Battle Report 19
2300pts vs Trident Realms: Salt the Earth
King Paweldran rode at the front of his army as they marched along the costal road. The mood was tense as the army had been ready to deploy ever since the last Trident attack. Knowing the Trident King’s stubbornness Paweldran had been sure one chastising defeat would not stop the raids on the wards that protected the coastline from the ravages of the violent Alaitoc Sea. He had posted extensive scouts and his army had been billeted outside the city walls to allow for a rapid response. He had, however, been surprised by the Sea Creatures cunning. I’m an effort to avoid the vigilant Elven scouts, Trident forces had come ashore far north of the Wards, with the raiders going inland and instead attacking from the forest rather than the coast. Unexpected as this show of tactical nuance was it made little difference as the Elven scouts keen eyes and ears had meant the alarm had been raised in plenty of time. He would once again have to teach the invaders the folly of trespassing on Elven lands.
Game Intro and Lists:
This will be a rematch from the last report same players, scenario, map etc. and one list the same, one slightly changed. I generally try not to give you guys similar games back to back as there isn’t much variation in my list and my opponent’s lists to be begin with. I’ve decided to this time as I think it’s quite interesting to have two reports with a number of similarities that allows us to look at what tactical changes are made and why.
There’s 3 main points of difference IMO:
1)The biggest one is because this is part of tournament practice Ben and I spent time after the last game analysing our play & discussing different ways to approach things. So in contrast to the last report here you should see the impact (hopefully) of two players with a clearer focus on how they are approaching the scenario and map.
2)Ben has tweaked his list since last time, this is in part a reaction to some of the issues he ran into in our last game (lack of speed).
3)I lost the roll for table side in this game and IMO it changes things a lot. In particular I think playing from north is far less favourable for my list with a lot of awkward terrain to deal with: 1) I don’t have much pathfinder 2) there’s limited firing lanes and 3) there’s not many 8 inch gaps for my infantry hordes to move through unhindered). The big wood is also very awkward as it interferes with getting troops to the central objective that can’t be destroyed, that’s not the case from the south where the path is clear.
So I hope you’ll enjoy this report despite there being several overlaps with the last one.
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
My list is completely unchanged but Ben has made some changes primarily bringing in a Horde of Wyrmriders for a horde of Gigas. I’ve always cautioned Ben against taking a third Giga horde as I felt the lack of speed became too big of an issue for his list strategically. Now he had a speed 9 horde with Nimble and Pathfinder I had one less weakness to try and exploit.
Naiad Centurion: Trident, Scout: 170pts
Thull Mythican: Torc of Dissonance: 90pts
Thull Mythican: Gnome Glass Shield: 90pts
Naiad Wyrmriders: Brew of Haste: 275pts
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, 9 inch Aura: 105pts
Thull Regiment: Healing Brew: 175pts
Thull Regiment: 170pts
Ben has again kindly provided us with his initial thoughts on the game and his list changes from the last report:
Well here we are again! Paul and I decided to play the same scenario with the same scenery but try a few new things. From my side after our last game I wanted to increase the speed of my army so dropped a Giggas horde and added the Naiad Wyrmriders with brew of haste. This also meant I needed to change my Naiad Centurion for a Mythican with bane chant; he’d been my man of the match most games he played but I couldn’t fit him in without dropping the swarm and as Paul regularly tells me, the swarms are the most important part of my army so this couldn’t be countenanced!
My plan was the same as before to try and control the ‘scoring side’ whilst destroying the tokens on the side where his main force was. Let’s see how it went.
Deployment and Scenario
As in the last game we’re using the tournament’s fixed map and scenario for the round so we would be playing Salt the Earth. This time I placed my tokens 13.1 inches from other tokens (so Ben’s hordes couldn’t claim 2 at once but mine could) and Ben placed his 12 inches away from each other (so his hordes could claim 2 at once). This resulted in Ben placing 2 on the extreme left and the rest scattered across the board.
We spread the tokens fairly evenly across the board but Ben having the final placement allowed him to weight them towards the left.
Ben won the roll for sides choosing south as I had done last time so that we could see how that changed things. This was unfortunate for me as the central token was far easier to approach from the south as terrain got in the way from the north.
