Battle Report 18
2300pts vs : Trident Realms
The early morning sun streamed through the trees of the forest reflecting off the brilliant white coat of the unicorn Raina. By her side was the young elven mage Aeneas. A fey individual Aeneas spent most of his time outside of the city of Bel-Valdar usually only entering to confer and study with the city’s elderly Loremaster Eldroth.
Communing with Raina the two friends walked along the edge of the forest overlooking the coastline of the Alaitoc Sea. Suddenly Aeneas’ keen perception heard noises from the cliffs. Leaping upon Raina’s back he drew his sword Yandroth, a gift from King Paweldran himself and went to investigate. Reaching the edge of the cliffs Aeneas saw the dreaded Thulls scaling the cliff face. He knew many protective wards were located along the coastline to aid the trading ships from Bel-Valdar’s port. The vile sea creatures goal to disrupt these was clear. Swinging Raina round he galloped off towards the city knowing his presence in the defending army would be required.
Game Intro and Lists:
Real life meant gaming was put on pause for a few months as other priorities needed attending to. My regular opponent Ben was also rusty but had just entered an online tournament and was keen to get some practice so now available I gleefully obliged.
Mage (Alenui): Inspiring Talisman, Bane Chant, Lightning Bolt: 135pts
Mage (Aeneas): Lightning Bolt, Conjurers Staff, Host of the Shadow Beast (2): 145pts
King (King Paweldran): Horse, Shardblade, Blade of the Beast Slayer: 170pts
Drakon Lord (Amarynth): Mace of Crushing: 165pts
Chariot Noble (Feanor): 100pts
Spearmen Horde: Brew of Strength: 270pts
Palace Guard Horde: Staying Stone: 270pts
Quicksilver Regiment: Jesse’s Boots: 250pts
Stormwind Regiment: Brutal: 220pts
Seaguard Regiment: 150pts
Silverbreeze Troop:: 115pts
Silverbreeze Troop: 115pts
Forest Guard: Skirmisher Boots: 115pts
Bolt Thrower: 80pts
In one of my last games before taking a break I’d been rather taken with one of my opponents units, a unicorn with Host of the Shadow Beast (Game 16 on the blog). I’d tried the previous iteration and found it lacking but post the Big Red book the spell had been made much more flexible as it added a set of attacks rather than boosting the targets own abilities. This meant a mage could cast it on themselves or on another individual.
My physical army is based around 4th/5th Ed Warhammer High Elves so I’m always mindful of chances to include iconic elements in my list. A mage mounted on a unicorn is one such unit. By shuffling a few items from Game 16 list I managed to find a few points and the dignified strolling of Loremaster Eldroth was replaced with the exuberant galloping of the young prodigy Aeneas.
Naiad Centurion: Trident, Scout: 170pts
Thull Mythican: Torc of Dissonance: 90pts
Giga Horde: 205pts
Giga Horde: Staying Stone: 210pts
Giga Horde: Fury: 220pts
Coral Giant: 215pts
Coral Giant: 215pts
Tidal Swarm: 70pts
Hidden Ones Formation (Pathfinder):
Thull Mythican: TC 1 Aura, Gnome Glass Shield: 100pts
Thull Regiment: 170pts
Thull Regiment: 170pts
Ben has kindly provided us with his initial thoughts on the game:
So another day another game against the elves! As you probably know reading this blog Paul and I play a lot. The ‘Red’ era army is great fun to play against. I feel it’s a nicely balanced list and a has a touch of nostalgia.
Facing the elves is always a tough game for the trident realms because as the old saying goes ‘how do you kill a fish? Shoot it’! The list I’d taken is the one I’ve been running for a while. 14 drops, with 4 characters, 4 monsters and 3 giggas for the defence. I like the list as it tends to have answers for most things and now I’ve included the Naiad Centurion with the trident of the drowned sea and boots of seven leagues I have something that can shoot in the first turn.
The basic plan when facing Paul’s list was to get at his shooting to disable it and then hope my big hitters can take him off before he gets me.
