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Last night saw a rematch between Strange and myself! This time his list featured a Level 4 Light Wizard, which in my opinion makes it that much stronger. To manage this, he needed to get rid of a few things so a couple of changes were made. I also realized I could swap the points around a little - ditching the Talisman of Protection and Ironcurse Icon to include the Gleaming Pennant on Swordmasters!
Anyways, without further ado:
:: My Might Cannot Be Matched ::
The lists -
:: High Elves ::
Saerith with GW, AoC, Vambraces, Loec, Star Dragon - 622
BSB Naenor with Sword of Might, HoF, Shield, Dragon Armour, Great Eagle - 208
Olannon with Level 2, Annulian Crystal - 175
Characters - 1005
30 Archers, Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flames - 365
15 Archers, Musician - 170
10 Spearelves - 90
Core - 625
26 White Lions, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness, Amulet of Light - 450
14 Swordmasters, Bladelord w/Skeinsliver, Musician, STD w/Gleaming Pennant - 270
Special - 720
3 Great Eagles - 150
Rare - 150
Total - 2500
:: Tomb Kings ::
Level 4 Wizard - Nehekara, Earthing Rod
Level 4 Wizard - Light, Scroll
20 Archers, FC
5 Horse Archers
5 Light Cavalry
35 TG, FC
30 TG, FC, Halberds
Casket of Souls
:: Pre-battle thoughts & deployment::
Magic: I rolled Vaul's and Curse. Pretty decent, considering my spells were all fairly useful. He originally got neither Pha's nor Timewarp, but since this was a tryout for this type of list I suggested he simply re-roll for Lore of Light spells - after all you only miss out on BOTH of those spells like 1 in a hundred games (yes, he rolled 2,3,4,5). He ended up grabbing Shem's, Pha's, Speed and Banishment. Nehekara got 0,3,4,5.
This time around, I knew Tomb Kings a lot better so I had a better idea of how to approach this. I do think his list was a lot stronger though, so it would be interesting! Terrain wasn't as favourable as last time, but I reckoned I could do ok. My goal was to force his Sphinx through a Gauntlet of shooting + magic if it wanted to reach something valuable and save my infantry for when the monster had been killed. The terrain meant that the centre would be pretty crowded but in this situation my mobility, Eagles and supreme hitting power per frontage really shine so I was confident I could handle this.
As usual, my +2 ensured me first turn!
:: High Elves Turn 1 ::
Ok so last encounter taught me that the Sphinx needs to die before I commit my Lions. As such I decided to keep both units of infantry behind my main lines, advancing the Archers to get LoS and range to the big beast. Saerith moved West, basically to force him to make a tough choice - provide me with a really good charge on the Chariots and draw him out, or pull them back and basically never have them able to interfere with my flank. Naenor moved in the same direction to provide that crucial re-roll where it mattered most. Eagles moved to waiting positions, eager to play their usual roles once I needed them.
Magic came up 7v5 - I cast Drain on a very good roll on 3D6 which he fails to dispel with 4D6. I then cast Curse on his Sphinx on another good roll and the scroll comes out. So far, so good!
Shooting sees all my 45 shots target the Sphinx. The result is 2 wounds, but he saves them both.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 1 ::
So he moves up his 2 blocks and the Sphinx fairly fast (for being Undead at least). Chariots decide to back off, after a couple of minutes worth of contemplating. I think that he really considered giving them up - this would basically force my hand and commit either both flyers (for Light of Death protection) or none to the Western flank - leaving anything happening on my Eastern flank a big gamble (LD8 terror tests...).
Magic came up 7v4 and he debuffs my big Archers with -1S, -1T. I dispel a Pha's bubble on 4v4D6.
Shooting sees him kill 6 Archers, 3+ to wound hurts!
:: High Elves Turn 2 ::
Since Saerith's move saved the Western flank from any trouble, I move him and Naenor back to a central position. The Lions move out of the house and the Spears move up to block his light cavalry. The Swordmasters move to a flanking position while an Eagle blocks his Sphinx.
Magic is 3v3 and he barely dispels curse!
Shooting sees me put 3 wounds on the Sphinx and this time he only saves 1.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 2 ::
Sphinx charges blocking Eagle (I pass Terror due to LD10), the Light cavalry decide to test their luck against my Spears. The rest move up but it's painfully obvious that it's getting very crammed very quickly.
Magic is a huge 12v8. He starts with Smiting on the sphinx, which I fail to dispel by 1 on 3v4D6. He then debuffs my big Archers again AND gets a Pha's bubble up. I dispel Light of Death.
Shooting again kills 6 Archers and I pass my panic test.
