Friday, January 29, 2016

Battle for Bremen's Run

This 1500 point battle report between the Dwarfs and the Empire comes from Volker over at Volker's Training Ground. Keep up the good work, Volker!

There’s gold in them there hills. Well, at least iron, but to the people of Bremen’s Run, with its dwindling fish stocks and recent invasions of pine beetles, that was as good as gold. Now, if only those stubborn Dwarves would withdraw their claim.
        Well, it was not my idea of an army boys, but the mining guild was paying me enough that I would take even rag-tag bunch they sent me. First were a small group of scouts from Bremen. Despite a generation away from the Steppes, these were still horsemen. Next came the guild representatives, each carrying one of those strange guns. I tell ye true, when they shot, a man could see naught but smoke and flames, but for all that, they rarely seemed to kill anything. 
        My own Winged Lancers would form the core of the army. Two groups of young nobles, hoping to claim a piece of the mine for themselves also rode with us. Last were five of the heavy laborers the guild employs, and a couple of wizards drawn by rumors of an unknown creature which supposedly inhabited a lake near the mountain. (7 Horse Archers, 4 Outriders plus champ, 14 Winged Lancers with standard-Dread Banner, plus champ and general-warhorse, lance, pistol heavy armor, 2X6 pistoliers, 5 ogres, 1st level and 2nd level wizard-on warhorses with lances and pistol, 1500 points, campaign rules me- 2 villages and a sacred grove, him- 2 villages and a treasure trove).
        It should have been easy. All we had to do get to our mountain, and put on a big enough show of force that the Stunties would decide it was not really worth attacking. However, as my friend Murphy says if something seems easy, you obviously don’t know what’s going on. Such was the case here. The damn Goldgathers were dug in and waiting for us. You know how the rock lovers are when they smell a profit, even the war-eagles cannot match their pace then.
        Attacking a Dwarf force which has had to time to prepare is almost always suicide, even more so with an army of light and medium cavalry, but the Guild ordered it, so we did. On my left were the Outriders and Ogres, moving through a small alley between a low rock wall, and a watch tower. One group of Pistoliers were in front of my Lances who advanced on the other side of the tower, beside us were the horse archers and the second group of pistoliers. From left to right, the Stunties had, a group of slayers who blocked the approach of the Ogres, the Dwarf general and his bodyguard, a strange device that sprouted gouts of flame, a goup of Crossbows on a hill, and a second group of Slayers at the base of the hill, blocking my advance. As it was already late afternoon, the battle would have to be decided quickly (4 turns were rolled).
        I gave the order to advance, but before we could move, the Horse Archers were destroyed by a volley of crossbow bolts, and the cursed cannon had covered my Lancers in flame. Seeing the Archers destroyed, both groups of the effeminate nobles (pistoliers) decided to flee. One fled the field completely , and the other moved so far away as to be unable to rejoin the battle. In response, the much lauded guns of the Guild managed to kill 2 Slayers, and the mage burned another with a ball of flame (my first ever successfully cast spell in a game of Warhammer-yeah!). Everything else advanced, but not quickly enough, and that cannon again sprouted flame. Together with the crossbows, it reaped a gory harvest, and of my lancers, only myself, the standard bearer and champion were left. The Outriders managed to make a lot of noise but not drop a single slayer (short range, no move, 2 hits, 0 wounds). The remnants of my lancers managed to reach the cannon and slay its crew, but the ogres were locked in against the slayers and nothing could be accomplished. At this point, I sounded the retreat as night was falling. (It was only the end of the 3rd turn, but I had nothing that could even charge the last turn, so the game was for all intents and purposes over.) (Though the final score was close, the game wasn’t) 
        Knowing that the Dwarves would push on to the village, I gathered the survivors and rushed back, hoping to catch the stunties in a Flank Attack. I personally rushed ahead to summon the militia (armies as above, the Ogres, and Pistoliers would form the flanking group).
        We caught the Stunties just coming out of the valley before the village. My winged lancers set up behind a hill on the west of the field, out of sight of his crossbows and flame cannon, behind them was the L1 wizard, beside him a small shed, then horse archers, L2 wizard, and the outriders. Halfway between the forces on the eastern side of the field was a watchtower connected by fences to a pair of houses. His slayers set up opposite my winged lancers, beside that in order were the hammerers, flame cannon, x-bows (again on a hill) and the slayers.
        Everything advanced. The Outriders taking up firing positions behind the fence. Here, I made a mistake. Misjudging the power of the Flame Cannon I order the wizard to break cover from behind the tower so he would have a site line to his target. When the Flame Cannon erupted, he along with 2 horse archers was destroyed. (Which lead to a question, if a wizard has cast a spell which remains in play, and then he dies, does the spell go away? Not that it mattered as I forgot the Outriders had Bless on them. AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!) Two more horse archers fell to crossbow bolts, somehow, they managed to hold. Then they are charged the Flame Cannon (and in the bottom of the 4th turn, finally killed the last crew member). The Outriders, managed to kill 3 dwarves all game, so they will no longer be mentioned. The Winged Lancers charged the Slayers and managed to kill 1 on the charge (Great! Probably would have helped to roll the horse attacks [I forgot them every time]). The hammerers tried to charge the Lances, but decide the Banner is just too dreadful and sat still. Then the ogres and pistoliers showed up. Things were looking good. The Lancers managed to finish off the slayers, then fled rather than be flank charged by the hammerers. The Ogres fail a charge against the crossbows, allowing the Dwarves a chance to reform. The Pistoliers move into position to flank charge the Hammerers, who turn to face them, exposing their flank to the winged lances. Here was my second mistake. Seeing the sun was setting (final turn) and feeling I needed to turn the battle around, the ogres charged the crossbows, the pistoliers and winged lances charged the hammerers. (This was a mistake, I have lost many models, [1 horse archer left, 2 outriders left] but only the 2nd level wizard was worth any points. I had killed the flame cannon and a unit of slayers, so I was winning by about 80 points, which would have been a cheap win, but my first win none the less). Instead, the ogres manage 1 wound (WS 3 hurts), break and run. The Pistoliers were cut down by a runic axe (master rune of swiftness, +1 attack, +1 str) which struck five times and killed 4 men. The lancers clipped a tree, throwing their own ranks into disorder, so they failed to kill a single hammerer and fled along with the pistoliers.(All I can say is Oooppps.) {The final score wasn’t close, but the game was, heck, as above I could actually have won [though it would have a really cheap and silly way to do so]) 
        The village of doomed and all we could do was retreat behind a line of watch towers (now occupied by wizards) which marked the old border. There will now be war. The Dwarves are angry that the Empire tried to take ‘their’ mountain. The villagers are upset about losing both their village and the mountain. Of course, since the Dwarves and Empire are both GOOD GUYS, we all know this is just some magic driven plot by a crazed, EVIL nercomancer to gain more subjects for himself.
Lessons Learned
1) Dwarves can shoot.
2) Light and Medium Cavalry can be easily shot to shyte.
3) A combination of points 1 and 2 equals a bad day for the cav army. (I
don’t think the army was that bad, just this was a bad match up for it.
I was actually expecting play against Undead.)
4) Mobility isn’t worth that much in short games or when the avenues of
approach are very clear (easy to concentrate fire on).
5) WS is an important stat regardless of what anyone says (WS 4 vs. WS3)
is a great advantage.
6) If you forget the advantages of your army, you are hooped. example-
Warhorses do have attacks.
7) I need more practice.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wood Elf Tactics pt 1 by Rich