We were playing salt the earth which is a great scenario. The main plan for me with this scenario is to try and deploy in such a way as to dominate one side. Then kill the tokens on the weaker side, stranding his army whilst the bulk of my force mop up and take control of the ‘live side’.
When playing elves I find taking first turn is usually a big help as it limits the shooting damage I take however going second in this scenario can be a real advantage. I think I’ll go first if I get the chance but we’ll just to have to wait and see what the dice gods decide.
Deployment and Scenario
The tournament would be using a fixed map and scenario each round so we would be playing Salt the Earth. We spread the tokens fairly evenly across the board but Ben having the final placement allowed him to weight them towards the left.
I won the roll for sides choosing south to avoid having the big wood in the centre of my lines. Deployment saw us both favour opposite flanks with Ben looking to concentrate on the bulk of the tokens on the left whilst I tried to capitalise on the space this gave me on the right before swinging round to the right side’s tokens late game. I won the roll for first turn and took it, keen to secure the right flank before Ben could bring his forces to bear on the left.
Elf Turn 1
Most of the elves advanced cautiously to bring their shooting into range with the exception of the Amarynth (Drakon Lord) and the Forest Guard who pushed up on the far right offering some charges to Ben opening up the opportunity for me to counter or to get behind him if he declined the opportunity.
As per the ancient tradition arrows and lightning descended upon the Trident lines causing a smattering of damage across the army. Importantly Alenui’s lightning bolt removed the Gnome Glass Shield from the Thull Mythican which can create a real headache in key moments.
Trident Turn 1
Enraged by the loss of his favourite toy (and dreading the journey to the Gnome village to get it fixed) the Mythican on the right wildly charged at Amarynth tentacles flailing. The Knucker, however, declined the opportunity to face the Elven Lord in battle and slinked away along with the craven Coral Giant pausing only to destroy the objective marker and deny it to the Elves.
Most of the remaining units advanced slowly keen not to face the Elves piecemeal. The Naiad Centurion confident in it’s ceremonial armour and natural regenerative abilities was the exception boldly taking position on the hill in front of the Elven lines challenging any who would dare face him.
Elf Turn 2
On the right flank the forest guard careened through the wood into the flank of the Mythican engaged with Lord Amarynth. The remaining units moved up to offer charges to the Knucker to draw it out. The remaining Elven line pulled back hoping to buy more time for the right to swing round and shooting to thin the fishmen’s ranks.
Aeneas and Feanor (unicorn mage and chariot) disposed of the tidal swarm on the left. A little damage was added in the centre and the Knucker on the left took the brunt of the Seaguard and Silverbreeze’s attention. In combat the Mythican was swept away by the angry woodsmen.
Trident Turn 2
On the left Eckter moved to block the gap between the building and board edge with units arrayed behind him ready to respond to any Elves who would inevitably get stuck fighting him. In the centre a Thull regiment was so infuriated by sight of the Elves they bolted out of the woods straining every sinew to reach the Elven Spears (rolled a 3 for wild charge). Meanwhile the Silverbreeze were accosted by the Naiad Centurion charging off the hill.
On the right the Knucker decided to charge the Quicksilver Cavalry out of it’s varied options and the Giant spun to face the threat of Amarynth and the Forest Guard. Combat saw decent damage on the Silverbreeze, Spears and Quicksilvers but all easily held their nerve.
Elf Turn 3
On the right spying the flank of the Knucker engaged with the Elven knights the Seaguard lowered their spears and charged off the hill. At the same time the Silverbreeze positioned themselves to block the Coral Giant whilst the Forest Guard and Drakon Lord moved up behind the light cavalry.
In the centre the Spears and Silverbreeze countercharged. With Eckter looming on the right I moved most of my units round to face the centre. King Paweldran drew his sword and charged into the flank of the Mythican hoping for a bit lucky nerve roll to waver or even rout him and overrun into the injured Gigas flank. Feanor drove his chariot into Eckter to cut off his line of sight and slow up the other units coming round the flank.