Combat sees him barely (!) kill the Eagle, despite Smiting. He elects to overrun, hoping for that 11+ to catch my Archers but only getting a '4' and a '2'. My Spears win, crumble them and reform to face the Horse Archers blocking my Lions.
:: High Elves Turn 3 ::
Saerith and Swordmasters into Sphinx, Spears into Horse Archers. Eastern Archers with Olannon move up for support. Central Archers reform (18 left), as do the Lions (to fit in - diagram a little misleading). I move my Western Eagle in a move which is basically meant to force him to commit and allows me to either charge the Casket (and pray I get lucky) or block something in the middle of the upcoming fight. I forgot to move Naenor this turn, which was hugely annoying.
Magic is 6v6. I opt for a 3x 2D6 casting strategy which sees Curse on his Tomb Guard get through. I could arguably have done 3+3 here, but he only really fears Drain in my opinion and he knows this.
Shooting kills a couple of Tomb Guards.
Combat sees the Swordmasters manage the crucial 4 wounds needed (even with Pha's their amazing amount of attacks gave me enough hits to score those 4 6's) and I reform them to screen Saerith, while he reform to face middle. My plan here was to see how he'd react with his rearmost Archers (they contained both casters) - the central Archers weren't too far away and they had no champion...
Spears kill and crumble all Horse Archers.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 3 ::
His Tomb Guard try and charge Saerith - they need a 10+ and promptly fail. The other Tomb Guards charge the blocking Eagle (I didn't dare letting them straight into Swordmasters - if they'd won he could've overran into Saerith and besides this gives me little flexibility).
Magic is 10v6. He starts by debuffing Swordmasters by -1S, -1T which I let through since he has Halberds anyway (thus wounding me on 2+) and there are far worse spells. He then casts a Pha's bubble on 3D6 and gets a very good roll so I let it through as well. He's left with 4v6D6 and I dispel both spells on 2v3D6.
Shooting sees his Western Archers dispatch my Eagle, unfortunately. 4 Swordmaster die as well. Combat sees his Tomb Guard kill the Eagle and overrun into Swordmasters.
:: High Elves Turn 4 ::
Lions are 12" away from the Tomb Guard and because of +1M I need to roll a 6+ to make the charge. I have the Archers with Olannon on my other flank and they charge as well. The Lions come up just short though as I roll 5! Saerith charges the central archers (big play is revealed!) and makes it easily, needing 7+. Naenor moves up.
Magic is 3v3 and luckily I get Shield on Swordmasters.
Combat - I resolve the Prince's combat first and I elect to breath fire here to ensure I crumble them: as I score no less than 12 hits this is easily taken care of and I overrun into his juicy bunker, using my charge wheel (which, contrary to popular belief, is something you do get if your overrun brings you into contact with a new enemy) to be in base-to-base with both of his casters. The Swordmasters and Archers perform admirably and bring down nearly a dozen Tomb Guard. I lose a few in return but he crumbles badly and only has 9 left.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 4 ::
His remaining Temple Guard charge my Lions. Hierotitan moves behind his bunker (diagram shows this in my T5). Chariots move to flank Saerith.
Magic is again huge as it's 12v7. -S -T on WL dispelled on 3v4D6. This is a poor decision by me, because although it seems like a lot there are indeed far worse spells out there: he gets Pha's up on them (I realize Speed is crucial) and he casts Speed with IF on 3D6! Wow... The result wounds each mage once.
Combat sees his 9 TG die badly to Swordmasters and I reform to have them face the poor Lions and the Archers to face his bunker. Saerith kills the champion and we move to the Lions.
Now, let me tell you something - Lions aren't used to having bad one on one matchups. Against undead they expect to have roughly 2 wounds out of 3 attacks. Well, him being WS10 and me being -1 to hit and no re-roll certainly did change things! I got some very good rolls however and killed a handful which ensured that the combat was a draw! Still, Lions drawing a combat one-on-one isn't something I'm used to. More importantly, this came from the fact that he was casting something as ridiculously cheap as 6+ and 8+!!
:: High Elves Turn 5 ::
My remaining 7 Swordmasters charge the Tomb Guard in the flank while Naenor and the Archers assault his bunker.
Magic is 5v4 and he dispels Shield (attempted on Swordmasters) and I get Drain through.
Combat sees his Hierophant challenge, Naenor accepts so that Faeria can go to down. Predictably, I kill enough to crumble the entire unit, giving me something like 7-800 Victory Points. Naenor overruns into the Hierotitan.
