Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fantasy Tournament: Dogs of War vs Empire (Game 3)

Hello all, Slick here. Today I am going to add a recount of the final game from the Fantasy tournament where the Dogs of War took home the top spot. I knew that after winning the first two games I would be playing one of the other two top players. I ended up being paired against Empire. His army list featured quite a few troops. I was definitely going to be outnumbered. His list was something like the following:

Lvl 2 Wizard
Captain on a warhorse
6 Knights + FC
2 large blocks of infantry: Spearmen and Halberdiers
Each infantry block had detachments

Deployment for this battle was diagonal. He put all of his infantry on one flank while the mortar was in the middle with a commanding view of the battlefield. His archers were up on a small hill on the other side of the table along with the unit of knights + captain. I deployed my duellists close to where his knights were, my x-bows were arranged along the center and my pikes were on the flank, hoping to somehow beat over 40 empire troops. To support them, my other duellist unit deployed in a forest on this flank hoping to get through it quickly and march block his troops so that the pikes could at least get a one on one battle. My cannon was deploy towards the center of my line at the edge of another forest. Although I should have gone first, my opponent ended up stealing the first turn and promptly ended up declaring a charge against the duellists with his knights. After debating the stand & shoot I decided to flee and came within an inch of the duellists running off the table! Not a good beginning. The failed charge brought his knights past the hill his archers were holding (this will be important on my turn). His mortar and archers kill off a few x-bows and marksmen. His magic phase was uneventful.

My pikes advance along the flank, moving onto a low hill, edging along the forest my other duellists were advancing through. Checking the angles, I reform the marksmen so that my cannon now has a clear flank shot on his knight unit led by the captain. My duellists rally at the table edge. My magic phase saw a fireball blast apart a few spearmen. I opened my shooting phase with a cannon shot against his knights. The ball lands just in front of the knights and then bounces the full 10 inches! All of his knights and the captain die! This was the shot of the tournament and it took my opponent a good minute or two to pick his jaw up off of the table. He had lost nearly a third of his points with that unit and this left only his archers on that side of the board.

His second turn sees his mortar scatter off and his magic killed a pikeman. His infantry blocks advanced toward my pikemen with a spearmen unit making a successful charge against them. He decided to buff his wizard with the flaming sword. Shooting saw the archers kill 2 duellists. In combat my pikes ended up killing about 12 spearmen altogether and the paymaster eliminated his wizard while taking a wound in return. I ended up losing about 5 pikes in return. He broke from combat and I pursued and caught the spearmen. My turn saw the duellists advance to be able to shoot the archers as well as the xbows move up to support that attack. My cannon tried a shot at the morter and stuck in the ground 1 inch before the machine. The duellists killed off two archers while the other duellist unit shot up a detachment which promptly panicked and fled off the board. I decided to be proactive and charge with the pikes against a detachment. The detachment held, were wiped out, and I overran into his big block of halberdiers. The halberdier detachment then got the flank of the pikes. This was making the best of a bad situation as he could have positioned himself to surround the pikes on three sides if left alone. The pikes hot streak cooled down as they only killed about 8 halberdiers total (including attacks from the captain and paymaster!). In return the pikes lost another 7 but altogether combat ended up as a draw (lucky for me).

His third turn saw the mortar misfire and explode! His archers killed a duellist. Combat saw the pikes get bloodied further with only a few more halberdiers being killed. This was finally too much for the Leopards and they promptly fled through the woods with a lot of angry empire soldiers in pursuit. My turn saw the x-bows and duellists kill 8 archers who did not panic. The pikes continued to run through the forest. My wizard blasted his halberdier detachment while my other duellists put a few more shots into his big halberd block, killing 2. His fourth turn saw the infantry blocks charge the pikes who fled further, emerging the forest near the xbows. His archers whiffed. My next turn saw the archers finally eliminated, the pikes rally and a few more shots against the halberd blocks. Time was called and we tallied up points with a hard fought victory going to the Dogs!

With a massacre and two wins, plus good soft scores, the Dogs won the tournament by a comfortable margin.

Lessons learned:

The lessons from game 2 and really the entire tournament were reinforced here. Pikes simply cannot compete as a main combat unit in 8th. It may seem counter-intuitive, but pikes (if used) will be best served as smaller units to hold flanks. In my opinion Pizarro's becomes the premier RoR pike unit now and they should be able to handle most opposing flankers. I really like the buff spell available from lore of metal (+1 armor save). I am going to see if this will work well with Ricco's: 4+ save pikes could at least provide a measure of resiliency albeit still a points sink.

Getting a flank shot with a cannon is pure awesomeness. The fact that Dogs of War cannons are no longer D3 is a major boost and for a mere 85 points, they are virtually mandatory in any list.

Overall Impressions of 8th:

There are many changes to the game brought about by 8th and surprisingly, almost all of them good. The game is quite balanced at the moment and I sincerely hope that the next crop of army books does not destroy this. The game does not need a second coming of the issues that resulted from the Demons codex. While GW has all but officially disowned the Dogs of War, 8th edition actually made our list more competitive. Taking away our ability to use Ogre Kingdoms ogres is a real blow, but overall the positive changes with this edition tend to outweigh this dark spot. Dogs of War players have a lot or rethinking to do with regard to our army list. The tournament was definitely a learning experience and it will be fun to delve deeper into the varies strategies and tactics that this new edition allows.
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