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8th edition 1K three-way battle versus Warriors of Chaos and High Elves

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Jan 14, 2015
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#1
1000 points three-way battle, 20th July 2015

Played with two friends, Martin and Jason, last night. We have some house rules for managing multiplayer battles that we think work pretty well, we just need to get magic figured out. Basically, players take it in turns to charge, move, cast or shoot with one unit at a time, with the first player to act rotating around the table. It adds a bit of tactics to the order in which you declare charges and make moves, without doing anything unbalanced.

Jason’s army: Warriors of Chaos

1 Exalted Champion of Nurgle, joining the Warriors
15 Chaos Warriors with the Mark of Nurgle
1 Chimera, named Megadeth
1 Mutalith Vortex Beast, named Metallica


Martin’s army: High Elves

1 Loremaster of Hoeth, joining the Sisters of Avelorn
25 Lothern Seaguard, deployed as horde
15 White Lions
16 Sisters of Avelorn


My army: Vampire Counts

1 Vampire (level one wizard and general, heavy armour)
1 Necromancer (level two wizard with bound Vanhel’s Danse Macabre spell)
28 Skeletons with full command and spears, receiving both characters
5 Dire Wolves
5 Dire Wolves
7 Crypt Horrors with champion
1 Terrorgheist with poison, named Simon


Setup

A neutral fourth party placed terrain. This amounted to a big forest in the centre of the board which, when my wolves entered it, we learned was a forest of fungal mushrooms whose spores induced stupidity. This didn’t affect play much since Martin passed all stupidity tests with his White Lions, and I'm immune to psychology.

Martin’s Loremaster’s spells are predefined (signature spell of every lore in the BRB) and Jason didn’t bring a wizard, so after rolling for my spells I found that my Necro had Invocation of Nehek and Vanhel’s Danse Macabre as well as his bound version of VDM, and my Vampire had Hellish Vigour. I’d wanted the buff spells from the Lore of the Vampires, so was pretty pleased.

I got the deployment zone on one broad side of the board. From my perspective, Jason was in the upper-left corner, and Martin the upper-right.

All the chat was about regeneration, since Martin wanted to know what the best target would be for his Sisters’ flaming arrows. Both Jason’s monsters, and my Terrorgheist, and my Crypt Horrors all had it, so Martin was spoiled for choice.

After deployment, Jason had split his troops, with his warriors unit clearly facing me and both his monsters facing Martin. Martin put his Sisters facing them in response, which delighted me. His Seaguard were behind and his White Lions to one side, in less committed positions. My entire army, basically, faced Jason, with me making regular measurements to check the range of Martin’s shooting.


Turn One

Turn one fell to Jason. He advanced his Warriors to me and his monsters to Martin, positioning his Chimera for a breath attack on Martin’s Sisters of Avelorn. Martin, realising he couldn’t stop this, moved his Sisters toward the Chimera, and the narrow end of the breath template, to minimise its profile on his unit. I moved my army to Jason, with my Skeletons behind my Horrors and the Wolves on either flank.

In the magic phase, Martin piled all his dispel dice into stopping the Vortex Beast’s bound spell (which is based on toughness), and Jason used all of his to stop Martin’s Loremaster from casting… various things. This gave me free reign over magic. With two casts of VDM, one of which was on the big value and affected the entire army, I moved within charge distance of Jason. I moved one of my wolf units into what I thought was a redirecting position, expecting that I’d have to take the charge with his Warriors, but I still didn’t have enough movement to really do it properly and they wound up parked at a lame angle halfway between my Horrors and his Warriors but obstructing neither. It turned out not to matter. I parked my Terrorgheist in screaming range of his Warriors.

In the shooting phase, my Terrorgheist rolled poorly and failed to kill any Warriors. Martin’s Sisters (and maybe his Seaguard, if they were in range) knocked a few wounds off the Chimera, but thanks to poor rolls couldn’t quite kill it. The Chimera’s breath weapon killed a few Sisters, but Martin had done a fair job positioning his unit so they suffered as little as possible.