Aeneas chanted the sacred words channelling his innate abilities through the Staff of Oroldreth a dark shadow emerged behind King Paweldran. Alas a moment’s hesitation broke Aeneas’ concentration and the mystical shadow fled the mortal realm. The rest of the shooting phase was disappointing only the bolt thrower managed to land any damage at all.
Feanor’s halberd repeatedly struck out at Eckter but the crafty old sea urchin met it each time with his spear. Paweldran also struggled, his blade Yahdra only breaking through the Mythican’s defences once. The Silverbreeze failed to land a crucial wound on the Naiad Centurion to prevent him using his Trident’s shooting attack in Ben’s turn.
Hoping for better luck in the major combats the Elven Spears drove their spears mercilessly into the Thulls, sadly many thrusts were deflected by the multitude of tentacles and the Thull were only wavered.
Grim faced the Elven knights drew their swords and carved into the Knucker unfortunately the Seaguard tripped charging down the hill into the Knuckers flank only doing limited damage crucially this made the Knucker laugh so much it forgot to run away but would instead have to spend the next turn recovering its composure (I rolled a 3 for nerve needing a 4 so had I landed just one extra wound it would have routed).
Lady Luck had not shone on me this turn and my efforts to take out Ben’s right flank quickly had possibly run into a fatal delay.
Trident Turn 3
With several units now in range Ben was keen to exploit my poor dice. The Knucker and Gigas on the left charged Feanor and his chariot whilst Eckter moved round to use his windblast. The Naiad Centurion also moved out of combat to use his Trident.
The Coral Giant charged King Paweldran (we were unsure about if this charge was legal as the building prevented the King from aligning with a wheel or pivot but on review we found that you pick up and place the individual in alignment so it was legal). The Mythican King Paweldran had been fighting decided to shut down the bolt thrower which had been irritating the Gigas.
The wavered Thulls in the centre would block the spears next turn so Ben sent the Gigas to finish off the Silverbreeze. Showing uncommon speed a Thull regiment in the Wood again rolled a 3 for wild charge allowing them to charge the Palace Guard horde (one thinks there may be berries in the wood which require PED classification). Finally the Giant on the right charged the blocking Silverbreeze.
Shooting saw the Mythican activate it’s Torc of Dissidence to prevent Aeneas from using Host of the Shadow Beast. Both Eckter and the Centurion used their attacks on the Stormwind pushing them back and disordering them.
In combats on the left Feanor having achieved his goal decided honour was satisfied and headed home. King Paweldran was knocked unconscious by the Coral Giants’s club, the bolt thrower crew remembered they’d left the oven on and the Silverbreeze decided to do some scouting further down the coast (basically a whole lot of routing).
The right fared better with average damage the Elves stationed there stood steadfast knowing winning the battle now lay solely in their hands.
Elf Turn 4
With most of my units engaged I countered both Thull Regiments with my infantry and the Knucker with my Seaguard and Knights. On the right the Silverbreeze were joined by the Forest Guard whilst Amarynth flew behind the Giant to open up options in the centre nearer the objectives. On the left the disordered Stormwind charged the Mythican hoping to pin it down or even get a lucky kill as I was short on options and becoming surrounded.
Shooting saw both mages target the flanks of the central Gigas building up more damage but falling just short of wavering it. Crucially combat saw my infantry destroy both Thull regiments and reform to protect their flanks. The right side Knucker also fell whilst the Giant only took minimal damage. On the left a decent roll was enough to waver the Mythican with my Stormwind but they remained in a precarious position.
Trident Turn 4
The Knucker on the left took advantage of the Stormwind’s open flank and charged in. Meanwhile the Centurion moved to target the mage Aeneas and Eckter ran towards the centre as fast as his little legs could take him. The Gigas on the left decided it was time to move back and take control of the objectives. (To my horror I realised my placing of the markers precisely 12 inches apart allowed the Gigas to contest two tokens at once if they turned slightly!)