This article is submitted by Rich and was originally posted on the Athel Loren website. Go visit htose guys, they are great!

WOOD ELVES: What Kind of Army Is it?
From a general view, the WE army appeals to a player wishing to avoid direct combat, wishing to out manuever any enemy, who would rather focus on coordinated attacks than getting stuck in any battle for too long and who is comfortable with a lack of core blocks of offensive units and prefers multiple small units of special attack units all of which must act in unison. It is one of the most unconventional armies in WHFB.
STRENGTHS: Chariots with 4 horses (3crew), increased archery range, ability of calvery to charge repeatedly, treemen, wide variety of special characters, only flying calvery in game, waywatchers hide ability, great scouting potential, wierd and wonderful dances of wardancers and aspects of Dryads. THE ABSOLUTE BEST MANUEVEABILITY esp. . .in woods. Ariel!
WEAKNESSES: A very very fragile army, doomed if the enemy controls the flow of the battle! Lack of armor, high cost troops with low strength mean you will have few units that can really get stuck in with orcs, dwarfs or even knights for that matter. Strength 3 attacks save treemen (280 pts), dryads (35pts a piece) and of course calvery and chariots.
PICKING TERRAIN: Remember WE's always add an additional piece of terrain. There is a tendancy to always use the extra woods to hide scouts near the enemy. Think of all the possibilities. . .Your goal is to slow down your opponent and to make him guess what is coming. A well placed forest in deployment zone can have a general wondering what you are fielding until the glorious WE charge. Rivers are useful because they can take up to two turns to cross, leaving lots of time to arch arch arch. Buildings are always a plus, exp the one with the roof and battlements from CoW, that allows archery without fear of flying creatures. Remember that a forest can be a wonderful place to hide from flying death heroes on mega monsters. Give yourself a chance to combat when you are ready. Woods also now destroy the line of sight of mages!!!!!
DEPLOYMENT: The only question you should ask after deployment is can my opponent reasonable predict how the battle is going to unfold because of how or what I deployed? WE's need never to tip their hand this way. First, deploy whatever you can in woods so that the opponent will not know what you have fielded until YOU decide. Second, I tend to deploy wardancers behind and slightly off to the side of an attack unit. They can bound over and deal a devastating attack. Against armies without shooters, think of wardancers upfront. . .with fast moving chariots, glade riders etc behind. . ..Start the enemy day off with shadow coil followed next turn by a nice nice flank or read charge. Remember, you won't have rank bonuses often set up to deliver flank or rear charges for your main combat units. Scouts are interesting. . .I tend to field them behind enemy lines whenever possible because they can both attack the rear or pepper with arrows. I would field them in my own deployment zone with fast moving armies that field a large number of units . . . .If you don't shoot them down the first turn you are in trouble. SPREAD OUT in deployment. Your units are fast, have high leadership and don't need to present concetrated targets. Deploy so archery can be concentrated or can cover the vast track of the board. Remember flyers can not land in forests, protect as many archers as you can with this fact! Most mportantly, don't be afraid to run, esp through woods at your oppnent or away from him.

