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1k matched play Death vs. Seraphon


Master Necromancer
True Blood
Sep 23, 2009
Played a 1k matched play game against Seraphon for Seasons of War. Battleplan was the week one event scenario, "Clash of Battle Lines". The scenario requires a minimum of three units with model count 10 or more. Any unit that started with 10 or more models that is destroyed walks back onto its controller's board edge in the following turn. Generals also gain a command ability to tell one of their own units that started with 10 or more models to leave, and it will return at full strength in the next hero phase in the same way.

Deployment puts units of 10 or more between 12 and 24 inches forward, other units 0 to 12 inches forward. Victory is determined by the number of units in your opponents zone at the end of turn five. There was a fair bit of terrain with various effects, but it mostly only mattered in terms of blocking line of sight to my general at one point in the game.

I tested out my new standard matched play list for 1k points:

Wight King with Black Axe (general, ruler of the night, tomb blade)
Tomb Herald
30 skeletons w/ spears & tomb shields
3 skeleton chariots
10 zombies
10 zombies
3 necropolis knights

My opponent tried to field several units of 10 or more to take advantage of the scenario rule. Would probably have done better with fewer, larger units, but hindsight and all. His list:

skink priest (I forget his trait and item, they didn't really come up)
4x10 saurus warriors
2x5 chameleon skinks
3 ripperdactyls
some sort of frog thing that gave him bonuses on hit or wound rolls or something that I couldn't attack and got to deploy next to my heroes and follow them around all game?


I deployed slightly off center, skeletons and zombies in the middle as far forward as possible, characters behind in the center (with zombies trailed back far enough for the necro to shift wounds to them if needed, and knights and chariots behind on the flanks, with the chariots outside and the knights towards the middle..

He deployed two units of 10 saurus each on the extreme flanks, with his ripperdactyls and priest out of sight behind some buildings, well away from the knights. The two chameleon skink units did not deploy, as per their set up rules.

I finished deployment first, so I chose first turn. Seeing as my chariots were actually in charge range, I opted to go first, even if it meant allowing a double turn during the game. Honestly, my list is defensive enough I probably should have chosen to go second, but hindsight.

Turn 1:

The chariots were the only unit in comfortable charge range, so vanhels and the wight king's command ability went there. Zombies voltroned into a single unit of 20. In the movement phase, the infantry mostly hung static while the heroes caught up, the chariots moved up to charge the two saurus units on that flank, and, not thinking, I ran the necroknights way out to the other flank to start chasing the saurus on the other extreme flank, when they should have stayed with my battle line to ward off chameleon skinks and ripperdactyls.

In the shooting phase, the chariots dropped a couple saurus with their arrows - the extra 3 shots from the command ability helping.

In the combat, the chariots crashed in with a might wallop, and between two charge-enhanced rounds of close combat thanks to vanhels took both saurus units down to just a few models, taking only a couple wounds in return. Admittedly I rolled pretty well, but between vanhels, the command ability, and their charge bonus, they made 50 attacks, which is not bad for a 140 point battleline unit. They did charge out of deathless minion range as a result, but the MSU saurus units just didn't have enough bite to threaten them.

Realizing he was in trouble, my opponent dropped the chameleon skinks, which I think he had meant to leave in reserve and just place in scoring position at the end of the game. They showed up behind my lines and took a few wounds off my herald. He had wanted to target my general, but realized he would have to kill the herald first due to its bodyguard ability. The riperdactyls for their part took advantage of some careless positioning of my necromancer to get a charge in on him and the zombies. Due his multiple layers of protection, my opponent not being able to reach him with all three dactyls, and just the fortune of the dice, the necromancer survived with a wound or two left. The zombies for their part wiffed mightiy. The chariots, still under vanhels and the wight king's command ability, finished off one saurus units they were engaged with and brought the other down to two models. They maybe took a wound in return.

Turn 2: I won the initiative roll.

The zombies restored some wounds. Seeing my two support heroes injured, I decided to try a gimmicky gamble and put the command ability and vanhels on the wight king himself.

Realizing I had thrown them way, way out of position, and that chasing saurus units that would just pop back up anyway was a waste of time, I decided to surrender those victory points and pull the necroknights back towards the side with the action, though they were still at least a turn or two out of range of anything. The necromancer and zombies withdrew from combat against the ripperdactyls, the zombies moving forwards to pursue the objective and threaten the priest or maybe help out the chariots, the necromancer falling back to make room for the wight king and skeletons to charge past him while staying within range of the tomb blade. The herald also moved into tomb blade range, though wouldn't have room to charge himself. The skeletons and wight king moved into charge position.

In the shooting phase, the chariots took a wound off of one of the chameleon skink units that had deployed a bit too close to them in the interest of staying far away from the necroknights.

In combat, the wight king and skeletons charged the ripperdactyls, and.... the wight king failed me badly, dealing only a single wound to an already wounded dactyl. The skeletons, unbuffed, and losing an attack each due to the dactyls attacking before them, caused only a couple wounds themselves, killing the one the wight king had injured. Since the king hadn't actually killed anything, I was not able to heal the other heroes as I had hoped, and keeping them in range of the fight had left them completely exposed to the chameleon skinks. What a disasterous oaf-up! I got greedy to try out new gimmickry, when I should have just played to my lists strengths.