Deployment was very cagey with both of us trying to avoid committing our major units too early and thereby losing flexibility. Another factor I was mindful of is the opportunities and risks available to whoever, got first turn and the chance to destroy tokens. Ben started to favour the right flank with his units meaning I decided to favour the left as terrain was more open and if I could destroy some tokens on the right Ben would have a tricky job getting to the ones on the left.
I won the roll for first turn and took it, hoping to destroy all the tokens on the right flank forcing Ben to come all the way over to the far left flank to have a chance at winning the game.
Elf Turn 1
I thought winning first turn might be invaluable so decided to try and maximise my advantage by aggressively targeting the tokens on the right and setting up counter chargers if Ben responded by charging the token destroyers. The first token was targeted by my Drakon, Lord Amarynth, who sacrificed himself by standing in right front of two hungry giants and two Thull Mythicans to destroy the token near to Ben’s lines.
Ben had protected the second token I was targeting by scouting his swarm next to it. I didn’t want to sacrifice my Knights by moving into range of Ben’s charges so instead moved my Chariot (Feanor) up within range of the token and took aim with my Silverbreeze and Mage (Aeneas). The Knights moved to destroy the 3rd token which was bear my lines whilst positioning to charge in retaliation next turn along with the Spear horde and Seaguard Regiment.
On the left one token would be easy for Ben to destroy as it lay in his deployment zone. Another was safe from him as it was just in front of my deployment zone. The third was more difficult, I could move my silverbreeze into range of the token but nothing else, if Ben moved his Gigas up he could outnumber me and destroy the token in his turn. My only option was to reduce the odds of this occurring. I moved my Silverbreeze to block the gap between the building and board edge to prevent his Gigas or Knucker moving past. He’d need a 4 inch overrun with the Gigas if he committed them (there was a good chance they’d then die if they did) or a 5 inch overrun with his Knucker if he avoided committing the Gigas. My King, Palace Guard and Stormwind moved up to threaten the space around the key token.
Shooting started on the left where, despite being obscured by the Palace Guard, Alenui landed 5 hits on the Knucker 3 penetrating its scaly skin. The bolt thrower was less successful leaving the Gigas unscathed. On the right arrows and lightning rained down on the tidal swarm but somehow the tough shells repelled many blows and the swarm was just able to keep its nerve crucially preventing Feanor from destroying the 3rd token.
Trident Turn 1
The Knucker on the left charged the blocking Silverbreeze whilst the Gigas shuffled right and Eckter also ran right to position to block the Knights from moving against the Trident centre. In the centre the Thulls were pinned back by the units around the wood so only moved up slightly.
On the right both Giants couldn’t resist the opportunity to charge so Amarynth and Feanor were faced with the unenviable prospect of parrying a giant’s cleaver. With his remaining moves Ben started the process of swinging his units round to the left.
Combat began with a nervous roll as the Knucker rolled high on the nerve check and King Paweldran was too far away to help leaving my Silverbreeze to flee the field. All eyes were on the overrun roll but fortunately for the Elves Ben fell short of the 5 needed. Feanor’s chariot was hewn in two by the Giant but Amarynth was able to hold firm vs his Giant despite his spirit wavering.
Elf Turn 2
I was happy to see my gamble on the left had paid off and the objective marker had not been destroyed. To my surprise Ben had also opted not to destroy the marker in his deployment zone, hopefully he doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve I haven’t spotted. With the Knucker now in range I charged the Palace Guard in hoping to clear him off and give me a clear run at the Gigas. The Gigas had used their crab legs to get out of the Bolt Thrower’s sights so I advanced and pivoted to increase it’s arc of vision.
I decided to charge King Paweldran into Eckter if I landed a wound it would be a bonus as I expected him to move off rather than counter charge me next turn. The position left me able to see the Gigas next turn if I wanted to charge with him and the Palace Guard. The Stormwind and Forest Guard shuffled to improve their positioning hoping they could pin back Ben’s Thulls in the centre.
On the left Ben had decided not to move significant Unit Strength to contest the objective marker meaning my knights alone could still destroy it. I decided my best bet would be to use my one use of Pathfinder to go through the woods and out of the arc of most of Ben’s units. I was fairly sure Ben didn’t want Elven knights galloping around his rear and this move would allow me to destroy the token and delay him moving units round. To support this the Seaguard also moved into the wood to open up charge options next turn.
