I like the idea of sharing battle reports. I hope more people appreciate them and share their thoughts. I feel a lot of feeling for how an army plays and different strategies is fundamental to the growth of the community. It’s a bit of effort to report on games. If more people appreciate these it works well to motivate more content and expands the knowledge of the community! You’re comments are wanted!
Let me start by talking about my opponent. I’m lucky to leave near Wayne Chang who is gracious enough to open his home and invite me over for a game. He has a man-cave hobby room which is brilliant for quiet part of the house that we can get as noisy as we want! We put up our favorite games on a wide screen TV streamed on the sideline from youtube and we really get into it.
Wayne has about 8-10 completely painted armies. One of my favorites is his Trident Realm that I’m taking on today.
Our competitive community here in Socal is planning on taking a trip up to visit fellow West coast Player Brighton Williams and his community for the Bay Area for the Event “Bay of Kings GT” that he is the TO for. Here is a link to pictures from last year. https://bayofkings.com/2018-pictures - It’s ran from the Game Kastle facility in Mountain View CA. If you’re planning to go to an event like this, the game event charge is minimal and you’ll for sure run into West Coast Masters level painted armies. Definitely and improver for the hobby. Details can be found on their website!
For this game Wayne and I are practicing 2k Pts level games for BoK. We are using CoK19 as normal since KoW3 is not yet out.
I brought 3 armies with me, with the intent to provide Wayne choices for what he felt would give him the best challenge. I brought Ogres, Nature and Elves. My ogre list is a Fast/Horde strategy with monster support. Nature is an objective control based army with fire support, vanguarding, and fast moving light hammers. My Elf list is a mobile fire support/control list using vanguard and board control. The nature list and Elf list is similar, however Nature has more tactical strength on boards with lots of terrain. The Elves list is about moving to a location and controlling the table.
Wayne decided he wanted to face my Nature list. Great! I get to play with my Wilderness Critters!
We started with Setting up the table. We went with a modified Quadrant system where each player gets to place 4 pieces, one in each quadrant, and then they are randomly deviated with 2d6 and a deviation dice. I found that made the board less symmetrical and unintuitive.
We rolled Plunder! I don’t think I’ve played this one. It’s number 11 on the Cok11 chart. Seems rare to me. It basically is a loot game on the center line. 5 counters. Each player gets to turn one counter into a “super loot” worth 2 points instead of one counted at the end of the game. They are set up 12 inches apart and 1 starts in the center of the table. Now loot is complicated because it can be guarded or held. This makes some interesting decision making because one can only pick up a loot counter from the table at the end of a movement phase. If the model is guarding it, it is contested and no one can grab it. This comes in play a number of times in this matchup which I think is very interesting and cunning by both of us to prevent “handoff” of the counters when units die. You’ll see as the game progresses.
I promptly lose the roll off for sides. He picks a the side of the table with better use of terrain, key features are an obstacle L section near the deployment zone that he placed and a woods between the center of the table and his deployment zone that he also placed. Trident Realms needs to use Terrain to the maximum to take advantage of their special rules. Some units are significantly slow so there needs to be something in just the right place to keep them in the game. I mentioned to him that most structured events have preplaced terrain to keep in mind not to rely on terrain preparation. However this is often plenty of terrain to use and he is no stranger to that.
He placed his first unit, Ensares, prepped to take the woods section I afore mentioned. . I thought to myself. ‘Well, this is a soft unit, 4+ defense. My elves would cause a big hurt on them- let me line up my shooting units against that.’ HUGE mistake. Lesson learned don’t shoot at Ensares. I’ll get to that on my first turn.
Deployment took me a bit to consider prior to beginning. Often vs. Wayne I feel like I’m not prepared for the level of depth he puts into deployment. In our last Trident realm matchup, I played Nightstalkers. I felt confident, but lost that game due to poor understanding of how Trident uses terrain and the use of the special characters to neutralize the effect of shooters, Cav, and flyers. That went through my mind a few times how ignorant I felt to how use Nature to break Defense 6, stealthly, ensare units that have regen. This game taught me a lot of lessons.
I decided to place my flanking force first to put pressure on his line, get a dedication to his deployment. So here are the lists played.
In case you don’t know – Easy Army is how I made my list. One can use it free here. It’s not the most streamlined or easy to edit on the fly, but it is comprehensive. https://kow2.easyarmy.com/clash-of-kings-2019.aspx Thank you Mantic for facilitating this wonderful tool with Greg. Looking forward to an early update with the release of V3. I really don’t want to use pen and paper. – Back to the Matchup.
