my opponent would have tried to bombard the combat with insane amounts of magic the same as I did. Drain magic, miasma, enfeebling and mindrazor would have been very difficult to prioritize.

Simultaneously with this big charge I also sent warlocks in the flank of the sea guard. I thought that they should have been able to hold them in place for two combat phases after which my witches would have come to help and cut the guard in pieces. It turned out I expected too much from my warlocks: they only killed a few and lost even the first round of combat due to ranks and two banners; in my opponent's turn, they broke from combat and were ran down (again, footsloggers were quicker than swiftstriders, oh well). I don't think this was a grave mistake, however: had I not done this, the sea guard would have shot at my witches and most probably finished them as there were only four remaining from one unit.

In the final turn, the flamesphyre phoenix got back to life. That cheater avoided me like Hudini!

I still won but with a far slimmer difference than I could have: the final result was a 12:8 in my favour.

After-battle thoughts:

I really liked this game. There was a lot happening: positioning battles of opposing flyers, shooting, magic, combats. I think my army worked rather well; maybe it would have been smarter to push more aggressively despite the flame phoenix but it turned out nicely. I like how I outplayed the phoenix guard – with as many fast units as I tend to field, blocking reforms is actually not that difficult (though, of course, charging in with two heroes only was quite bold).

It is just sad that I should have acquired some 700 points more for the phoenix and phoenix guard. This would have turned the game into a convincing victory. But oh well, things happen. Some rolls got heavily my way in turn – inflicting four wounds on a frost phoenix with three bolt throwers, for example – so I can hardly claim the dice were against me.

I think I did a mistake in deployment (though after half a year I am not really sure if I remember everything correctly). I placed the witches opposite his sea guard, out of range but otherwise as far forwards as possible. Therefore, once I decided to advance, he was able to shoot at them freely. I think maybe I should have put the spearmen more or less opposite the sea guard instead and witches behind. It would have been more difficult to get the witches in combat but there would have been some witches to send there in the first place. Worth considering next time.

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Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:19 pm
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Yes, this was a great battle. Fun to watch as well and I remember that tricky phoenix.

I would also like to add that this was the grand finale of a "competition of independent players" based just on getting the most points (by accumulating games with other participants, victories if possible). I hope I make sense. :D
If I recall correctly there was almost no difference between Marchosias and the HE player and a huge gap between them and everyone else and a week of racing to get more battles from both of them ended by this "apocalyptic" finale. Quite a fitting game, I would say, and I liked that it was between us and high elves. While the most hated enemy of out Lost colony is Chaos, there is no one else we want to impress more than our prideful cousins of Ulthuan.

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Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:37 pm
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Well, if Rowena mentioned this, I will maybe try to explain in more detail.

The competition was originally called just "League". Then the main organizer got married, had no time to make it happen anymore... so it is a Free League now. :D
Each season lasts for several months and you try to arrange battles with other participants, using any format you agree on, with no limit on how many battles you are allowed to fight. Victory nets three points, draw two and defeat one; draw in this context means a 12:8 or a smaller difference. So the system rewards activity: if you lose ten battles you will take a better place than someone winning three.

In the spring season, I was competing for the first place with Majkol, the High Elf player from the last report. I think that some three days before the end, we both had 7 battles and 16 points. We both managed to schedule one more game (at the same day, against the same opponent :D - I fought out a draw while Majkol won). Well, I still had some time to arrange one more battle and earn more points. But then we decided that instead of racing who can schedule more battles, we will rather fight a grand finale - and this is the last game I posted.
You might have noticed that before the game started, Majkol was one point ahead. This meant that I needed to get a win. For a while, I really thought I might have achieved it - but no, while I was some 20 points from winning 13:7 it was still a 12:8 which is under the rules of the Leage counted as a draw. This makes the rebirth of the phoenix even more hilarious than it would have been under normal circumstances. So a second place it was.

I also won the best novice and the best reporter awards, though. :)

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Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:22 pm
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