In the centre the Gigas and Giant were now free to charge the spears who stoically braced themselves hoping to hold the charge until help could arrive. To the right the Giant charged the injured silverbreeze hoping to see them off and the Gigas decided to forgo charging so as not to open itself up to flank charges next turn instead moving to block my Palace Guard from charging towards the centre.
Shooting saw the Centurion’s Trident land a glancing blow on Aeneas, briefly severing his link to the winds of magic. The Giant on the right easily broke the Silverbreeze who were oddly dismayed at a huge club swipe crushing several of their comrades. On the left the Knucker was just able to waver the Stormwind leaving them in trouble next turn.
Finally in the centre the Gigas only managed a few wounds due to a fence hindering them against the spears. All hopes rested on the giant’s mighty club. Leaning back to deliver a huge swipe the Coral monstrosity lost it’s balance and very nearly fell over. A single elf unfortunately perished as it was punted as the Giant’s leg stuck out to retain its balance. Despite this barbaric action the Elves held their nerve and readied their spears to strike.
Elf Turn 5
The Elven left had largely evaporated Aeneas moved up unable to cast he hoped the Gigas would not take up position to hold both objectives next turn so that he could move to block them. The Stormwind were trapped in place by the Knucker and the Mythican.
Things were much more promising on the right. The Seaguard charged the front of the Giant whilst the Forest Guard gleefully assaulted it’s flank. The Palace Guard were able to charge down the hill into the Gigas accompanied by the knights. In the centre I decided to put both the Spears and the Drakonlord into the Gigas to ensure they perished allowing Alenui to lightning bolt the Mythican rather than use his bane chant elsewhere.
Shooting saw the Mythican fried by Alenui. The central Gigas were easily dispatched between Amarynth and the Spears whilst the Giant on the right was felled by the Elven woodsmen. In the final contest of the turn Elven Knights and Infantry crashed into the hard shells of the Gigas causing grievous damage. Despite this the Gigas held firm against all odds dashing the hopes of the Elves. (Double 1 and not quite enough damage to devastate the unit).
Trident Turn 5
Gleefully Ben set about taking advantage of the situation. The (son of unmarried crabs) Horde of Gigas charged the knights on the right whilst on the left the other unit moved to control two objective markers. In the centre the Giant charged the Spears looking for redemption, the Knucker continued its assault on the Stormwind’s flank and Eckter and the Centurion took aim at Lord Amarynth (Drakon).
Eckter and the Centurion managed to put some damage on Amarynth as well as disordering him and pushing him closer to the giant. Both units of Elven knights fled from their respective foes. At last the giant’s mighty club connected with the proud ranks of Elven spearmen scattering them to the winds.
Elf Turn 6
Things were looking desperate for the Elves. Lord Amarynth was hemmed in by the Giant with the Centurion’s trident clipping his steed Navarel’s wings so he charged the giant. Aeneas charged the Centurion hoping to shut down the Trident.
Ben had blocked the Seaguard from charging the badly damaged Gigas. Fortunately the Forest Guard could just spy the Gigas past the Seaguard and charged into the rear. This left the Palace Guard free to move towards the centre. My mage Alenui moved behind them to prevent Eckter using his windblast to push them back. My only hope was for there to be a turn 7 and Ben to leave me an opportunity.
Amarynth landed a couple of wounds on the Giant whilst the Forest Guard killed the Gigas. Aeneas calling forth the power of nature struck out at the Centurion such was the power of the blows he was left cowering from the Elven mage (wavered).
Trident Turn 6
The Giant enraged by Amarynth’s assault swept aside the Elven Lord with his club. Meanwhile Eckter assaulted Aeneas driving off the magic user. Finally the Knucker moved up to control the key objective marker. All Ben needed to do was roll for the game to end and the Elves would be soundly beaten. Lady Luck, however, had other plans and not yet satisfied ordered the show to go on.
Elf Turn 7
I had one little trick up left up my sleeve Ben hadn’t spotted in his last turn. His Giant had shuffled sideways after routing Amarynth rather than pivoting to face the Palace Guard dead on. By moving the mage Alenui to block the Palace Guard’s natural charging position I was able to move far enough to bring them into range of the key token.