I really don’t know for sure which list is stronger. I like to have a notion of that prior to the game. I did not know his list before I got there. And I made my list that afternoon, and I had never played with it. There are some glaring things I would change in my list. I want to cover that toward the end.
Looking at my list, it for sure isn’t intuitive. I built my list off of Chess play. Looking at my flanking units, I wanted to have cost effective objective units with high nerve with no waver values. Shambers fit that role super well @ 125pts -/14 nerve, Def5 CS 1 9 Att, vanguard, Shambling. I play with two and force the opponent to dedicate to kill one. Often a single unit cannot break them so they need to commit far more than they are worth to kill them. They can take 7 wounds, needing a 7+ to break them and one would be surprised what Inspire will do to keep them in action. Two units means on turn 4 the flanking side may still be dealing with them. For 250 points supported by a character is well spent points in my mind. Especially while obstructed from the objective. That buys me 4 turns to deal with the rest of the opponent’s army, and at a guess I have more points at my disposal while he is trying to flank me. It’s a points leverage, like using “eternal pons” to stop Rooks/bishops in Chess. Many don’t know Shambling says Vanguard moves allows for double movement, so they are moving up the table quite far – 12” in this case. I could get the woodland guard formation, but that +1” hasn’t mattered much.
Looking at the rest of my list, its remarkably soft. It has a number of mounted characters, Fast Cav Hammer horde with paper armor, those flying shooting eagles, Slow shooting Regiment of Heartpiercers, Tree herder, Beast of Nature, and Wilderness Critters. 11 drops. Not that impressive. It’s more a lesson on how to use the units than their actual power. I feel like under the right circumstances, I can negotiate the opponent to play with a weaker hand. Huge Risks, high payoff.
I found Wayne has the right tools to do the job. High regen on 4+, 3 Def 6 units on the front line, stealth, fast monsters, and super good utility characters no other army has access to. But comparatively, I feel like I had Shooting superiority, Pathfinder, superiority, and faster units, meaning I could get across the table faster, and engage target priorities better. He has to play a defensive game. Where I need to take the initiative and get the damage in early to deal with those heal spikes. He has def 6 from Big shield, so flanking makes sense.
Looking at final deployment, I felt like I was doing something outside of my norm. I hadn’t played this list yet, but I was uncomfortable with my deployment because of the failure of the terrain, lack of experience on the objectives, and not having a solid plan vs. Trident Snare, regen, and Def6. Looking back, I felt overconfident with the wyrmriders. These guys get massive complaints from the player base. I needed the wyrmriders to combo charge and that’s not very effective. They are good vs. Low nerve, units in cover and can’t be expected break anything heavy wth CS1 and TC. That MA 3+ can be misleading. But worst of all, they are Def4. With that in mind I gave them haste so I can reach further into the opponents lines and cause conflicts to flyers. In this match, I clearly had Initiative with this unit, but they don’t really have the staying power to break something hard without help. To add insult to injury, I placed them on the side where my opponets units with Def6 are also controlling an obstacle. What a blunder on my part. I really didn’t have an answer to this in my list at all. Shooting would get ignored with Def6 and the obstacle takes away TC1 and knocks hits to 50%. 9 hits Def 5. 3 wounds. That’s no good. I would bounce right off. And no doubt, him attacking me back is 5-6 wounds with 12 attacks CS2 Elite hitting on 4+. And that’s not far from breaking the WyrmRiders. A fluke roll could ruin their day. Supporting him and hoping for that long Bishp-like play, I have the Beast of nature nearby for those combo charges. I’m very eager to see how this guy does. And I have the Wilderness Critters right next to him, this is my Knight piece that can fly and get flanks. With a knucker, Gigas, and placoderms on one side, it’s like a Bishop and 6 pons holding me up. Not a great situation. I do get to hit first, so breaking the units is key and getting hit is back is hard for this army to handle if I fail to break them. The rest of my stuff went in the middle like the tree herder which was going to need to support both sides of the table with Elite Blizzard.
Nature on the left. (Top to Bot)
Wyrmriders, BoN, WCritters, Druid, Heartpiercers, Tree herder, Centaur Chief, Shamblers, Shambers, Centaur Chief, Talon Riders. 11/15 Unit str
Trident on right ( top to bot )
Knucker, Gigas, Placoderms, Kracken, Gigas, Riverguard, Eckter, Ensares, Siren, River Guard, Knucker
I vanguarded up the table with the two shamblers. Let the treeherder. And we make the first turn roll.