The Spears, mage and Silverbreeze all backed up hoping to slow down the Trident advance by limiting Ben’s charge options.
Alenui blessed the blades of the Palace Guard’s swords with a glowing nimbus light whilst most shooting clearing off the Swarm that had escaped my wrath last turn. Combat was straightforward as the Palace Guard carved the Knucker into pieces and King Paweldran failed to land a wound on Eckter.
Trident Turn 2
Ben needed to clear some units quickly on the right to give him space to move. One Giant went back into the Drakon to finish it off whilst the other charged the Silverbreeze in my deployment zone. The Mythicans moved to block up units, the one with the Gnome Glass Shield charged the Spear Horde and another went into the Knights on the right.
The Gigas on the left moved to block the Palace Guard from charging them, whilst Eckter put himself on the hill the Thulls hid behind. Most other units shuffled up ready to cause problems next turn. Shooting saw Eckter blast the Forest Guard pushing them out of the wood and causing some damage.
Combat started with the Mythican wading into the Spears causing 5 damage with his 5 attacks! The other Mythican landed a single wound on the Quicksilver Cav. Amarynth (Drakon Lord) was easily dispatched by one Giant while the other also managed to kill the Silverbreeze and then reform to face the Spear Horde’s flank! (I hadn’t accounted for this thinking if Ben charged my Silverbreeze with the Giant he’d be pulled out of position).
Elf Turn 3
The initial skirmishes has finished and although my plan had largely worked so far I’d struggled to get little things to go my way that would have made life very difficult for Ben. He had charges set up on my remaining units on the right. Now it would come down to him getting enough of his troops over to the left in time.
On the left my Cavalry and Seaguard continued to try and keep Ben occupied but the Cavalry were now trapped and would be pinned down next turn. After my mistake with positioning the Silverbreeze the Spear Horde were also likely to die next turn so I had to counter charge the Mythician and hope that they would at least build up some decent damage on him. The mage Aeneas used his full move to get far away from the giant and Mythicans hoping to come back into the game as a blocker later on.
The Palace Guard moved past the building so that they could fight the Gigas next turn whilst King Paweldran charged them in the rear to keep them in place and hopefully soften them up significantly for the Palace Guard. The Stormwind Cavalry were getting into a tricky place with Eckter likely to shut them down So I moved the Forest Guard up aggressively to help out with the Thulls.
Shooting was limited with Alenui using his lightning bolt to land a wound on Eckter. Combat started well for the Elves with Paweldran carving up the Gigas in the rear. It got even better, however, as the Elven Spearmen showed immense skill to drive holes in the Mythican’s Gnome Glass Shield, skewering the tentacled monstrosity. They then reformed to face the Giant so that if Ben wanted a flank charge he’d need to commit his Thulls from the centre away from the key objective markers on the left.
Finally the Stormwind Cavalry destroyed one of the markers on the left to reduce the number I needed to hold as Ben looked able to bring round enough of his army that I was starting to get nervous and would rather have the Stormwind sacrifice themselves to protect the Palace Guard than trying to keep them and a third token safe.
Trident Turn 3
Ben was now in position to finish off the right flank. Combo charges were issued on the Spears Horde and Quicksilver Cavalry. The Gigas also came out of hiding to charge the Palace Guard whilst a Mythican charged the flank of the Forest Guard. The remaining units started sprinting towards the left as fast as they could.
Combats went as expected with the Spears and the Knights selling their lives dearly knowing poets would write about their sacrifice for millennia. The Gigas did some damage on the Palace Guard whilst the Mythican managed to waver the Forest Guard.
Elf Turn 4
There was little left for me to do but try and hold on. With Ben having 3/4 turns left that was starting to look like it might be a challenge. The Palace Guard and King charged the Gigas which allowed me to save my bane chant for a desperate charge by my Stormwind on Eckter.
Aeneas and his Unicorn had to go at the double again to avoid the Giant whilst also getting on the hill to open up options next turn. The Forest Guard were fortunately able to pivot and block Ben up this turn whilst the Seaguard were basically dead so they moved out of the wood to pot shot Ben’s Thulls.
Alenui focused all his will on enhancing the swords of the charging Knights (their lances apparently useless because Eckter held a stick). The Seaguard also chipped a wound on the Thulls.
