Friday, August 13, 2010

Fantasy Tournament: Dogs of War vs Dwarfs (Game 2)

Hello all, Slick here with a summary of my game 2 match vs Dwarfs in our recent 8th ed tournament.

Going into the game I kept reminding myself that Dwarfs can actually get off charges in 8th and it would be best to not underestimate them. I ended up playing against one of my favorite local players. We've had several battles in the past so I was eager to see how things turned out in the new rules. Our scenario for game 2 was the Dawn Attack scenario which ended up having quit a large effect on how the game played out as virtually all of our units were deployed on the flanks and only 1-2 in the middle on both sides. My left flank had my large xbow unit, the center had a unit of duellists and the Marksmen and the right had the Leopards who deployed in a forest as well as the cannon and the other duellists. My opponent took a quite shooty army with 2 bolt throwers, a stone thrower, 2x10 xbows, 19 warriors, a runepriest, and 5 miners. My opponent ended up rolling a 6 and so he got the first turn which gave him a chance to do some serious damage with shooting. My right flank was facing xbows, warriors, and a stone thrower. His bolt throwers really didn't have any good angles the entire game and basically just nipped off an xbowmen or duellist a turn. The left flank saw my big xbow unit running up the flank to hopefully charge into his concealed bolt thrower. His turn was saw the stone thrower hit the pikes (rune of rerolling scatter is evil), taking out 3. His xbows killed another despite long range and me being in the woods. His warriors advanced toward the Leopards. I was hoping to have enough left alive to eventually fight them at this rate.

For this game I had taken Lore of Metal. Everyone had forgotten that you choose your lore while making your army which is a major change and really requires you to consider how you want to use magic in your army. I ended up getting Glittering Robe and Enchanted Blades of Aiban, which proved to actually make a significant difference in the performance of the pikes this game. My first turn saw the big xbow unit racing up the left flank, the Marksmen advancing left-center (they really got shafted by the deployment). Both my duellist units raced to a hill on my right-center to seek cover from the stone thrower and to intercept an advancing dwarf xbow unit. The pikes advance through the forest and to the left hoping to cut off the dwarf warriors a bit while still staying in cover. Magic proved fairly powerful and I cast Glittering Robe on the Leopards which gave them a solid 4+ save. The duellists, the Leopard Company captain and the Paymaster took potshots with their pistols at the Dwarf warriors and dropped 2 of them. My cannon was hoping to take out the stone thrower but stuck in the ground an inch in front of it!

His turn two featured more advancing and a little more shooting with the stone thrower thankfully scattering off the pikes. The xbows again managed to hit 2 Leopard company but I made 1 of their saves! Scaly skin ftw! He had marched his one xbow unit to the top of the hill, presumably to shoot down into my Leopards and duellists but this would prove to be a bad move. His miners also failed to show up. My turn two saw both duellist units take out 7/10 of the xbows but they passed the panic test. I had buffed one of the duellist units with the Enchanted Blades which was pretty damn cool. My xbows advanced as did the Marksmen. Their goal for the game was to get in range of a bolt thrower and hopefully kill off the crew (which they very nearly did!). My cannon decided it was a good time to try out the new and improved grapeshot and I rolled an 8, and killed as many warriors! They did not panic however.

His turn 3 saw the miners arrive behind my big xbows as expected. His dwarf warrios decided to charge my duellist unit rather than the pikes which was really the tactical blunder that cost him the game. The deuellists fled and his charge wasn't enough to catch them so they ended up moving just far enough to present a perfect flank charge for the Leopards! The duellists later rallied and then found a good place to hide. Despite that, I was worried after their lackluster performance in game 1. My big xbows reformed so as not to face a rear-charge. The Marksmen moved into range of one of the bolt throwers. The Leopards declared their charge and with a loud battle shout charged out of the woods into the Dwarf flank! They ended up rolling 11 on the charge which easily got me to the Dwarfs. To help the Leopards out I buffed them with both spells, giving them +1 to hit and scaly skin again! My cannon decided it was a good time to misfire but thankfully it would be ready again next turn. The duellists blasted the remaining xbows and wiped them out. In combat the pikes took out 6 dwarfs off of 11 hits with the captain taking out 2 by himself. His runepriest decided to challenge and so the paymaster stepped up to the plate and killed off the rune priest who rolled snake eyes for his saves! The warriors in turn knocked off 2 pikemen despite the 4+ save. Nevertheless I had racked up enough combat resolution to force him to test on insane courage which he did not get. The dwarfs ran and were caught by the Leopards! Their pursuit however put them in a really terrible position as they were up against the lip of the hill which had a tower on the second level (impassable). They were now wide open for the stone thrower.