Turn Two

Martin started, charging Jason's Chimera with his White Lions. Jason charged his Sisters with his Vortex Beast, and in his first dose of critical luck, Martin killed it with the stand and shoot charge reaction. I declared a charge on Jason’s Warriors with my Horrors and made it. I then charged my Terrorgheist into his flank. My left-hand wolves, the lame redirectors ignored by my Horrors as they charged past, reformed in embarrassment. My right-hand wolves took a wound marching through the Forest of Stupidity.

Once again I benefited from a magical spat between my opponents and managed to get Vanhel’s Danse Macabre on my Horrors, giving me a re-roll on their poisoned attacks. I rolled high on Simon the Terrorgheist's scream, and wiped out a full rank of Warriors (five).

The White Lions chopped up Jason's weakened Chimera, and the dice were against Jase in our combat, too. His Exalted Champion issued a challenge to my Crypt Haunter (Horror champion), but I wound up winning by one. His Warriors did better against my Horrors but were still below par, taking only four wounds. Between their re-rolled retaliation, the Terrorgheist, the Horrors’ stomps and the Terrorgheist’s Thunderstomp, they were all killed. Jason’s hero remained on one wound, and fled eleven inches, which put him close to the table edge. Jason didn’t measure, but threw in the towel and decided he’d gone off the board. This put Jason out of the game.


Turn Three

My turn, and I moved my army rightwards to face Martin. They were all within the general’s march bubble and I went across the board at a good clip, also succeeding in another mass Vanhel’s in my magic phase. My wolves led the charge, one unit ahead of the Crypt Horrors, hoping to charge Martin’s Sisters of Avelorn and keep him from shooting me for a turn while my Horrors advanced. As it turned out, it didn’t matter, because the Horrors were in charge range of his Sisters by the end of the turn anyway. Who knew Undead could be this mobile? Martin’s Sisters rolled exactly the five wounds they needed to kill my wolves in the shooting phase – had one survived, he could’ve charged the Sisters and drawn out their stand-and-shoot reaction, but that was a small tactical advantage that didn’t matter much. My other wolves went through the Forest of Stupidity, hoping to speedbump or redirect the White Lions.

In the magic phase, the aforementioned mass Vanhel’s came at a bit of a price: my Necromancer rolled an Irresistible Force, and lost two magic levels (which is to say, all of them) in the miscast. I was now left with one level one wizard: my Vampire, who only had Hellish Vigour. Nice to have, but I really only wanted it as a bluff spell to draw out dispel dice. This was a kinda-big-deal as Martin’s Loremaster got off a lot of spells throughout the rest of the game, and now I’d lost Invocation of Nehek.

In the shooting phase, I think my Terrorgheist was out of screaming range, but not being-shot-at range. The Seaguard managed to take a couple of its wounds.


Turn Four

Martin’s turn. He declared no charges, while I charged his Sisters with my Crypt Horrors. They stood and shot, but didn’t do much damage.

I moved my wolves out of the Forest of Stupidity, placing them between Martin’s White Lions and my Crypt Horrors’s flank. Martin wiped them out in the shooting phase with his Seaguard, so there went that plan. I wasn't worried, since I still had five Horrors and there was no way the Sisters would stand against them. I'd overrun or reform, and meet the White Lions head-on, with my Skeletons lining up for a counter-charge. Easy-peasy, surely.

Some magic probably happened. It probably involved buffs on the Sisters – I got rid of Wyssan’s Wildform, the big one – but I had to let Spirit Leech through. This killed a Horror outright, which sucked, but still left me plenty to work with. Simon the Terrorgheist screamed at the Sisters and killed a couple, I think, but with his lower wounds he was starting to lose his punch.

In combat, the inevitable happened. Martin’s attacks on me were almost completely ineffectual – I think his Loremaster got one wound, and even though I rolled poorly, all of Martin’s Sisters were killed, leaving just his Loremaster.