Combat saw the Gigas easily dispatched by the King and his Palace Guard. The major combat, however, saw the Stormwind surround Eckter stabbing and slashing at his hardened scales. Several blows struck true but alas Eckter ignored the damage and fought on.
Trident Turn 4
Ben was seizing control of the game. Eckter fled from the Stormwind’s Wrath his place taken by a Mythican. The Thulls moved up to get round the flank of the Palace Guard. In the centre the Thulls charged the Forest Guard whilst the Wyrmriders and Giant moved around them. The Knucker on the right and Mythican combined to charge the Seaguard.
Combat saw the Seaguard and the Forest Guard quickly perish. Hopes of an epic fail by the Mythican fighting the Stormwind were quickly quashed as it landed a couple of wounds to prevent the Knights being an unlikely saviour.
Elf Turn 5
Things were getting very desperate for the Elves. I was going to have to gamble on there being no turn 7 and even then I’d need some luck. The Wyrmriders and Giant coming from the south were an issue I couldn’t take a double charge this turn which ruled out my King charging the Wyrms. Instead I moved to block the Wyrms charging the Palace Guard using the building and stayed just out of the Giant’s charge range.
The north side of the building was even more challenging. The Thulls who had gotten around the side of the Palace Guard were a huge issue. I couldn’t do much about it this turn other than lightning bolt them and pray but I really needed to shutdown Eckter so Aeneas charged in off the hill whilst Alenui moved up to inspire the Stormwind. Finally the bolt thrower did the first useful thing all game and blocked the Giant from charging the Stormwind’s flank.
Shooting started well with Alenui casting Bane Chant on the Stormwind. Disaster struck, however, as Aeneas failed to cast Host of the Shadow Beast leaving him precariously in combat with Eckter! Combat unsurprisingly saw Aeneas’ single attack fail to wound Eckter. The Stormwind had better luck with a low damage roll being offset by a decent nerve roll wavering the Mythican.
I fear that victory was now out of my grasp and I’d now be holding on for fear life to salvage a draw.
Trident Turn 5
Ben had plenty of charges and happily went about enacting revenge on the elves for all manner of imagined slights. Eckter forgo using his Windblast to instead charge Aeneas and shut him down. The Wyrmriders charged King Paweldran, the Thulls into the Stormwind and the giant grumpily had to settle for the bolt thrower.
Combat saw Eckter land several wounds on Aeneas but a low nerve roll meant he could still act next turn. The Thulls aided by the Mythican’s TC aura wavered the Stormwind and the giant jumped up and down on the poor bolt thrower improving his mood immensely. The Wyrmriders having made a pact with the devil caused enormous damage on King Paweldran (11 vs an average of 6) but as always with these deals there was an unexpected clause in the contract and a double 1 for nerve left Ben aghast.
Elf Turn 6
I pivoted my Palace Guard to put the Thulls in my front arc. I was down to my last line of blockers so the mages Alenui and Aeneas drew their swords and moved in front of the Palace Guard. King Paweldran shaken but not deterred by the Wyrmrider’s vicious attack lowered his shield and raised his blade to the foul sea snakes.
Alenui targeted the wounded Mythican with his lightning bolt. Bolts flew through the air hammering into the beast’s tentacles blasting it from its feet leaving it wavered. In combat Paweldran cut deeply into several Wyrms but they remained unphased.
Trident Turn 6
Ben charged my remaining 3 individuals with his a Thull, Giant and Wyrms. The 2nd Giant and Thull Regiment combo charged the wavered Stormwind.
In the shooting phase Eckter used his windblast to push the Palace Guard back off one of the objectives allowing his Thull to claim it. Combat saw Alenui stand tall whilst Paweldran and Aeneas fell. Ben rolled for a turn 7 (I now ironically wanted) but my slim hopes died and the battle ended.
Trident Realms win 2-1.
King Paweldran looked out from the tower his torso heavily bandaged from the injuries he had suffered in the recent battle. His keen Elven ears heard the violent crashing of waves on the coastline. No traders would entrust their wares to be shipped in such dangerous conditions. The coffers of his kingdom would suffer as taxes fell. The raiders from the sea had done huge damage to the network of wards along the Coast it would take years to fully recover from the damage of one day. Tiring Paweldran returned to his bed, his dreams that night would once again be full of vengeance.
