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Olannon
02-06-2011, 20:35
As usual, the thread with integrated images can be found here: http://www.ulthuan.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=35318&p=717807#p717807

Just got home from my game against Vampire Counts! An interesting encounter, to say the least ;) I have never played against Vampire Counts before. Luckily, I knew more or less what to expect - many thanks to the battle reports in these forums by Swordmaster of Hoeth and others. Regardless, I was surprised to see a couple of their tricks pulled off. Anyway, on to the battle!

:: The Lords of the Dead ::

My new list:

Shadow Archmage, Silver Wand
Std. Prince
Mounted BSB, Radiant Gem of Hoeth, Luckstone (True Magic)

35 Spearelves, Gleaming Pennant
14 Archers, musician
11 Archers

18 Phoenix Guard, Banner of Sorcery
8 Silver Helms, full command
Standard DP hammer

2 Eagles
1 Repeater

His list:

Vampire Lord - +2PD, Helm-of-use-my-WS, 4+ ward stupid armour
Vampire - power stone, BSB
Necromancer - dispel scroll
30 Ghouls, champ
30 Ghouls, champ
30 Grave Guard, full command, banner of +1 to hit
1 Varghulf
1 Varghulf
1 Black Coach
1 Corpse Cart

:: Pre-battle thoughts & deployment::

Magic: I got Miasma, Enfeebling, Withering, Pit, Okkam's. BSB rolled a 4, swapping to Shield.

Definitely a solid list! We rolled Battle Line (yet again playing that scenario!), I won the roll-off to choose sides. Here, I made the worst decision in the entire game. Please take a moment and look at the deployment. Before reading on, can you see why this was the case?

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Deployment.jpg

At the time, I was happy with sides and deployment. I was a little worried by all the terrain in the middle but figured I'd be able to handle it. Despite him finishing first, I won the roll-off and got the first turn.

:: High Elves Turn 1 ::

Cautious movement from my side, probably a little too much so. Terrible angling of the Dragon Princes, allowing an exploit which he promptly took.

Magic sees me Miasma his Grave Guard to -3M and Enfeeble them to -2S. I also got Drain Magic through. His Black Coach ate 1 of my dice. Shooting did nothing what-so-ever.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_1_Curu_Olannons_Shadow_Vindicators.jp g

:: Vampire Counts Turn 1 ::

His Lord jumped from Grave Guard to Skeletons - he now had all characters in this little bunker behind his main combat units. His Varghulf exploited my Dragon Princes mistake, moving up outside of their charge arc. I should know better the way I use Eagles. The rest of his movement is very cautious.

Magic, and we roll 5v5 after channels. He then shows +4PD from his characters. Man, I'm in for another run of relentless magic. The result of his phase isn't too bad though, many thanks to Drain Magic, and I lose 4 Phoenix Guard in total.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_1_Vampire_Counts.jpg

:: High Elves Turn 2 ::

My DP roll up towards his Varghulf at full speed, stopping 1" ahead. I was hoping to go around him next turn. Phoenix Guard reform to 5 models per rank (which is the maximum size I can get into the gully with). The rest of my moves set up for turn 3 charges.

Magic - I dispel Curse of Years on the Phoenix Guard. Black coach eats 2 dice. The rest of my phase between this is useless as everything's dispelled.

Shooting is excellent - his Corpse Cart is destroyed!

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_2_Curu_Olannons_Shadow_Vindicators.jp g

:: Vampire Counts Turn 2 ::

I declare Potion of Strength to keep him from charging my Dragon Princes. This works perfectly as no charge is declared there. His Ghouls charge my Eagle though, which blocked both them and the Varghulf in my last turn, shielding my Prince. In hindsight, I should've moved the unit up more aggressively and only blocked his Varghulf. His combat blocks move up and his Black Coach dodges away from my likely charge range.

Magic - he gets 12 dice, I get 6. A couple of casts into the phase which I dispelled, he miscasts on 3D6! The result is a '3' and he promptly rolls a '1' - killing the Vampire Lord. At this point, he simply concedes the game.

However, since we were this short into the game and had spent some time getting there and all, we decided to continue. This gave me an opportunity to learn about Vampires as well as my new list while already having the win. Besides, playing is all about the fun anyways.