The Seaguard and Forest Guard took control of the other objectives. Sadly Alenui was so focused on his positioning he failed to cast bane chant on the Palace Guard, if I could waver the giant I might just have enough nerve to survive Ben’s reprisals. It was not to be, however, and I fell short of what was needed.
(At this point I should have destroyed the objective token giving me a very good chance of a draw but I was so focused on victory the thought didn’t even enter my mind).
Trident Turn 7
Dismayed at the Elven trickery Ben threw the full force of his remaining troops into the Elven warriors denying him victory. The giant’s club rained down blows, Eckter and the Centurion stabbed until their weapons were slick with Elven blood. The Knucker lashed out again and again. Despite this onslaught there was no give in the Elven warriors who held their ground no matter the odds (Ben rolled a much needed double 1 on the first nerve check).
With that the battle was over and the Elves had won 3-2.
Alenui knelt eyes closed by the glowing orb that served as a protective ward calming the vicious waves crashing against the coastal cliffs. As he finished repairing the flows of magic, clumsily severed by the foul sea creatures before they could be driven off, he heard horses galloping. Eldroth and his fellow mages had answered his summons. The healers among them would be sorely needed as both his brothers and his colleague Aeneas all lay hurt.
Conclusions and Jubilations:
What a nail bitter! The perfect way to get back into gaming after a little break. Whilst Ben and I were both a touch rusty I think we were also pleased that we both played fairly well (although that might of just been our ineptitude cancelling each other out). I was delighted Lady Luck waited until the last possible moment to return the favour of the games’ earlier double 1.
We had very similar plans with us both weighting opposite sides, Ben to keep close to the objectives and me utilising the space that gave me to pick off his units rather than get overwhelmed by his army all at once. This is always a dangerous tactic that can leave you praying for a turn 7 (or sometimes even desperately scouring the rulebook for any mention of a turn 8!).
Despite me winning in a dominant and in no way flukey manner (Ben: cough) there were quite a few little mistakes/missed opportunities I identified looking back over the game. The first one was that I’d purposely placed all my Salt the Earth tokens within 12 inches of another one to allow my infantry hordes to more easily claim two at once. What I hadn’t considered is monstrous infantry/cavalry can also claim two at once if they turn slightly. From now on I’ll be placing tokens 13.1 inches apart.
Another point regarding objective markers is that Salt the Earth allows you to destroy markers from turn 1. I probably should have looked to destroy two or all three of the markers on the left that were near my troops immediately. My chariot and Silverbreeze could have done this easily. With the other tokens destroyed in the game this would have left only 3 tokens two of which I was in a much stronger position to control.
A big mistake was putting my King in danger by charging the Mythican. Although if everything had gone right I might have done a lot of damage lacking a 360 degree threat late game really hindered me. When I went in I wasn’t sure if the giant would be able to charge me legally or not (we’re now pretty confident it was a legal charge) but I knew there was a chance and it’s not a chance I should have taken.
I think the Spears should have counter charged the Giant rather than the Gigas turn 5 the Drakon Lord alone averages enough damage to make it a double 1 on nerve, a few wounds on the Giant or even a lucky waver could have been very helpful. Finally I should have destroyed the token my palace guard controlled turn 7 to force a draw as the Palace Guard had no business surviving in the final turn.
Wow! Well that was a roller coaster ride! Well played Paul! I feel my plan was working but to be honest I got lucky with Paul’s weak shooting in turn 3 & then the knucker surviving the combo charge.
There were some good learning points. The Giant charging on the king in turn 3 needed a rules clarification but I think we got it right. I had it on turn 6 but still could have put the game out of reach if I’d pivoted my giant rather than sliding; I didn’t see Paul’s use of the mage to position the palace guard in a scoring position. Even though the double 1 cost me it probably evened out the luck up-to that point and in my opinion it’s a great rule that keeps the game interesting.
All in all it was a really fun game and in the end isn’t that the point? That’s what I tell myself anyway.