CHARIOTS: WE charriots are phemoninal. 4 horses with attacks, 3 crewmen and sctyhed wheels. Yes, expensive but worth it against armies with knights. Most armies will not be able t shoot apart your charriots prior to their devastating charge. Take spears for the extra strength on impact.
GLADE RIDERS: Often misunderstood. . . .They are not good heavy calvery as their str 3 gets in the way. Their lack of armor suggests avoiding prolonged battles. They are at their best delivering crushing flank attacks, feign flighting while another unit engages and delivery another and another charge. You can also move frenzied troops back way away from the battle line by sneaking up on them, forcing the charge, then feigning flight BEFORE ANY combat, and just continuing untilt he frenzied troops play no role in the game!! Best used to lure frenzied troops into a woods and away from the crux of the battle, exp savage orcs with shamans . Bows on glade riders are usually not worth the points, unless their fast movement can take them close to an unprotected target that is screened. Think about adding a character on a unicorn. 4+ dispell for unit AND the character can't feign flight. Sound bad, nope, that means if the character does not flee you will be able to recharge the next turn!!
WARHAWK RIDERS: Flying Calvery at its Finest. Expensive and Fragile, they server the purpose of providing your characters with a unit for "look out sir rolls" of flyers that are calvery, so you can't just kill monster. Armed with bows they can pick apart witch elves, etc that hide behind armored troops. With spears they go warmachine picking. If bolstered by characters this unit can be amazing, otherwise, leave at home. One great use of the birds is to flank or rear attack!!! Only one model actually needs to fight the unit being flanked as warhawk riders are scirmishers. Be very careful not to get driven off or flee.
WARDANCERS: Amazing troops for a variety of special functions but definately not your main combat force! natch 4 dispel and dodge can be useful. Use 2 hand weapons. Uses: Great for taking out character models with no armor and relatively low toughness. 20 attacks with 5 even at str 3 on a single character in the front rank <10 wardancers using storm of blades> is frigtening. Shadow coil charges can set up enemy for devastating flank and rear charges that turn or next. Remember, enemy characters are in front rank, thus, shadow coiling into front rank and then attacking with treemen or dryads in flanks, rear will break most units and cause there to be a lot less casulties to you. Woven mist is amazing against low ld troops that stray too far from their general. Blades of Steel I tend to avoid unless charging a small unit. Remember str 3 attacks are not going to clear the front rank of most units, and with toughness 3 and no armor, after your attack you will be punished. Wardancer champions can be fabulous character assassins. With shadow coil ensuring they can charge and not be harmed and storm of blades, wardancer champions ensure that they can deliver the gem of gnar, three or four attacks of a weapon suited to destroying your opponent. Immune psychology with the right champion makes Wardancers perfect for harrassing the big herohammer models.
ARCHERS: Don't undervalue these guys for scouts. At 11 pts vs. 16 you get some bargain with BS 4 and a range of 36". Remember! short range is 18" that is simply amazing. Their ability to form tight regiments in close combat and use a magic standard are extremely useful. Think about a regiment with the banner of wraith. If you were bold enough to charge, you might face 20 shots!!!
GLADE GUARDS: For 9 pts you might be thinking they are expensive, BUT they truley are wonderful because of their high inititive. IF you can take the charge, round after round you will have good attacks. Still, these troops will move no mountains for you.
WAYWATCHERS: Best archers in game. Special Deployment, 4+ needed to shoot at, charge or cast at them, traps! BS 5 ensures plenty of hits. Remember traps only go off if the enemy unit is attempting to charge the waywatchers not just get through the woods. Hence, traps and their potential devastating results tend to keep enemy units from attacking the waywatchers at all. Hail of Doom Arrow is a nice item for the Unit's champion. Pipes of Doom is excellent against Bretonians. After all, charge them in the woods and face traps or accept they are knocking you off your horses turn after turn. 18pts is a bargain for these guys.
SCOUTS: Well, they are no waywatchers, but they can really control the tempo of the game. By deploying last, you can shoot, surprise the enemies flanks long enough so that the attacking troops break the unit or offer the enemy the choice, change direction and attack this threat or pursue crashing into the battleline head-on and assume the casulties from these dead eyes.
TREEMEN: 280pts a pop better make you think twice about fielding too many! Str 6 is good but not amazing, toughness 7 and the unmodifiable save really make the difference. Just pick weak st targets and maul them. Great for flanking as it has the wounds to destroy rank bonus. BEWARE OF FIRE. Low init and sucep to fire make this guy dangerous to play against war machines and casters. One of best uses against skaven is to destroy the bell, possibly doing that thng which dagames their eardrums and wipes out a good amount of their troops. Against chariots, I use the wardancers shadow coil with the treemen attacking next turn to tree wack the structure.
DRYADS: The real beef of the wood elf attack force. Str. 4 Toughness 4 2 attacks and 2 wounds is nice. So is a 5+ save vs magic and attacks. Aspect uses are self explanitory. I often like to use dryads as the force that attacks my enemy's front. Oak aspect gives WE's a rare toughness 5 or str 5 creature. Willow can be devastating esp on flank and rear attacks where there are no multiple attack characters. Dryads and wardancers coordinate nicely in making coordinated attacks. I only use the extra attack (birch aspect) on the charge if I think that will break my enemy.