In combat, his Ghouls easily killed the Eagle and reformed to face my Cavalry.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_2_Vampire_Counts.jpg

:: High Elves Turn 3 ::

My Spearelves are now 9" away from his Grave Guard. I figure I can charge them and decimate them pretty hard now, if I can get support from Olannon. However, I assume he carries a dispel scroll. I am prepared to let another round pass before getting serious magic support - hoping the Spearelves have what it takes to get through it. Anyways, I roll a measly 3 on the 2D6 for a failed charge. My Prince had declared a charge on his Varghulf which he promptly made. What use was this when the Spearelves weren't in combat? Oh my... My Helms reform to get away from the Ghouls and the Dragon Princes shuffle 4" back (big mistake, should've continued their original path and hoped he'd roll poor for charge distance or just take it and wheather it on steadfast LD9). The Phoenix Guard move into the gully. The remaining Eagle flies into the middle to prevent charges before I'm ready. Another big mistake - I want him to charge me. Charging him means there's one combat phase before his magical support. Doing it the other way means it's only 1. He didn't have any chance of combo-charging either, due to the terrain.

Magic does nothing important, his Black Coach eating up a few dice and now being at full strength. Shooting is likewise disappointing.

In combat I take a single wound off the Varghulf for none in return. He loses by 2 (charge + wound) but this is reduced to 1 because of his BSB. I probably should've called for Loec here, simply to finish him off. Another mistake.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_3_Curu_Olannons_Shadow_Vindicators.jp g

:: Vampire Counts Turn 3 ::

Double-charge on the Eagle. Various reforms against Saerith.

Magic sees Ghouls vanhels'd into Saerith and Invocation of Nehek replenishes wounds all over the place. While he keeps throwing 2 dice it's very hard for me to keep the dispelling up. He also summons a unit of Zombies out of my Dragon Princes' charge arc, also preventing me the perfect wheel to get behind his main combat units.

In combat the Eagle dies, of course, and they reform. Saerith is beaten by combat resolution and flees a mighty 12" - through both his Grave Guard and Ghouls! No wounds though, and he stops safely on the other side.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_3_Vampire_Counts.jpg

:: High Elves Turn 4 ::

My Spearelves charge his Ghouls and the Phoenix Guard move to intercept his Grave Guard, preventing a counter-charge. I needed one unit in combat to draw out the inevitable Dispel Scroll. I wanted my Phoenix Guard to wait due to being relatively few. I was hoping I could win heavily with the Spears and bring in Saerith the next turn around. Saerith rallies. My Dragon Princes finally perform their manoevre around his flank, far too late. Due to the Zombies from last turn, I was further away than I'd hoped.

Magic draws out his dispel scroll: it was 9 v 6 dice and I started with The Withering on 4 Dice. He scrolled this and used his 6 dice to dispel a poor 5-die attempt at Okkam's. Now, I just had to hold out...

Shooting kills a couple of Zombies, due to no better targets presenting themselves.

Combat - I win by a little margin with the Spearelves and he loses an additional couple of Ghouls. It would've been a lot more had they not had WS7 from his Lord.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_4_Curu_Olannons_Shadow_Vindicators.jp g

:: Vampire Counts Turn 4 ::

His Grave Guard charges my Phoenix Guard. The Varghulf attempts to charge the Dragon Princes, needing 8+ on 2D6. It ends up being 1" too short though, and I breath a sigh of relief. His forces in the rear turn around and move to intercept my cavalry. Strangely enough, his Skeleton bunker has their Rear towards my Prince... I'm thinking he just wants to keep feeding me Skeletons for the rest of the game, as I probably can't eat through them fast enough. Regardless, at the time it seemed like a good thing to do - didn't want him against the Grave Guard without serious support. Still, I had the Ghouls to flank-charge.

Magic - Curse of Years dispelled on Spears. He then casts Vanhels on his Ghouls until I fail to dispel.

Combat - Phoenix Guard lose due to musician but hold (casualties were 4 v 1). My Spears lose badly to Ghouls because of ASF AND re-roll to hits. They flee, even with Gleaming Pennant. This ruins my Dragon Princes' charge at the Ghouls' rear. Adding insult to injury, Saerith fails his panic test as I roll two 6's. The Spearelves escape though.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Turn_4_Vampire_Counts.jpg

The rest of the game was, as you can pretty much guess, fairly one-sided. My Spearelves reformed but Okkam's was dispelled again. The Phoenix Guard eventually broke, unable to keep up with his constant heals. Saerith rallied and survived the game - despite of having to roll a 4- test on his turn 6. The Dragon Princes were combo-charged to death.