His turn 4 saw the miners charge the xbows who did not have time to stand and shoot. The miners killed about 4 xbowmen, losing none in return. The xbows apparently had had enough and promptly fled with the dwarfs in hot pursuit. His bolt throwers picked off a few random duellists. The stone thrower landed dead center on the pikes killing 7 Leopard Company. The scaly skin save prevented this shot from wiping out the whole unit right then and there.

My turn 4 saw the one duellist unit move down the other side of the hill and head towards the stone thrower. The Leopards adjust their position and started to walk around the back of the hill to hopefully get out of the LoS of the stone thrower soon. My big xbows rallied and checking the battlefield I saw an opportunity for a long range flank shot on the miners to hopefully give the xbows a chance. The shot took out 3/5 of the miners who of course did not panic. In the magic phase I had buffed the Marksmen giving them +1 to hit. This was so successful that it may become a major combo piece for my army in the future. BS4, +1 to hit and armor piercing for the Dogs of War is really amazing. It was a costly spell though as it was IF and my wizard took a wound. The result though was that the Marksmen shooting at the bolt thrower took out 3/4 crew (engineer was there) and even put 2 wounds no the machine! Against RnF troops I can see this turning the Marksmen into a real menace. My cannon crew decided it was time to earn their pay and got a perfect shot on the stone thrower landing on the machine and rolling a 6 on the number of wounds!

His turn 5 saw the miners again charge the xbows. His 2 miners killed 2 xbows while I failed to kill either of the miners in return (very frustrating). The xbows run and are chased down by 2 miners! Still having an outnumber bonus for combat res would have been nice... He had no more combat troops and so was only able to take a few more pot shots at my units taking off a duellist and a Marksman. My turn 5 saw the Marksmen finish off the miners while the duellists ended the threat of the previously damaged bolt thrower. I decided not to risk shooting with my cannon as it could only have killed 2/10 xbows (not enough to panic them) - no need to risk blowing it up and giving away free VPs in a close game. The game ended and it turned out to be a good victory for the Dogs. The loss of the warriors and his general in combat really tipped the game in my favor. Still, his shooting was brutal, taking a heavy toll. Deployment really made for a wacky but fun game. This scenario really forces you to make the best out of potentially bad situations.

Lessons Learned:
  • Lore of metal is really good!
  • These two buff spells (Robes and Blades) really provided a stimulus for rethinking my approach to the Dogs. I will most likely be retiring the Leopards for the time being and switching to Ricco's as their heavy armor combined with the 5+ scaly skin will make for 3+ save pikes. They still will not be a center unit for me. There are in fact so many useful targets for the scaly skin spell in our army. It really annoys me now that we can no longer use Maneaters --- can you imagine a 3+ armor save unit of these guys?
  • The Blades spell as mentioned above is simply awesome! Whether you're buffing shooting or combat units this is really a powerful tool for us. It makes mediocre units good and good units great. S5 armor piercing marauders? Yes please. 30" armor piercing xbows? You bet!
  • Deployment wins battles. As I mentioned above, this scenario can really mess up your 'regular' deployment style. Working with the limitations imposed upon you by the deployment in this scenario really forces you to plan out the battle several steps in advance. This is another phase of the game that really requires some skill and will help level the playing field vs stronger armies and/or opponents.
  • Once again, duellists are so good now!
  • D6 wounds with cannons is a big step up in power for us.
  • The new grapeshot is really good imo.
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