I lost first turn roll. He hits that Bomb 6 on the first roll. I wanted to go second because of the token look issue. Now things are stacking against me.
Is it worth it to play such a risky army under these conditions?
If I was card counting I could sense the "pace"of the game and observe my performance.
Pregame considerations that may provide a calculated edge / Rating 1/-1
Unknown list/playstyle/player Strategy / -1
Never used my army / -1
Never played the mission / -1
Table terrain placement choice disadvantage / -1
Table side selection disadvantage / -1
First turn test roll failed / -1
-6 to my edge before I even started. I’d expect I wanted to be at a 0 for a balanced approach.
I really couldnt think of a “edge” other than he hadn’t played vs. nature before. I thought that I needed to be a bit more upfront about special rules, and a few came up like “at the double” while Vangarding for shamblers. Thats covered in the shambler rule.
Turn 1 - Nature
I tried to collect my thoughts again, gauging my situation and I thought I could still pull off this win by taking the initiative and early damage output. I taught myself something here that I didn’t evaluate his units properly prior to deployment. I set up my shooting force to negotiate his flanking force of Ensares, Knuckers, and riverguard. My opener was advancing up the table to prep for charges out side of his range, and overwatching center tokens. My damage opener was a total of 11 wounds from Blizzard, Heartpiercers, and talon riders on the ensares on his deployment line. I felt really good about that going into his first turn.
I also used my Chieftan to shoot as his riverguard on my far right. I got a really lucky waver roll there. I put 3 wounds, one more than I should have I think, and rolled a 7 the nerve.
Turn 1 - Trident
He opens activating his ensares into cover and promptly heals 10 of the 11 wounds. I don’t know what to say. Ouch? I’ve got 3 units dedicated to effective shooting support. I just got countered.
My deployment strategy has been completely nullified and 25% of my army (750pts) just turned into “chaff control duty” because its a waste of time to continue shooting at Ensares. If it wasn’t for having the initiative, I think I would have no chance at this matchup. Glaring bells are going off to come up with a new plan since I wont be able to use my combined arms preference to play. New strategy – ignore the ensares. Block them from the tokens. I’m already calculating how I can prep my Talon riders for more board control duty and use my Chieftains to slow down the ensares.
Next he moves his knucker to block my talon riders. I thought that was an odd play, putting them right inform of them. I was about 20” away from him, so he couldn’t charge. Then I remembered the siren. I didn’t notice she was in 24” of the talon riders, so he moved up and prepped 18” shots on them to disrupt them and knock them out of the sky. He said they lose flying via disordered, that hasn’t happened to me before. So I was in shock. It’s quite crippling. Yikes. Two hammer blows back to back.
This is a Wind Blast (8) spell, but moves the target unit towards the Siren rather than away (for example, if the Siren is in the enemy’s front arc then it will move forwards rather than backwards). Any enemy unit hit with the Wind Blast spell is automatically Disordered during its next turn. Units with the Shambling special rule cannot be targeted by Siren’s Call.
On the other side he is advancing. He chooses to engage the Flying Wilderness critters. A smart play because it keeps them from flying 14”. I have Hammer of measured force so he needs to kill them before they get to his Def 6 front line. He does 6 wounds with the knucker! Jeeze! 100% effective. He is rolling superhot I note from the start of the game. Starting to have doubts now. He didn’t break the WC thank goodness so he pushes back, exposed to the Beast of Nature Wilderness Critters and flanking WyrmRiders. He lets me know its my turn.
Back to my right side, he shoots the siren at the Talon riders. Does only one wound but draws in 2 so they are disordered. Grounded, loses nimble, so if I move I get a +1 to shoot and I can’t get around the knucker to get a tactical advange. Very meta-thinking play there. However he wasn’t expecting to lose them since he forgot about surge and Ensare being the key defense there. I choose to not counter there because I just didn’t want the horde of ensares that close to the Talon riders. I back up but end up on a wall. Man I’m in a bad position with these guys and I need to come up with a way to not be disordered all game. It’s bad enough he had regened 95% of my damage in one roll.