The Lions aren't as lucky this time and even with help from the Soldiers of Hoeth I lose by 2. Seriously, I have 28 elite infantry Elves fighting against roughly the same amount of Undead and I lose combat by 2. The Lions break as I roll 11 for their test, however the Swordmasters pass their 8- test (Saerith was in range), though they're precious few remaining. He reforms to face my Swordmasters instead of having me in his flank.
Crumble tests are mostly mild.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 5 ::
Again crumble tests don't do too much. I really could've done with him being reduced a bit more: he did lose 2W on his Hierotitan though.
Chariots charge my Archers (it's a long charge but he makes it), hoping to assassinate Olannon which has 1W left.
Magic sees me dispel one bound while Light of Death is cast with IF - Naenor's re-roll ensures I take no damage.
Combat - Swordmasters are reduced to only a couple but I pass my test, losing by 1. Naenor kills the Hierotitan. The chariots lose a wound to Stand and Shoot but I can't wound them in melee. He scores 4 (!!) hits on Olannon but no wounds (!!!). I pass my break test.
:: High Elves Turn 6 ::
Saerith charges the Casket while Naenor flanks the Chariots. Annoyingly enough, my Lions fail to rally (netting him 225 Victory Points as per ETC rules). Magic is skipped as I don't believe there's any value to casting anything.
Combat - the Swordmasters die and he reforms to face Naenor + the Archers. His casket dies but nothing's in range save for Saerith, which takes no damage. Naenor and Archers kill the Chariots and reform to face the Tomb Guard.
:: Tomb Kings Turn 6 ::
Crumble sees his Tomb Guard drop to 16 models. He charges Archers and if I flee, he'll redirect into Naenor and I pretty much have to flee with him as well. Since he needs 7+ I decide to take my chances and Stand and Shoot, killing 2. He makes the charge and kills enough to safely win the combat. I fail my break test and he runs me down!
:: Victory Points ::
While his last unit of Tomb Guard - ending the game like 12 strong (with the West Archers being 9 strong!) - took a lot of points, he basically had nothing left. Despite lots of my units being terribly out of shape, I had lots of points left on the table (big archers + saerith + naenor) and so I won by roughly 1000 victory points (as per ETC calculation, barring the -10%). A 16-4 victory to the High Elves!
:: Evaluation ::
This sure was an interesting game to play! I believe I could've taken some more points and managed close to a 20-0, given my good position after his Sphinx died. What prevented me from managing this? It's hard to point at one thing in particular, but after my Spears and central Archers really did what I needed them to do early on, I failed 100% at using them supportingly when I really could've used their aid. My Eastern Archers with Olannon truly showed their worth as they charged in and saved my Swordmasters. They are Elves after all and WS4 ASF attacks is actually somewhat useful against poor infantry. I think that at the moment, this is where my play can improve the most: properly using the core to aid my specials. Back when I first ran the Cavalry Prince, I was pretty good at doing this but T7 Spears with a hard-hitting BSB is quite different from naked Archers. I feel I'm getting better at this, but I think I must try and read the future of the game somewhat better to be able to use it now: in this game I anticipated the Swordmasters being charge by Tomb Guards and I moved my Archers early enough to tip this combat in my favour: if I had somewhat managed the same in the centre I might've been able to grab a 20-0 here.
Tomb Guard with Light backup sure is scary. As I anticipated, the spells from Lore of Light complement these REALLY well. Between the Nehekhara spells and these, there are simply too many high-priority things to take care of. Bear in mind that I did sport the Annulian this game. Armies that only have a dispel scroll will truly struggle as the magic strategy is trickle-based. I am very unsure of how best to utilize this synergy though, but I do believe it's one of the better builds for Tomb Kings. One thought I had was to include a Necrotect with Armour of Silvered Steel: when they're in horde formation he can be placed on the extreme flank so it's hard to allocate against him.
The question then remains - how do you build such an army? 1 Sphinx, 2 Guard units? 2 Sphinxes, 1 Guard unit? Can you afford to drop the Hierotitan when his +D3 to cast REALLY shines with this strategy (boosting -S, -T takes it to 22+ in which case a level 4 could really use +D3, not to mention the casting value on Birona's Timewarp Bubble). I'm sure Strange would appreciate any and all input here. My personal thoughts at the moment, if points permit, are as follows:
- 2x20 Archers
- 2x5 Horse Archers
- Chariots to fill core
- 2x35 TG, FC
- 1 Sphinx
- 1 Hierotitan
- 1 Casket
- 1 LVL 4 Nehekhara, 4+ ward, earthing rod
- 1 LVL 4 Light, scroll
- Necrotect w/2+, luckstone
I hope you enjoyed the report