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Posts Tagged ‘Skaven’

Well, with a long staff meeting-free afternoon in prospect, I had two games of WFB lined up this week – against High Elves at 1500 amd Skaven at 1000 points (a rematch from last week). When I arrived I found both my opponents waiting and it was suggested that the two of them team up against me at 2000 points – but I didn’t really have enough toys with me, plus my imagination recoiled from the idea of a Skaven-Elf alliance. So I counter-offered a three-way Triumph & Treachery game at 1000 points, which meant we would all get to play at once (although it did mean I wouldn’t get to use my Giant or the Mutalith I spent last Saturday painting, nor indeed my bodged-together battle standard). Everyone turned out to be up for it, so off we went.

chaos

I had the same army as last time, the only slight tweak being a switch from the Lore of Death to that of Nurgle: Warriors, Marauders, a Gorebeast Chariot, many Warhounds, and a couple of Spawn, commanded by a Sorcerer. The Skaven had reorganised themselves and now comprised a big Clanrat regiment, a smaller Slave unit, twentyish Plague Monks, and the Doomwheel, led by a Warlord and a couple of wizards. The High Elves hailed from the realm of startersetdom and featured a noble on a Griffon, sixteen Seaguard, and about a dozen Swordmasters, led by an Archmage (‘fairly appalling at 1000 points’ was the majority opinion on this).

Once we’d figured out the three-player rules the game got under way, and initially it looked like the Skaven and Chaos Warriors were intent on taking each other out first: there were scores to settle and the High Elf force looked tiny anyway. Through a combination of bad play and, er, worse play, I ended up with a pack of Hounds contesting the central objective, but my general’s unit being charged by the Doomwheel and flanked by the Skaven Clanrats. Sneakiness could only fend off the inevitable for so long and the unit broke, ending up in front of the Griffon which had executed a long flanking move. Having had the guts blown out of the Marauder unit by a surprisingly accurate Skaven firework on the same turn I was feeling very much on the back foot at this point.

I got some respite as the High Elves went on the offensive, although this did result in the Griffon running down and killing my Warriors and general and earning a huge stack of points. Elsewhere the Archmage devastated the Slaves using Fiery Convocation and the Swordmasters annihilated them on the charge, which caused the Skaven general to shift his attention fairly smartly. The Doomwheel and Clanrats duly charged and easily killed the Griffon and its rider, but this left them a long way from the centre of the board, while the gas mortar blew itself up as well.

The easiest targets for the remains of my force were the Seaguard, while the Swordmasters had charged the Gorebeast Chariot in the flank, thinking it an easy target. But both this combat and the one between the Hounds and Marauders and the Seaguard ground on for a number of turns, until the Chariot managed to break the Swordmasters and run them down, taking out the Archmage as well (much to the relief of the Skaven, whose units had grown accustomed to spending most of their time on fire).

This left me with a tough choice on my next turn – carry on fighting the Elves, which looked a marginal prospect at best and meant the Chariot would be charged by the Plague Monks, or suspend hostilities with the pointy-headed ones and stick the Chariot into the Monks? I opted for the latter and the Chariot ploughed into them, killed half a dozen for no wounds in return (just as well as it only had one left) and left them testing on a 7 for their Steadfast leadership. They blew it and the Chariot ran them down as well.

The downside was that the Elves were now able to break the truce and charge down the Marauders on their own turn. The Marauders caved in and were run down. We’d agreed this was to be the last turn anyway and the Skaven player conceded his final turn: despite killing the Griffon, and easily having the strongest force left on the table, he was a distant third on points. The Chariot’s trail of slaughter had actually put me back into the game, but even my control of the objective didn’t give me quite enough points to sneak past the High Elves, who had done serious damage to both other armies and were close on the 1500 VP mark.

Still, a fun game: not quite sure how useful it is in terms of learning my army, though. My general feeling I need more infantry has not changed, and neither has my impression that the Gorebeast Chariot is an incredibly resilient and nasty piece of kit, quite capable of taking on ranked infantry unsupported. We enjoyed the three-player dynamic a lot, though the game did last about four hours, and I think I will be trying to stick to regular two-player or team games in general. Still, every chance of another one of those next week, and my Hellcannon arrived, which means I may even get to shoot something. New experiences are very important.