Conclusions and Recriminations:
Another thrilling game! Only this time it involved me spending most of it clinging on to a cliff edge gradually shuffling my fingers backwards. I definitely enjoy chasing more than I do defending a lead! I hope you enjoyed what was IMO a totally different game despite so many factors being the same as the last one.
Congratulations to Ben, I really like the extra speed he added to his list and he made less mistakes so was a deserved winner.
There were a few clear mistakes I made (plus a few more I’m sure I’ve missed) and some questions for me to ponder. In terms of mistakes turn 2 my Silverbreeze should have been pushed up so that if the Giant killed them it would have been stuck behind a rock thereby protecting the Spear’s flank and slowing him down. Turn 3 the Forest Guard should have angled to prevent the Thull regiment getting loose in the left. Ben wavered me next turn but he probably wouldn’t have gambled on putting the Thulls in such a dangerous position when he only had a Mythican to attack me with.
The big one, however, was a complete brain fail, Turn 6 I should have destroyed the top of my two tokens as Ben could easily push me off it and the Thulls would claim it. I was only thinking that it would be draw as I hadn’t thought about the Thulls claiming it for some reason. This would have salvaged a draw for me with the game ending turn 6.
It was interesting to play in a style that isn’t my preference. I’m usually looking to be aggressive and win by killing my opponent first then seeking objectives late game. I wonder to what extent my army list is suited to how I used it as sacrificing expensive units like the Drakon Lord early on may not be a viable tactic. I certainly tend to rely on shooting to stop Ben overwhelming my forces and I sorely missed a few turns of softening him up here. It felt like I’d sacrificed two turns of the game with how aggressively I moved turn 1 and this left Ben an awful lot of time to get across the board.
One thought I had to play differently was regarding where I deployed my Spears. I deployed them last just after Ben’s last unit. At this point I was fairly committed to being aggressive in killing tokens if I got first turn. The spears weren’t needed for this role and were hampered by terrain on the right. Ben’s army was fully down and I knew Eckter would be a problem, having two infantry hordes (my only real threat to him) facing him could have made a huge difference. My Spears could gone behind my Palace Guard and then both spreading out into the open area of the board.
I was really unhappy with having Aeneas (mounted mage) and King Paweldran separate, I didn’t want to do it and tried to put them both fairly central so that I could bring them together but instead they pulled apart as I needed them to do different jobs. Perhaps I should have moved Aeneas back to the left full speed turn 2 but I was focused on ensuring the swarm died and trying to clear off the Gnome Glass Shield as a bonus.
I feel like terrain (and how I managed it) was a huge factor in this game and I’m not entirely sure how to handle deploying on the top side of this map. I think both hordes probably have to go on the left and maybe both cavalry on the right to use the available gaps in terrain. It’s certainly something for me to ponder as the removal of potion of the caterpillar from the game has really limited my army’s options when it comes to terrain management.
Well that was interesting! Paul played a very different game to his usual dance and shoot play. He basically went with the same plan I’d discussed before, destroy your opponents scoring tokens and control the side where you’re strong and it very nearly worked! The fact he went first and pushed his units out meant he controlled the tokens but gave me lots of charges which my army loves. I think the dice were rolling hot as everything I touched seamed to die at first contact but that’s what a combat army can do.
For my army I liked the additional speed and it really helped in this game. I think the bane chant is a bit of a trap choice as your Thulls are speeding ahead and it’s hard to benefit from the aura and bane chant if you only move up 6 with the Mythican. I don’t think I missed the Naiad Centurion as the Mythicans are so good and if I use the 20 points from bane chant on other items I think I’ll get over not having the Naiad.
The scenery played a big part in the game as did Paul going first. This map had a lot of scenery and my list having 5 pathfinder units plus two Giants with Strider was very helpful. If I’d gone first I’d have been able to delete a few tokens and defend a few which would have changed the dynamic totally so going forward I need to plan for going second by improving my token placement, probably focusing on a more central placement so that I don’t end up so far away from the objectives I need.
Overall a fun game and one of the most one sided from a kill perspective for a while but as Paul showed as long as you’ve got control of the tokens you’re always still in the game.