:: Victory Points ::

As he conceded early on, it was originally a massacre in my favour. The way it played out, ignoring the miscast - he won big: my Spearelves, Naenor, Dragon Princes and Phoenix Guard were all dead. In return, I had killed a Corpse Cart and 2 units of Zombies.

:: Evaluation ::

Iniesta's a strong player and makes few mistakes, at least few which I'm able to exploit. In return, I made plenty of them this game. The biggest one was the deployment - the rocks in the middle ruined all my opportunities for combo-charging him. If I had chosen the other side it would have been a million times easier to avoid the grinds which wore me down. The way it played out, he was able to easily protect his flanks and get a very favourable grind in the middle.

My use of Cavalry was particularly poor in this game - I played them way too cautiously and the angles were terrible way too often. There are, however, 2 events which likely could've changed things:

1. My Spearelves hitting his Grave Guard instead of failing to roll 4+ on 2D6. This would've forced the dispel scroll a lot sooner and would've let me have much more magical freedom later on.
2. Him getting Vanhels through on Ghouls - breaking the Spearelves. Had they held, it would've been very interesting come my turn around: Dragon Princes and Saerith in against them could've crumbled a lot, maybe all.if they'd all crumbled I could've overrun into the Grave Guard.

These were longshots though, but my best chances after a poor start.

About the fact that I actually won this game - going as magic heavy as he does does not come without risk. Even on low-casting strats you will blow up every now and then, as I've so painfully experienced myself recently. I should've used Drain Magic more offensively to force him to use more dice. He frequently took a wound on his Lord to gain a die, only to replenish it on a cheap spell.

Vampire Counts are very relentless. In magic, their ability to cast as many times as they want is insane. In combat, they just never go away. Because of this, I needed to shut down one big thing at a time and then proceed to the next. Poor deployment and lots of mistakes made this impossible to accomplish.

In hindsight I would've tried the following: Pick the other side, get my cavalry far up as soon as possible. This would've meant him needing to do some daring movement to prevent combo-charges from my side. Also, I would've deployed with more focus on combat and less on shooting. Though my firebase took out the Corpse Cart, it would've been way better to have my combat units in proper positions. The following image demonstrates how my position could've looked like as early as Turn 1, movement complete:

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l200/Olannon/2500_VC_Ideal_pos.jpg

The Eagles would've prevented the most dangerous charges with proper angling, allowing me lots of options come my Turn 2.

As to the performance of the list - I like the way it plays! Magic was hampered a lot because I frequently had to dispel Curse of Years AND his Black Coach usually stole 2 of my dice - negating much of the benefit from the Banner of Sorcery. Phoenix Guard impressed me and I think no other elites would've accomplished the same: both Swordmasters and White Lions would've been grind down.

Trains_Get_Robbed
03-06-2011, 06:52
You need a support level 2 in your list man, even if its mounted to keep with the theme and thrown in with the S.Helms, taking H.E magic and throwing the Shenanagians on the S.H bus or spears etc. . . but more importantly for the use of of an additional arcane item's slot.

A Scroll, or Annulian Crystal would help you so much its not even funny. This is 4th game I haev read in which against a heavy magic army, you have gotten maybe 1 crucial spell off. The mantra of I get magic or we both get none, is best sought after.

Gabacho Mk.II
06-06-2011, 04:01
Could it be implied that your list doesnt fare well vs. VC? (assuming, of course, that his general doesnt DIE!) ;)

Olannon
06-06-2011, 15:49
Trains - point about magical defense taken. Against +4PD a dispel scroll isn't going to do much though. The crystal is somewhat circumstantial. I decided on a different role altogether ;)

Gabacho - I don't think so. It remains to be seen! This battle would've surely been lost had his General not died. Mind you, it was my first game against VC ever..

Malorian
08-06-2011, 17:30
Sucks when your vampire general kills himself but it's just something you have to accept and take when it comes up.

I would definately say that VC are one of the best armies to take you on as they can claw down your knight after they absorb the initial charge.

Olannon
09-06-2011, 17:48
Yep, absorbing Knights is a bit of a problem you could say...