On his turn, he withdrew the ripperdactyls, and brought back the slain saurus unit, buffed it with the mystic shield and the skink priest's ability, and charged them back into the chariots. The chameleon skinks killed both the herald and the necromancer thanks to some good rolls with their blowguns and bad rolls on my defensive abilities, but I really only have myself to blame there. The refreshed saurus charged into my chariots, but only managed to deal a couple wounds. MSU battle line infantry just doesn't fight at all. It was enough to finally drop their musician, but we both knew it would be back soon enough. The chariots caused a couple wounds to the new unit and wiped out the stragglers from the other. Honestly, it might have been better not to even attack them.

But even with all my blunders, he was still in a very tough place, as my units could just outfight or outlast his, especially while the wight king was still alive.

Turn 3: I lost the initiative roll.

He moves the two remaining ripperdactyls into position to charge my wight king, brings back the second slain saurus unit and moves them to intercept the zombies that were now threatening his priest. Due to some terrain, his chameleon skinks couldn't get line of signt on my general without coming within charge range of the necroknights, so instead they moved farther away and took some pot shots at the skeletons.

In combat, the msu saurus units again proved that they just couldn't hurt anything, only dealing a few wounds to the zombies and chariot, and taking as many casualties in return. The ripperdactyls put a mighty 16 damage on the wight king thanks to all their attacks and bonus attacks and charge bonuses and some great rolling, but without rend he shrugged 10 between his armor and deathless minions/ruler of the night, and halved the rest thanks to his armor, taking only 3 wounds. Still buffed by vanhels and his command ability, he killed the remaining two ripperdactyls, and his tomb blade brought him back up to 4 wounds. Nice.

In my turn, the zombies and skeletons rolled well for their banners and made it all the way back to full wounds. Wight king buffed the skeletons and sent them towards the ongoing saurus/chariot combat, following after to spread deathless minion/ruler of the night. The chariots for their part regrew their one casualty and withdrew from combat, rolling back to stop just a few inches from the chameleon skinks. The necroknights gave up participating in the fight directly, and just started moving for the opponents backfield as per scenario rules. The skeletons charged the unit of saurus that had been fighting the chariots to prevent them from chasing after.

At this point, my opponent forfeited. It was clear that the chariots were going to wipe the chameleon skinks, the priest was not going to stay out of the necroknights charge range for very long, and his recursive saurus units just couldn't actually threaten anything I had left in a fight. Even if he gave up fighting altogether and managed to get all four saurus units to my deployment zone, it would be those four to my five remaining units, all of which were already deep in his territory, apart from the chariots who had plenty of time to wipe out the chameleon skinks and get back.

Victory for Nagash and the Undead Legions! But was it a particularly glorious victory? Well....

Post Mortem: I very much feel this was a game I won before it even started on the relative strength of the army lists, something several fans of AoS's previous pointlessness have expressed worry about the new matched play system. List construction in matched play definitely seems as big a contributing factor to victory on the table as how well you play. Possibly bigger, in some cases.

All my pieces fit together very well. Ruler of the night is just crazy good, especially in a list with a high wound count and strong recursion, and the wight king with black axe is a very respectable platform to put it on, especially with a herald next to him. All my units were strong individually and stronger in combination. Even when I blundered as a general - leaving characters exposed, throwing my necroknights out of position, buffing the wight king over tomb blade greediness when buffing the skeletons would have been almost guaranteed to elminate one of my opponents' real threat units, etc - the army was so forgiving, and his so non-threatening, that those mistakes just didn't matter.

Though he did manage to take out some of my key support pieces, everything I still had was so tough that my opponent just couldn't meaningfully hurt me. The necropolis knights may not have contributed directly due to my poor playing of them, but they absolutely dominated the center of the table none the less, forcing my opponent's army to the far fringes in order to avoid them, and significantly cramping the movement options of the dactyls and skinks.

Even the zombies were a major factor - allowing me to fill the three required 10 model units cheaper than I otherwise would have been able to - letting me afford the other expensive elements in the army, and merging up during the game into a unit that ate a lot of wounds for the necromancer, was remarkably chewy thanks to deathless minions / RotN, and that the opponents' MSU saurus blocks just couldn't outfight.

In contrast, his list was full of saurus units that would have been terrifying as a block of 40, but barely even qualified as an annoyance as four blocks of 10. He tried to build and play his army to the objective, but was left with a force that just didn't have enough solid elements to function. To be fair, the low points value combined with the minimum unit requirements of the scenario just did not give him much room to maneuver in list construction. So it's not necessarily that he did a bad job making his list - I'm not familiar enough with AoS lizardmen to say what I would have done differently given the restrictions he ws working under. And it probably didn't help that he threw his list together in about three minutes for that game, while my list is something I've been tinkering with & work shopping for like a week, now.

But regardless of the aggravating factors, the end result was the same - I was at a huge advantage in this game before the first model hit the table, in a way that was pretty obvious to both of us from the start. Had we been playing an old fashioned free-play game, he probably would have had a fair bit more on the table, and we might have had a fairer game. We certainly would have at least aimed for a closer wound count - I had 95 wounds on the table to his 64. Then again, in a free play situation, summoning spells and infinite ripperdactyl attacks likely would have thrown the game out of joint as bad as anything else, so....

Regardless, a victory is a victory, and I was happy to log my first point in support of Death for the summer campaign.
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