This was a big roll. He was right on the edge of the table, and if he ran off it or my Horrors ran him down, Martin would lose a model that cost over two hundred points, was his general, and contained all his magic. If he ran off the board, I’d be able to reform and face his oncoming White Lions head-on. He needed a five to hold.

He rolled a four.


Turn Five

My turn. I had no charges to declare, but Martin did, hitting my Crypt Horrors in the flank with his White Lions. I then measured the distance from my Terrorgheist to a spot behind his Seaguard, drawing an undignified insult from the unfittingly hairy Elven general. I didn’t move it yet though, because I didn’t want Martin to turn them around. I moved my Skeletons first, leaving Martin with just the Seaguard. He measured all over the place, working out if there was a way to avoid a Terrorgheist landing on his flank or in his rear, and concluded there was none. He declared his movement phase over, and I parked my Terrorgheist directly behind his Seaguard.

There was some magic. I’d pretty much written the Crypt Ghouls off at this stage – high strength is the main thing I’d worried about, and a flank charge by White Lions was the nightmare scenario. Thus I let through a few buff spells on them and tried to block some others – can’t remember the specifics, but they don’t matter much. Martin, as he had been doing successfully since the mundaning of my Necromancer, dispelled Hellish Vigour.

My Terrorgheist screamed at the Seaguard, but I rolled poorly and Simon was down to two wounds, so he caused no damage.

In combat, Martin’s White Lions and Loremaster thumped my Horrors, leaving me with just one model to retaliate. I directed all his attacks on the Loremaster, and despite three poisoned attacks and a stomp on a squishy elf, a poor roll caused just one wound. Obviously, I crumbled in combat res, and Martin reformed his White Lions to face my Skeletons.


Turn Six

Martin’s turn, and he made the obvious charge on my Skeletons. I made what I now realise was a slightly stupid charge with my Terrorgheist against his Seaguard, but I submit that had I not done so, all that would’ve happened is he’d have turned them around and shot me from point-blank. This would’ve been plenty to get rid of the last two wounds. Charging the Seaguard in the rear, and forcing a terror check in so doing, gave me the best opportunity to do the most damage. Martin passed the terror check.

With his White Lions and Seaguard both engaged, Martin’s Loremaster was running around between the two combats on his lonesome. Needing line of sight to cast magic, Martin was deliberating which combat his Loremaster could move closer to in order to help out. I spotted an opportunity with my Terrorgheist, and spent Martin’s movement phase praying he hadn’t seen the same thing while using my snakelike tongue to argue the Seaguard needed more help than the White Lions. I think Martin almost believed me at one point (“the White Lions are fine, but how on Earth are all these strength 3 spearmen gonna wound a toughness 5 monster?!”) In the end, Martin couldn’t decide, and so left the Loremaster where he was, rather than move him out of range of my scream. Bwahaha, and so on.

When the magic phase had officially begun, I couldn’t contain my joy and announced my intention to scream at the Loremaster. Martin hadn’t seen the possibility and threatened to chuck all his dice into killing it, but couldn’t, for lack of line of sight. He tried to cast the Wildform on the Seaguard, and I threw all my dice into the dispel. I then threw the maximum of six power dice into Hellish Vigour and got Irresistible Force! This was another turning point of the game as I rolled a Dimensional Cascade on the miscast table. This killed ten skeletons – sure – but it also took out seven White Lions, reducing Martin to just seven or so attacks in the following combat.

His Loremaster cast the Regeneration buff on the White Lions but did so with another Irresistible Force! He rolled the smaller version of Dimensional Cascade, losing a wound on his Loremaster. My Terrorgheist now needed to roll an eight to kill him, and claim more than 300 sweet, sweet points (counting the general bonus).

My Terrorgheist rolled a five, and the Loremaster escaped death again.

In combat, the Seaguard rolled moderately well and killed my Terrorgheist pretty comfortably. In hindsight, I’m not completely sure why I expected that to go any differently. I think it was because I was dominant on static resolution: Martin took both of its wounds, but with the charge bonus plus the rear charge I was on an SCR of three even without rolling any dice. If the TG had just survived, he’d probably have won, but as I say, I saw no way to keep him alive since he couldn't fly out of the Seaguard's range.