Turn 2 Nature
I need to start hurting things. Immediately think to go after his Gigas in the obstacle in the top left, but Pathfinder doesnt help with that, so I’m down to maybe 3 wounds vs. the gigas in cover, and Im sure he will wreck me, I decide to take the wyrm riders and flank the Knucker with the Beast of nature, and the Wilderness critters shuffle 3.5” to the right to prep for charges on the def 6 units. I know he wont let me hit him with these guys, but I have to put the choice out there. If he does change them, Im going to have to block with Placoderms until I can break the Gigas. I should be able to do it with the WR and BoN if he attacks the damaged WC. I think he sees the flying as a bigger threat and that I can punch through his armor as even worse. For sure he can grind it out with the other two.
On the right side, he is not considering the shambling flank attack on the right side of the knucker and I’ll need the Chieftain to finish the job I prep the surge and charge the chieftain. I had moved them back a bit to stand on the wall which I mentioned above.
I don’t have much shooting, but I waver the other River guard with the Heart piercers. Like in last game, my shooting elements are clearly neutralized. I want to move and shoot. I like that mechanic. It feels like Im making table games at low risk. Im feeling very declawed, and I have to overcommit to get things done… High risk and without the hammer pieces in nature, Im digging deep for some solutions.
I moved to block the placoderms with the other Chieftain. He wont get a chance to use his Wild companion. But he needs to be a wall right now to keep him from advancing on the three units dealing with the Giga horde.
I pull off the needed 3” surge with a roll of 4 of 8. And I go in with the Shambers. The other shamblers engage the snares. Just to keep them off the objectives. I don’t expect them to live through a combo charge. That does get him to commit which keeps him engaged. The Knucker goes down on the flank and I feel some level of success in taking down two knuckers and wavering one of the other Riverguard.
Lastly I think I opened up on the cracken this time, hopefully leaving 5- wounds if he heals. I did 11 wounds and he Regens all but 2 if I recall. Back to back mega Regen rolls. Those dice at the end of that picture were a reminder of how many he rolled and all but 2
Turn 2 Trident
He immediately charges the WC – without second thought. I actually am thinking 50% of his attacks will miss, 6, and likely 1-2 might not wound. He gets all of them for a total of 11 wounds and breaks the WC. Very disappointed again. I could have moved back but I wanted to threaten him. Actually I wanted him to think the wyrm riders were the most dangerous, but he plays them and knows have “glasslike” they are. I think he wasn’t concerned with them at all when his placoderms can hold him off. He also kills the Centaur Chieftain with the Placoderms with HoMF and reforms to face the Wyrmriders.
On my right he advances with the other Riverguard to block a charge on his ensares. And his combo charge with the Kracken, river guard and Eckter take out my center guarding Shamblers. Hopefully they bought me enough time with his slow speed to get control of the left side. I see an opening! He left the side of his Gigas when he took out the shamblers. Huge risk on his part to commit. That’s why I built these lists. Force a dedication on turn 2 and flank on turn three from something because his whole line is set up. Nature doesn’t have big dragons, so 7 Att CS2 ( doubled on the flank) will have to do on Def4. I’m actually have delusions of performance at this opportunity. 14/3 is almost 5. So maybe 9 hits and then I have to hope for no 1s. on the damage roll. Hmm. I do have vicious. Which might save this. It’s these moments that help you decide of you like these units or not. Nature more and more needs to combo charge if it’s going to neutralize targets in melee.
Turn 3 Nature
Game thoughts so far:
At this point I can see how my initial plan panned out, then rescued a bad situation. Im coming back on course, but I need some things to go down here. The worst part is the regen. So I’m avoiding those units till I can break commit the needed assets. My line is way out of position and I noticed I’m not in the most favorable areas on the board. I have to take ownership of my situation and start looking at where I need to be on the table. I’m envisioning now how to get there. I admit I thought a bit about my right flank and dealing with the objective vs. getting my side rolled up. I’m gonna get pinned continuously if I don’t deal with the Siren. Nothing worse that having a shooting unit that can’t shoot. I need to deal with the Riverguard in front of me. Get the 2 token and someone neutralize the Ensares. Around the corner he has the giga and other river guard to help how, supported by Eckter. Thankfully they are all slow or they would be in position on turn three.
First I executed my flank in his back line. Such a good play. He will need to turn his back to me to get some serious damage done and then I should be able to break any of these units with a few shots. My treeman is holding the center, but I need to come up with a plan for the doing some damage, Im not ready yet to engage him, and his damage is not “hammer” equivalent. Things need to be softened up good or be flanking to get the most out of him. I decide to do a blizzard again to weaken his Jumping Riverguard on my right.
