Don't look for trouble, it will come to you! Lee kindly agreed to come to my place to play out a raid between his Warriors of Chaos and my graceful High Elves on my rather unconventional, but campaign appropriate (I'm thinking Might Empires here) gaming table:
Yes that's an 8 man poker table with a battle mat on it! I won't tell you that the Chaos Lord came all the way to Deepcar with only half his army (we had to quickly scour the lands for substitute models - mainly consisting of treacherous unpainted high elves!) - oops.
Anyway we had a quick 1500 point battle using 'the pass' scenario from the main rule book. Within the shadow of the impassable sides of the battle field were a few scree slopes and hills, a wizards tower and a haunted mansion. Could Lee get revenge for our last meet - not if the winds of magic had anything to do about it!
My 3 High elf units looked totally outnumbered. I had a mounted Noble BSB and a level 4 arch-mage with the Lore of Shadows in my Silver Helm unit. Opposing me were 1 unit of marauders, 2 units of Chaos Hounds, a large unit of Chaos Knights, Chaos Warrior and Chosen units. Behind this intimidating block of muscle stood a chariot and war-shrine. Both these models (which Lee has been custom-modelling) looked fantastic (bar the missing steeds!). The Chaos general was in the Warrior unit and the sorcerer stood along with the chosen. He was level 2 and knew spells from the Lore of Death. Gulp!
After deployment the Marauders used their Vanguard skill to put pressure on my left rank. We rolled off and it was down to the High Elves to make the first move.
Turn 1 -
I held back. With very little ballistics I knew the Chaos would have to march towards me. I could hold back and use my sea guard to whittle down the enemy. I had taken the Banner of Eternal flame which meant when I shot at the enemy mounts they would need to pass a fear test. My plan for later turns when the Chaos units were in charging distance was to advance with the Knights. I did make the mistake of deploying my Sword Masters behind the Helms (silly when Lee had nothing that could shoot at them). I wheeled my sea-guard to shoot at the marauders. They passed the fear test and I did very little damage. My mage cast Mystifying Miasma to slow the marauders down a little and relieve my flank. Using the lore attribute I teleported him to the front of the Helms (where the BSB stood) in an attempt to cast the shadow vortex spell. It failed. This left him quite exposed at the front of the unit.
As predicted Lee advanced quickly towards me. His marauders swung around my left flank but being slowed my the miasma couldn't get within spear throwing distance of the sea guard. The Chaos sorcerer failed to cast a direct damage spell on my mage.
Turn 2 -
My Silver Helms charge the unit of hounds facing them, the cowardly dogs turn and run (passing the dangerous terrain test as they run as fast as they can through the Chosen). I can't catch them. My sea guard ignore the marauders and hold position to shoot the incoming hounds completely obliterating them. My sword masters march to help reinforce the sea guard position. The Winds of magic fail to blow for the High elves.
A Chaos Knight failed charge keeps my Silver Helms out of danger. All enemy units continue their advance. The marauders hassle my sea guard again getting within throwing distance of my rear and cause some casualties. The magic phase is disastrous for the Chaos - Their sorcerer miscast a direct damage spell against my Mage. The miscast is catastrophic and kills 3 Chosen. Further misery for the Chaos, as the sorcerer is swept into the void. Lee rolls on the irresistible direct damage spell causing only 2 wounds on my Mage. He survives by the skin of his teeth with 1 wound left, he is still exposed at the front of the Helms.
Turn 3 -
My Silver Helms charge the Chaos Knights. My Sea guard unit looked in a perilous position. I aimed to rotate the sea guard, reforming into 4 ranks and shoot down the marauders while my sword masters moved into make sure the Chaos Warriors wouldn't charge the sea guard rear. But as is Warhammer/dice lore I fail the swift reform roll leaving my sea guard at the mercy of the marauders. During the magic phase the Winds of Magic again vent their frustration causing the High Elf Mage to miscast Okkams Mindrazor. Luckily I had taken the Staff of Solidity meaning I could ignore my first miscast. Phew! The Mindrazor spell is cast with irresistible force on the Helms (The Chaos did have a dispel scroll - but that isn't much use when the only guy that can read it is floating around in the void). Using the lore attribute my mage again teleports with the BSB back to the safety of the back rank. Perfect. My strength 10 Helms crush the Chaos Knights and win combat. The Knights flee and I overrun them reforming to face the war hounds flank.
The Chaos warriors charge my Sword Masters. The Chariot fails a flank charge into the sea guard. The marauders move out of charge arc of my sea guard. The War hounds move out of the charge arc of my Silver Helms. All other units advance. No magic or shooting phase takes us straight into close combat. The Chaos lord challenges my Sword Master Unit champion. He predictably dies. Although my sword masters managed to cut a few warriors down they lose combat but mange to hold to face another beating!
Turn 4 - Things are speeding up!
This time my sea guard manage to swift reform and leave only 1 marauder standing. My silver Helms move towards the rear of the chaos army. This leaves their flank exposed to the war hounds but another mystifying miasma brings their weapon skill down to 1. I don't need to worry about that charge now! I wizard fails to cast the Mindrazor on the Sword Masters and they are cut down in combat. The Chaos Warriors reform to face the sea guard flank.
The 2 remaining chose move in to form a blockade between my Helms and the rest of the chaos army. The sea guard are charged by the Warriors. They hold to fight but lose combat and flee off the battle field. The Chaos warriors reform to face my Helms.
Turn 5 -
The Silver Helms charge the Chosen but can't quite catch them as they flee. Luckily this means the Warriors can't retaliate as the 2 chosen are in the way! The winds of magic again fail to blow making for an un-eventful round. Lee moves the chariot and war shrine to try and keep them safe from my un-stoppable helms.
Turn 6 -
My Silver Helms charged the war shrine (got for the big points - it was that or the chosen). Another pitiful gust of magic and I can't possibly cast Mindrazor, I however manage to cast Withering reducing the toughness of the Shrine by 1. I comfortably win close combat and overrun the shrine. This places my unit behind the warriors and the Chaos Chariot meaning in their last turn they can't do anything to me. All that remained was to calculate the point difference and see who won.
Standard victory conditions meant calculating the cost of lost units. Bonus points for characters killed in challenges etc. I wish I had read this before the battle. I had left 1 marauder alive, 2 chosen which meant I couldn't claim any points for the damage I did. I did still win by 56 points (mainly because my entire army is contained in 1 unit. 48% army value in the Helms. Then add the Mage and the BSB its a point mammoth.
So in theory I won! But alas, we found the errata sheet. You need to have a point difference >100 points to claim a win. So on paper this one was a draw!
Lessons I learnt:
My Massive Silver Helm unit is brilliant. I only suffered 1 casualty. That 2+ armor save and the Mindrazor spell work really well together. I worry what will happen in larger point games where I might be meeting war-machines. I can't hope for mis-fires every game. I might need to sacrifice something to squeeze in an eagle or 2.
It helped not having to dispel anything during the game. Lee was very unlucky with his magic rolls. But then in the later stages of the game I was getting a power pool of 2/3 dice. ergh!
DON'T try and chase skirmish units. They can run rings around my large units. Relying on swift reform isn't the best idea. Again a few eagles might help chase these annoying units down. I worry for when I face Kieron's Pegasus Knights.