Full report on Ulthuan - http://www.ulthuan.net/forum/viewtop...759757#p759757
Curu Olannon presents:
:: 2D6 Crusade - Game #4 - Vampire Counts - 41/19 points before pairing ::
Coming into Day 2 and the last 2 games, I knew I had to get a really good game or two to get a decent finish. By now, I had a pretty good grasp of the lists and player skill around the upper tables and I was sure there were no impossible matchups for me. The questions were, would the dice be willing, would my matchups be favourable enough to score big and last, but not least: would my skills prove sufficient or would I make too many mistakes?
Game number 4 quickly turned out to be highly interesting and tactical. I really enjoy these types of games, as they force you to make moves that are as close to perfect as possible to really outplay your opponent, as opposed to having a superior matchup or capitalizing on a major mistake.
:: Though Some Have Called Thee Mighty and Dreadful ::
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
:: Vampire Counts ::
- Quickblood, Red Fury, Dread Knight (+2WS, must always issue and accept challenges), Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, The Other Trickster's Shard, Hellsteed (flying cavalry), Lvl 4
- Ironcurse Icon, Dragonhelm, Luckstone, Aura of Dark Majesty(-1LD within 6". Cumulative), Hellsteed
- Sword of Striking, Enchanted Shield, Dispel Scroll, Aura of Dark Majesty
32 Ghouls, Champion
20 Zombies, standard, musician
20 Zombies, standard, musician
5 Dire Wolves
5 Dire Wolves
5 Dire Wolves
2 Fell Bats
2 Fell Bats
12 Black Knights, standard, musician
26 Grave Guard, standard, musician, banner of barrows
Total - 2400
:: Pre-battle thoughts and deployment ::
Magic saw me get Shield and Fury of Khaine. I was really hoping for Vaul's here as it would make life so much easier: a WS9, S7 Vampire with ASF is really scary for my Dragon (and pretty much everything else I got, too!). Regardless, a magic missile is far from the worst I could've gotten. He defaulted to Invocation of Nehek on his 2 Vampires, while the Lord got Curse of Years, Invocation, Vanhels and Raise Dead.
Deployment saw me get the Archers in a central position, flanked by the elites. I was counting on him to put his combat power centrally but he refused my flank instead. Initially I didn't understand this, but in hindsight he was probably afraid of being steamrolled: by deploying in a corner it's way harder for me to envelop him since one flank will always be too far away to interfere in the earlier turns of the game!
Finishing first and having Skeinsliver, I rolled a '5' and got first turn!
:: High Elves T1 ::
I wanted to bring as much force to bear as quickly as possible to his corner. I moved the Lions up to create an awkward threat-zone, giving me lots of options for T2 should he be a little too aggressive. The West was pretty standard: Swordmasters went full speed ahead and the flyers took up a central position.
Magic was 8v6 and I got Drain up as he prioritized dispelling Fury (I think I threw 4+4).
Shooting killed 2 Wolves on the West and 3 Ghouls in the centre.
:: Vampire Counts T1 ::
His Western Wolves decide to flank-charge my Eagle, I hold my ground. The centre takes up defensive positions, taking care to create a lot of non-fly zones for me. The Eastern Grave Guard move up full speed and I can see what he's going for as my Lions can get isolated if I'm not careful.
Magic is 8v7 and the result is Vanhels on the Ghouls (I dispel Invocation casts), which I don't view as a threat. He uses it to slightly shuffle them, no biggie.
Combat sees my Eagle roll very well and kill all 3 Wolves before crumble even! Go Stomp!
:: High Elves T2 ::
I back my Lions up 3" while my Swords continue their advance. I don't want him doing anything fancy with the Zombies, so I place an Eagle infront of them so that they either have to charge me (fleeing 7" or more will take my beyond the Swordmasters) or stay still. Regardless, my Swordmasters will have a good position in my T3, also enabling me to put pressure on his centre.
My Archers (15 strong) reform to face the East and I can't help but chuckle as my opponent announces "the job here is done, move on men!" (referring to the dead Wolves on the West). These things just make the games so much more enjoyable!
Magic sees him channel twice for a total of 6v7, and I can't get anything through his Dispel rolls.
I finish my turn with killing a single dog and a single Ghoul.
