Monday, August 9, 2010

Fantasy Tournament: Dogs of War vs Demons (Game 1)

Hello all, Slick here. Today I'd like to provide a recap from our recent premiere 8th Edition Fantasy Tournament. There was a good mix of old and new players and everyone was still in the process of learning the ins and outs of 8th! I decided to take my Dogs of War although I was pretty uncertain about how they would perform in the new edition and the fact that I haven't had any practice games with the new edition prior to the event itself.

Round 1 vs Chaos Demons - Demons are always a tough match. My opponent had a Tzeentch herald and a small horror unit, a fairly big unit of bloodletters, and a smaller unit of daemonettes with a herald, and a unit of fleshounds. I was running a big unit of xbows, the Marksmen of Miragliano, a big unit of Leopard Company, 2x units of duellists, a cannon, paymaster and a lvl2 wizard as the general. Deployment was fairly straightforward and I did have a nice hill to setup on near the center. Turn 1 saw some extremely good results in the magic phase. The one thing I noticed playing these three tournament games was that even 1 wizard can cause a great deal of damage now! I decided to use lore of light against the demons and I managed to get a boosted version of a damage spell (can't recall the name right now) which my opponent failed to dispel. The spell ripped up 9 of the 12 daemonettes as the spell required my opponent to re-roll successful ward saves :) Shooting saw me concentrate my big unit of xbows at the remains of the daemonettes, wiping all but the herald out! My cannon rolled through the horror unit but the tzeentch herald jumped out the way and instead 2 horrors died. The Leopard company and duellists both advanced during the turn with both duellist units making use of woods to stay out of charge arcs or LoS for spells.

In his turn he advanced with everything and decided to blast away with a few spells, taking out 4 of the xbows. The flesh hounds were coming in on my right flank and I would either have to face the bloodletters or them head on while getting flanked by the other. Shooting needed to thin one of the out as much as possible. He moved his solo slaanesh herald to join the bloodletters (a mistake which we didn't catch until late but no big deal). We were both still in the mindset of 7th ed, thinking that units charged double their move value which really takes some effort to rid yourself of.

My turn 2 sees both duellists advance, the left flank duellists advance for shots on the horrors while the right flankers move to block the hounds through the woods. My wizard angles for better sight of the bloodletters. The Leopard Company advance more to the bloodletters. Magic proves effective again with my wizard putting a wound on the fleshounds and taking off a couple of bloodletters. My cannon burned through a fleshound as well. The xbows tore into the horrors and bloodletters dropping a fair number of them. The duellists also accounted for a horror. The new longer range of pistols is AWESOME! His turn 2 saw some more advancing. His magic picked off a few Leopard Company and a few of the duellists in front of the horrors. Thankfully they didn't panic. His hounds advanced to within likely charge range of the Leopards. Here I made a mistake as on my turn 3 I moved my duellists alongside the hounds to take shots at them when I should have moved in front of the hounds so that they would have to charge the duellists in order to prevent the flank charge on the pikes. My turn 3 saw the Leopards charge the bloodletters. Magic wasn't too effective this round as I only had a few power dice. I did put another wound on a flesh hound luckily, leaving 3 remaining. Shooting saw my cannon explode. The xbows put another wound on the hounds while the Marksmen and duellists dropped the horror unit enough to negate their wizard status.

Combat was pretty brutal with the pikes only dropping 2 bloodletters, while the Paymaster and Captain dropped 3 more. The bloodletters in turn savaged the pikes dropping something like 7 but thanks to my bonuses I won this round and he lost a few more demons. The tournament provided some interesting insight into pikemen usage in 8th which I will discuss at a later time. They definitely cannot perform in the center anymore. I think my dismal rolling helped this along but still, they just didn't have the staying power as we will quickly see. On his turn he manages to get the flank charge off with the hounds. His magic phase saw the loss of a few Marksmen and thankfully I blocked his attempt at my duellists. Combat was extremely bloody (Khorne get it?). I lost all but my front rank of pikes who did kill a bloodletter. The Paymaster finally took out the Slaanesh herald with a mighty swing from the Sword of Power, sending her back to Slaaneshi heaven. The captain also killed off the bloodletter champion. Despite these heroics, I broke and was caught. Thankfully, none of my units panicked at the loss of the paymaster.

My turn 4 saw the xbows blast the remaining flesh hounds. My flanking duellists on the right moved back to the center to help support. My wizard got off a spell which dropped another horror. My duellists sensed it was the right time and charged the horrors passing their fear check, eager to extract some payback for the loss of the Paymaster. The Marksmen reformed to face the remaining khorne units. Combat was pretty quick as the duellists cut the horrors to pieces. The tzeentch herald whiffed and then subsequently popped. His turn 4 saw the bloodletters charge the xbows who killed a few on the S&S. The bloodletters dropped like 8 xbows although the xbows struck down 3 bloodletters in return. Essentially they fought as well as the pikes. The xbows broke from combat but managed to elude the bloodletters who were now within short range of the newly reformed Marksmen. My turn 5 saw the big xbows rally. both duellist units moved up to unload into the bloodletters. The wizard again found the winds of magic favorable and blasted the bloodletters with 2 spells this turn. He got irresistible force on both spells, but luckily only put a single wound on himself. The Marksmen finished off the job wiping the last of the Daemons off the board.

Whew! That was a tough game. We were both surprised at how much damage a single wizard can do as both the herald and my wizard were dishing out some serious spells the entire game. I think the only thing really hurting my opponent was his overall lack of experience playing. He scored some big points by wiping out the pikes and paymaster. I think he was a bit timid in advancing, forgetting that charge ranges are generally much further in this edition which gave me an extra turn to thin his numbers out. Getting lucky the first turn and wiping the Daemonettes off the board also really put me in a position to compete in this game as there is absolutely no way the pikes could have withstood his 3 combat units. I was fortunate to beat him though, as he went on to get massacres in his next to games. He would have in fact won the tournament were it not for his unpainted army. A great opponent all around, who took losses in stride. A good learning game for both of us.

Lessons Learned
  • Lore of Light helps level the playing field against Daemons
  • Pikes cannot function in the center of the battlefield anymore
  • Duellists are even better than before - I might build another unit in fact
  • Magic - is deadly even with just one wizard, but still more balanced than before
  • The new spells are all excellent and the revamped lores, boosting spells, signature spells, and lore features make the magic phase far deeper than ever before
  • No longer having to guess with cannons is just plain evil :)
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