 

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So, the long road back to marginal Warhammer competence, stage two. A slight change of approach this week – I had a game lined up in advance, against a relatively new player hailing from Copenhagen (I should have entitled this ‘Playing the Dane (Or ‘Warhamlet’)’). We each knew the army the other was bringing, not that I had many options when it came to list-tailoring, and that wasn’t exactly the point of the exercise.

chaos

Having done some research and tapped the brains of better players of my acquaintance, the 1K army I turned up with was rather different from the previous week’s – the cavalry and Daemon Prince were gone, along with one of the heroes. Promoted to the generalship was a Chaos Sorcerer of Death tooled up to channel on a 4+ and with three spells at level 2. Having blown my Hero allowance on this guy I was obliged to move on to the Core section where the same 12 Chaos Warriors and 20 Marauders as last time were now accompanied by four units of five Warhounds. A new addition to the circus was a Gorebeast Chariot, while using up my last 120 points were a couple of Spawn with various Marks.

The Skaven army I was facing had lots of infantry but not much else: 40+ Clanrats with spears, 40+ Slaves, 20 Clanrats with hand weapons, accompanied by a Doomwheel and two gas mortar weapon teams. Leading the ratty horde was a Warlord and a Warlock Engineer.

Part of the thinking behind taking all the Warhounds was to give me some flexibility in deploying, and I was indeed able to react to the Skaven. The two enemy units which gave me pause were the big Clanrat regiment and the Doomwheel, and they went down on the extreme flanks, leaving the Skaven army with an invitingly soft centre. In response, behind the Warhound skirmish line the two Spawn went down opposite the Warlord’s unit, with the Warriors and Marauders in the centre, and the Chariot on the right opposite the Doomwheel.

I got the first turn and advanced across the board, positioning the Warhounds to interfere with the Skaven advance as much as possible. Just how effective the Chaos magic phase was going to be became apparent when I was able to kill the Warlock outright with Caress of Laniph and then use Doom and Darkness to knock down the small Clanrats’ leadership.

Obviously a bit intimidated by the advancing forces, the Skaven stayed put, apart from the Doomwheel which smashed into a Warhound unit, wiping it out before overrunning to a point in front of the Chariot. The Poison Mortars killed a couple of infantry, but not enough to concern me (yet).

On my turn the Chariot counter-charged the Doomwheel and one of the Warhound packs charged an unwisely-positioned Poison Mortar. Everything else ground forward. The Sorcerer hit the Doomwheel with Soul Blight, meaning the Chariot was able to smash it apart for only a single wound in return.

With this done the Skaven right flank was pretty much open and it was relatively straightforward to roll it up, while using the two Chaos Spawn and the surviving Warhounds to keep the Warlord and his Clanrats tied down, using Doom and Darkness to negate the Skaven’s Strength in Numbers rule. Even so, I was a little surprised by how hard some of the Chaos units hit: the Gorebeast Chariot comfortably beat the small Clanrat unit unassisted and drove it off the board, while one of the Spawn was able to beat the Skavenslaves in combat – they popped, doing ten automatic hits on it (but only one wound).

In the end Caress of Laniph saw off the Skaven Warlord and I was able to charge the Clanrats with the Marauders and the Chariot simultaneously (they already had a Spawn of Slaanesh lodged in their flank). Failing their fear test, and debilitated by Soul Blight, the Clanrats were in no state to put up any resistance: the Marauder Chieftain hacked down his opposite number in a challenge and earned himself a 6+ ward save, while between them the Marauders, Chariot, and Spawn killed getting on for half the unit. In the end the Clanrats lost the combat by 12 points, broke, and were run down. The field belonged to Chaos.

Well, my two star performers were obviously the Gorebeast Chariot, which reduced everything it touched to a bloody smear, and the Chaos Sorcerer (let’s not mention the miscast where he blew up a third of his own unit). The Lore of Death was devastating against the Skaven, and losing their only wizard on turn one really put them on the back foot. Beyond this, I am fairly happy that I still have some idea about how to use Warhounds as tactical nuisance units, but I am also aware that this was a game against a relatively new player with a non-optimal list.

In fact, we spent most of the post-game chat talking about how he could strengthen his army. I would suggest he needs more shooting of some description, ideally something which could take out my Warhound units, and also some kind of magical defence – a dispel scroll might have preserved his Warlock Engineer past the first Chaos turn. Though I didn’t say it at the time, splitting the 40+ Skavenslave unit into two units of 20 might be a better use of his resources. He also felt he was lacking in a proper combat unit, and I suggested either Stormvermin or Plague Monks (based, it must be said, solely on their statlines).

I am looking forward to taking this army to a larger size, though I haven’t written a particular list yet. For 1500 I think more Chaos Warriors and a battle standard are going to be essential (not that the Chaos Warriors actually got into combat this game). I must confess that I am currently having a whale of a time painting a Mutalith and am contemplating disregarding most tactical advice and actually taking it to the table. We shall see: there are fewer lessons in victory, but it has other compensations.

 

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