:: Vampire Counts T2 ::
His Zombie charges my Eagle and I flee, however the flee roll is really poor and he catches me. His Spirit Host on the West charge my Spears, and as he aligns properly I notice a big mistake: the Eagle I had placed behind him to counter-charge is now in his flank! This would've been easy for me to correct and while I realize this it also dawns on me that those Spears are probably going to stay there for quite a while! The centre continue their semi-slow approach while the Grave Guard move up big. I know that at some point he'll have to open up. The plan with the Lions is to escape by entering the building, because I realize I can't help them fast enough if he plays the West smart. I'm not sure he can properly cover my building-escape so I'm hoping this'll give me an edge in later turns.
Magic is 4v5, however he can't get anything through. So far his magic has been very little impressive (though so has mine!) and I'm hoping it'll continue the same.
Spirit Host wins combat, naturally, but I hold and all's good.
:: High Elves T3 ::
I'm still a little cautious, though I know by now that I'll likely get 2 crucial charging turns: either 4+5 or 5+6. I also realize that it's highly unlikely that I can successfully engage his bus, so my goal now is to get rid of as much other stuff as possible and feed the bus cheap stuff / neutralize it as well as possible.
First things first though - get that West under control. An Eagle flanks the Spirit Host while the Swordmasters charge the Zombies. Magic is 9v5 but he scrolls Drain and dispels Fury.
Combat sees me kill his Zombies easily and the Swordmasters reform to be maximum width with regards to attacking the Ghouls. The Spirit Host however rolls well and doesn't lose combat.
:: Vampire Counts T3 ::
He finally commits to my Lions, taking care to ensure I cannot charge my way out of anything, save for trying against his bus. He reforms the ~28 remaining Ghouls to a single rank, thus preventing Saerith from flanking the bus (a brilliant move, I must admit, which I didn't see coming! With that being said, I'm not sure I would commit the Prince + Lions against his bus anyways). He also moves his centre fairly well - I was hoping to use Naenor in an interesting way here but he dodges my attempts yet again.
In a very eagly fashion, he sends his Bats to block my Swordmasters. He had moved them well in this game, making impossible for me to charge, magic and shoot him! Very impressive, and now very painful for me!
Magic sees us get an 8v8 split. He starts with a 2D6 Vanhels which I dispel with 3D6. He then tries a 12+ Nehek on 3D6 but fails to meet the casting roll and I dispel his last attempt.
His Spirit Host ties me this time and we're stuck.
:: High Elves T4 ::
I reform the Lions and move them into the building and it's clear that my opponent did not expect this. The Swordmasters charge their blocking Bats while my Eagle charges the zombies behind to create an overrun situation (poor diagram placement on the angle here). Now, I reform my big Archers to 5-wide instead of 15-wide, which puts them a mere 3" away from the small Archers: thus, if his bus charges me it's really easy to flee them away to safety and he'll be stuck in the middle of no-where! Naenor takes up a position against his Knights while Saerith keeps his hill controlled (it was a little closer to the bus than the diagram indicates).
So - lots of movement and magic's up. I'm not sure as my notes aren't 100% at this point (time could quickly have become a problem here) but I believe that he dispelled Drain.
Combat sees the Swordmasters make Batman Special followed by Zombie Kebab and reform to a single line, facing the Ghouls. His Spirit Host rolls well again, and this time my Eagle decides to leg it! This Ethereal creature is proving to be a real pain...
:: Vampire Counts T4 ::
I think he realizes that chasing the Archers could ruin the game for him (it would've been a huge risk at least!) so he flies both characters out of the unit, going up near my Swordmasters. The Ghouls reform to a conga-line fashion, ending up 2 wide. The Black Knights move up to a central position and I immediately realize that I have a pretty good opportunity here. His Grave Guard reform (probably afraid of the Lions entering his back space).
Magic is a rather big 11v7. He starts with Invocation on the Ghouls, which go off with IF! I'm really hoping to see him roll a disastrous result here (as you always are when your opponent miscasts!) but it's a dull result which has no effect save for ending the phase. Regardless, the Ghouls are back to full strength.
:: High Elves T5 ::
Naenor + Saerith + Archers charge his Knights. I reckon that I can place Saerith corner-to-corner to minimize KB-impact. Naenor however would have to be lucky: if I could kill off 4+ Black Knights before the Undead strike back, I could reduce him hitting me back drastically. The Swordmasters charge his Ghouls (if his Lord wanted to charge me - so be it. It would be hugely risky as I could challenge him out for a turn and then charge his Ghouls with my characters, potentially killing him on crumble). Long story short - I think it would be a big risk for him to attempt anything here while it was only a mild risk for me. The Lions exit the building behind the Grave Guard, hoping for a glorious T6 charge.