With the other combat, the White Lions killed another rank of skeletons (five), but the entire unit had re-rolls from Hellish Vigour and contained a Vampire. The Vampire killed three White Lions and the skeletons got the other four, wiping them out quite comfortably. Can’t remember whether Martin remembered his Regeneration saves or not, but it might not have made that much difference; I think I killed the elves with more attacks to spare, and if not I had three ranks and a standard to add to my wounds. He’d have needed a strong leadership roll not to flee, and since it was the end of the game, those points would’ve counted as casualties anyway.


Aftermath

I had my skeletons unit and both its characters still in play. Martin had his Loremaster and (I think all?) of his Seaguard, which would’ve shot at me every turn as I approached, and I’d lost the only wizard who could resurrect the skeletons. So Martin had the strongest remaining forces, but by victory points we worked out that I'd taken 63 points more.

So the outcome was a draw between High Elves and Vampire Counts for first, with Warriors comfortably last.


Thoughts

A reasonably fair balance of good and bad luck on all sides (apart from Jason’s), but though Martin did badly in a ton of shooting, combat and magic rolls, he got lucky when it counted (his Loremaster). I rolled very well against Jason with the TG and the Horrors. Also, I very probably wouldn’t have beaten the White Lions without the Dimensional Cascade and Hellish Vigour in the final magic phase. Though it always feels strange to describe blowing up your wizard as “lucky”, that’s undoubtedly what it was, since it still didn’t kill either of my characters and who gives a toss about a dozen dead skeletons if they take elite elves with them?

Martin was very lucky his Loremaster didn’t run, though surviving the Terrorgheist at the end was much more in line with the odds. Either way, if he’d died, the victory would’ve been clearly mine. Martin didn't have much to do in terms of decision-making – I think his big success was picking the right list. Lots of shooting and a versatile, powerful mage gave him the tools he needed to deal with two such different opponents.

Jason, obviously, did quite a lot wrong, from taking two monsters and only 15 infantry in a low-points game to splitting his army down the middle, serving up free points to Martin and I. In his defence, he'd just got two sweet monster models from eBay and just wanted to field them, so cut him some slack.

I played Vampires a bit in 6th and 7th edition, and wasn't very good. I'm just now getting back into them and loving how much more diverse and fun the army is in 8th edition. From this battle, I learned that they're pretty well-suited to low-points battles. I remember a cocky comment by Martin about how little threat my Skeletons were, but as he said himself, elves die badly if the opponent is able to attack back (I had no idea how true this would turn out to be). So in games of this size, being able to take ten ranks of five models for barely any points, guaranteeing not only a retaliation but a rank bonus and steadfast, is a big deal. I also have a ton of ways to give them magical buffs, and being able to raise as many as I can through Invocation, even with just one or two dice, is huge. I knew magic was important to VCs, which is why I took two wizards and a bound spell in 1000 points, but really it’s more than just “important”; it’s life and death.

Crypt Horrors are awesome, as I've been reading all over the site. With toughness five, Regeneration 5+ and Poisoned Attacks, it’s hard to imagine an army that can’t benefit from them. Now that my opponents know this, the question is how to protect them in future games when I'll surely be facing more flaming attacks.

The Vampire kicked ass, and he wasn’t even tooled up. The Terrorgheist performed moderately, but he really needs to survive a whole game, and do a lot of screaming and fighting, to earn back 240 points. My opponents in this game, and everyone else online, seems to fixate on the scream and forget that he dies fairly easily to ranked infantry and shooting, so he’s not as deadly as he appears. Keeping his wounds topped up with Invocation is key, and I lost the ability to do that halfway through this game. He was probably overkill against the Warriors, and he didn’t do much else in the game apart from distract. I wonder whether I’d have done better with a Mortis Engine instead, or some more Crypt Horrors.
 
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