Orion: Lots of Attacks for a WE, lots of wounds, 4+ unmod save and dispel. Orion is perfectly suited to take out knights and large monsters. Throw the spear and watch knights drop. Solitary characters watch out. The horn of the Wild Hunt is wonderful at chewing up your opponent's dispells. After all, even a ld10 unit will get scared 1 of 6 times. With the flyers of the WE's you can count on that being lethal.
Ariel: WOW. Ariel has a 4+ unmod save and dispel. She can fly and thus can move around to make the best use of two of the most powerful mage items: acorns of oak of ages 12" diameter forest (get flyers,chariots, war machines etc caught up in the forest and they can't do anything!!!!) I once got Thanquel and his bell stuck in this forest. If they moved the bell would break and Thanquel would be stuck guarding a broken bell until the end of the game. Her wand allows you to cast one spell of hers (determined at begin of game) free of cost each of your magic phases. Combine this with her power to fly and you have a lot of 3 power spells coming your way. Her wine will restore her wounds assuring that if she does get a round of hard hth she can hold her own. Dart is fabulous against nasty mounts and gives Ariel a much better chance of living until she can cast some nasty spell at the mounted hero who decided to attack.
NAIETH: Buy her for her items. Rod allows Ariel to have one more power card besides her wand (better stock up on dispells). Othu for 15pts can make all the difference in getting the shots off you need to cause panic!
THALANDOR: A General/Mage perfect for small battles. His equipment makes it unlikely you will ever damage him but does little to help offensively. Nice that it is a spear and you get the +1 str when you charge. Very few normal hits will even get through the two layers of magical saves. Nice protection for the Eagle so Thalandor won't wind up on foot.
Lothlann: 5+ save 12" around is not a great save esp under the one save rule. Not bad though.
Durthu: Unmod 4+save. Sprites are fun so is this guys enormous st and toughness. FOr 90 pts though you could get a dragon with similar stats, more attacks and a breath weapon. I leave him at home.
WYHCHWETHYL: Wish I could take something besides that damn drum. Being able to pick opponent is great. You can get 4 str 4 attacks on a character fig every other round (Blades of Steel). Dance of Doom is devastating against such things as archers. Of course gettng wardancers to archers is a problem. Again, I'd use a normal wardancer champion and custom tailor the item he took to reflect my enemy.
Drycha: WOW for 60 pts 3 st 5 attacks with a 4+ save vs weapons, spells and magic weapons. With oak aspect she has almost the hitting power of a treeman. Her song is deadly against such things as giants.
Skaw: What an ASSASSIN. The falcons are wonderful at picking off enemy mages and in time will kill them. Also, Skaw is incredible at taking a charge. (2 st 4 and 3 str 3 attacks) all of which are first strike. Falcons ability to fight in hth is nice. Basially, skaw is used to peg enemy wizards or other unarmored threats. Ability to deploy with scouts guarantees that from round 1 he will be in range to have falcons pick off enemy's vulverable wizards and other unarmored characters.
I'm tired and I know this is not my best work but it is a start other parts on WE's to come. . . .
Sincerely, Rich

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