Magic - he fears Drain so much so I get Shield of Saphery through on the 30 Archers - effectively reducing his combat resolution by a potentially big amount. I'm very happy with this as it's crucial to me to kill those Knights.
Combat - the Swordmasters kill a few (including the Champion!) and a few more crumble, I reform to 3 ranks. My Spears however break against the Spirit Host (no longer being steadfast) and he catches me. Worse, he's now in a position to strike at Olannon (really poor play on my part not to put him behind the Archers...). The big combat approaches and I roll very poor with my Characters, killing only 2 Black Knights. He gets his full 4 attacks at Naenor, of which 3 hit. I know it's a 50-50 of him dying now, and I'm hoping for some luck but to no avail - a '6' comes up and the Noble Elf dies. I manage to get the Knights down to roughly a handful after Faeria attacks and crumble etc, but this is not going as well as I'd planned.
:: Vampire Counts T5 ::
His Lord + BSB decide to help out the Grave Guard - I think he realize that it's crucial that they don't die. Also, the Swordmaster combat is super-risky for him to enter. The Grave Guard turn towards my Lions.
Magic sees him get no big effect, which is good for me as I can't afford not killing the Knights now: he does however summon a unit of Zombies to protect his Ghouls' flank (though this is easy to combo-combat so I don't care).
Combat sees his Spirit Host put 1W on Olannon while I kill a couple more Ghouls. The big combat against his Knights see me roll a little better though (seriously killing 2 Knights between Saerith + Naenor...) and he crumbles, many thanks to static combat resolution from the Archers (+4 helps!). I reform to face his centre.
:: High Elves T6 ::
My Eagle rear-charges his Spirit Host: if he just rolls poorly now he'll be gone. Saerith and the Archers charge the Zombies (diagram is poor - I had Saerith behind the Archers which allowed me to combat reform them to screen him from the Lord, should he try anything). The Lions charge the Grave Guard. The last Eagle finally rallies!
Magic - he dispels Shield (of course) and I get Drain through, though it hardly matters.
Combat sees the Zombies and Ghouls die horribly and I reform to protect Saerith. The Lions have an interesting one though - I challenge the Vampire and he initially accepts. As I point out that the accepting part must move to base contact with the challenging part (and not the other way around, which he thought) and my Guardian is in the middle of the unit, he kindly asks to undo this decision. Now, playing Rusty's Vampire Counts a couple of months back, I'm very certain about this dynamic in a challenge and I see no reason to try and get an advantage here. I allow him to undo it and he refuses the challenge, placing the Vampire at the back of the unit instead. I roll somewhat poor and not nearly as many crumble as I'd hoped.
His Spirit host barely manages to kill Olannon but he dies himself as well. So close, yet so far away!
:: Vampire Counts T6 ::
His Lord charges the Swordmasters. Magic sees him get quite a few dice and he heals back a handful of Grave Guard. Combat sees my Bladelord challenge his Lord out, I die but hold on Steadfast. The Lions however roll very poor and he beats me. The game comes down to a break test (Stubborn LD10 from Saerith) - Aura of Dark Majesty x2 makes it interesting: I manage to roll a total of '5' however and with that, the game is over!
:: Victory Points ::
I was confident that I was ahead, but didn't know how much. Carefully counting the points, I've killed 1060 against his 437 - which is a 12-8 victory to the High Elves! Interestingly enough, this difference is very close to being a 13-7 split AND he originally miscounted the points I had killed (1092), however as my result differed we re-counted it and I was barely below the required limit.
:: Evaluation and Conclusion ::
What a game! This is the closest Warhammer has ever felt to playing Chess for me. So much manoeuvring, trying to get the slighest advantage and pound through. Some risks were taken on both sides, which made the game really tense and exciting. Some big mistakes were made as well, him forgetting about the House and me sending Olannon to his death for no reason (I knew those Spears stood a good chance of breaking) in particular.
I totally didn't see his refused flank approach coming, but to be honest I don't know if I should've deployed any differently regardless. I think I could've played the Western flank a bit better and perhaps moved my Flyers up T1. As it were, I was always looking for a chance to breath fire on those Ghouls to open up a big gap in his centre but there was no-where to land! Mid-game saw him brilliantly play his chaff and reform the Ghouls to deny my every attempt at getting a solid advantage against his bus, yet in forgetting the Lions' escape through the house he couldn't really capitalize on this. Instead, his Knights ended up in a really awkward position and I finally had a game where I managed to really squeeze the most out of that Archer block!
So again, thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed it! As always, I appreciate any comments you might have