On my Far Right, I have the situation with the Siren, I move the Shamblers from out infront of the river guard so the chieftain can see her and charges. These chieftains are superb. Wild companions need to be like the cats in Elves. These have been a mistake to take since they shoot already. Anyway, I just need to do 1 wound to stop the casting. My talon riders charge the riverguard since they can’t shoot. Man that’s painful. This leaves my Druid to use the Anti-Armor spell. Ive been waiting for this. In order to 5 wounds to a def 6 target with 4+ to hit shooting attack is 60 attacks. That’s 3 hordes of elf Archers for 30 points worth of value. Lets give it a shot. Openly speaking I don’t have high expectations, but I don’t want the placoderms charging the Wyrm riders after I kill the Gigas. And that leads into the attacking the gigas with the Wyrm Riders. I’ve only killed 2 knuckers so far, so lets hope for the best here.
The Tree Herder shoots at the far right river guard. Cause a few wounds. Breaks. Armor spell goes off, does 5 wounds. Wavers! On box cars! WOW. Pleasant surprise after that massive regen roll. This is very painful for Wayne. In his position he is stuck and cant even reform in a way to allow the Kracken to make a charge. Two birds with one stone and significant damage to a def6 unit. Still far from a destroying nerve test.
WyrmRiders charge in. bounce off! Oh no. Failed the nerve test. Did 9 damage and didn’t break them. I had grandiose expectations here. I can’t get off my mind my drakon riders with Def 5 getting killed by KoM knights Cav unit in one shot. I guess I wanted to vindicate myself – that didn’t happen. And those elite 12 Att CS2 King Crabs are going to hurt my Wyrm Riders. It’s just odd how uncomfortable this unit is to use. I was wounding on 2 so that was this situation. I needed to combo charge in but I don’t have my range threats. Nothing happens and the Gigas are fine.
Beast of nature rolling does 9 damage too. Fails to break or waver the other gigas on the flank. Broke my heart, but again, grandiose expectations and low nerve rolls. Im back to the feeling of pending doom when my two hammer units bounce of their targets. Surviving the return strike is not a strong suit of Nature. I feel like I’m in trouble. My right side is a mess and I just failed on my back line charge and hammer charge to break through.
I do 1 wound to the Siren, very lucky. Hitting on 3+ - 2 hits, than only 1 wounds. Very close. Disordered the siren. Well, I wavered the Placoderms, held off the Kraken, blocked the Placoderms from charging the WyrmRiders, destroyed one of the Riverguard, and disordered the Siren, kept the Ensares of the tokens, and freed my talon riders to shoot next turn. I think my tactical objectives were reached, but I’m still deep in the desert.
Im 3 turns in and I know Im about to lose some things.
Looking at the actions in the game I can do an “Inning Edge” count.
end of Nature Turn 3
Game start / -6
First turn 1. / -2
10 of 11 damage from all my shooting was negated. I would say that had the effect of 3 shooting units neutralized. -3, -1 point each for the 3 units doing nothing. 1 unit was wavered. +1
Turn 2 0
Lost Wilderness Critters -1
Lost Centaur Chieftain. -1
Destroyed two knuckers +2
Wavered Riverguard. +1
Stunned Talon riders -1
Turn 3 +2
Lost BoN -1
Lost Shambling Regiment -1
Wavered Placoderms +1
Blocked Kracken with no additional assets +1
Disordered Siren +1
Destroyed River Guard +1
I’m not bleeding “Edge points” anymore and I can feel the game is swinging back. On turn 3 I was +2 points, for an overall of -6 I think I can still bring this to a victory. Let’s cover How he ended the 3rd turn.
Lets finish up turn 3!
Turn 3 Trident
He brings Eckter and Gigas on the Beast of nature and one shots it. Ouch. Counter charges my wyrmriders, does 6 wounds, Almost wavers it by 1. More crazy dice rolls. I can tell he wanted that one. His edge and momentum was slipping.
The siren with 3 damage runs to the other side of the Ensares and escapes the Chieftain. Not sure how I can deal with that. Now I need to reengage with my last Shamblers to hold off the ensares on turn 4. We shall see. He turns everything to face what he can. It was a short turn but it hurt bad to lose the Beast of nature in one go. I felt like the damage was done and he is bleeding points now. Still struggling to get to the tokens, but Im running out or resources.
Ok Im gonna cut this off here. I follow up with an update. Hope you’ve liked the report so far.