Saturday, 27 May 2017

After Tournament Report and Some Navel Gazing

Whilst I'll be dedicating this blog to battle reports, I thought I might just write up a short post of my thoughts on my recent Wellington Warlords Super Series tournament, and where I think I'll go from here :)

I won't be posting this on Facebook because it really is a lot of self indulgent naval gazing and I don't know how much interesting I have to say!

My first thought on the tournament, and the Wellington scene more generally is on how great my opponents have been. Its really nice to play people who are competitive but still polite, mature and sporting.

As for my performance, I aimed to come mid-table and achieved that goal, but I'm under no illusions that I was lucky to get there and that there are some things to work on in this weeks' Runefang IX (where I'll similarly aim to get mid-table, but I won't be upset if I totally fluff my lines and come 8th).

The two things which I think I'll work on are 1. keeping a cool head and thinking before I charge and 2. practice chaffing up and stalling enemy units. Neither of these are likely to be quick fixes, I've already repeated one of them in a game against Pete (which I'll post soon)! I'll just work on being aware of them and trying to change my play over time :)


I mentioned the first recurrent mistake in a couple of the games. I like to take offered charges, especially if I think that I can break the target. This is very orky but it can lead to me getting out of position and setting myself up to lose valuable units. I think that I've actually already improved on compared to my first games (I once charged a troop of Gore Riders into the flank of a Zombie legion) but I do still tend to see red once or twice a game.

I think that this is part of my problematic use of the Gore Riders, I tend to throw those units unsupported into the enemy lines and then watch them die. Improving on this probably will involve me thinking about the possible exchanges that I'm making but also thinking about my final positioning - charging the Ax horde out of the dominate circle in the game against Ryan for instance.

This also relates to the second point, sometimes it's better to not charge or counter-charge and break enemy units, particularly if they are stopping more dangerous units getting into the fight. This is something that Pete does really well with both his Beast Packs and Tunnel Slaves, and which Ryan also did with his Zombie legion.


There is of course more of an art to stalling and chaffing up the enemy than not charging. Practicing things like using the threat of a charge, throwing units under the bus, or positioning units in ways which disrupt my opponents' positioning are also things that I need to work on.

I have a tendency to not plan ahead in this regard. All to often I rely on throwing my individuals between my units and the enemies far to late to achieve anything (I've lost track of the number of times that I've needed an advance of 1" to save a unit).


I'm going to make a slight change to my list for the next tournament - dropping the Trolls and one of the Flaggers for another Godspeaker (with the inspiring talisman), another Orcling horde and another troop of Skulks. I'm not that optimistic about dropping the Trolls, but they're the only unit that I can easily cut whilst still having 4 heroes and 2 monsters.

Pete has posted a valuable warning about tinkering and failing, and this has stopped me from doing just what he warned against (I've now played about 20 games with this list). However in this case I want to try out a few different unit types to help me learn a bit. I'm not sure if my proposed change will stick but having a go with a couple of more chaff units will be a bit of an interesting challenge.

I'm not expecting that I will suddenly improve with these changes, but it will offer a few new learning opportunities. I don't think that I'll change my orc list any more after this though.

This means that my list will be:

Ax Horde 205
  - Godspeaker, banechant, heal 100
  - Wardrum 80
  - Skulk Troop 75
 
Ax Horde 205
  - Godspeaker, banechant, heal 100 
  - Giant 190
  - Skulk Troop 75

Morax Regiment, Brew of Sharpness 245
   - Godspeaker, heal, inspiring talisman100
  - Skulk Troop 75

Gore Rider Regiment, Mace of Crushing 185
 - Flagger, mounted on Gore  65

Gore Rider Regiment 185

Orcling Horde* 90 
Orcling Horde* 90

I had a game on Saturday against Pete's Ratkin, which I'll post in the next couple of days. That will be the last post for a couple of weeks - I'll be going on holiday from the 4th - 12th of June. I'll work on posting my Runefang IX reports after that.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Battle Report 4: Orcs vs Varangur 20/05/2017


You'll be amazed the distance at which those flails can kill orcs with the power of Korgaan!
Hello everyone!

This is the battle report for my third and final game at the Wellington Warlord's Super Series. After two losses and a bye I was drawn against Neil's horse-archer Varangur army.

I'd played Neil once before in my first real game of Kings of War (and first tournament game) where we'd played out a fantasy reenactment of the battle of Carrhae with my orcs in the position of the Romans. Whilst I was keen for revenge I wasn't exactly confident...
Armies
Orcs
Ax Horde, Blood of the Old King 205
  - Godspeaker, banechant, heal 100
  - Wardrum 80
  - Skulk Troop 75


  Ax Horde 205
  - Godspeaker, banechant, heal 100
  - Giant 190


Morax Regiment, Brew of Sharpness 245
 - Flagger, Banner of the Griffin 70


Gore Rider Regiment 185
 - Flagger, mounted on Gore  65


Gore Rider Regiment 185    
Troll Horde* 190  
Orcling Horde* 90  



Varangur

Fallen Horde – Brew of Strength 270
 - Devourer – Noxious Mist 190
 - Magos – Mount, Bane Chant, Inspiring Talisman 135

Horse Raider Regiment – Bows 180
 - Devourer – Noxious Mist 190

Horse Raider Regiment - Bows 180
 -  Devourer – Noxious Mist 190

Horse Raider Regiment - Bows 180
 - Magos – Mount, Blood Boil, Scarletmaw’s Fenulian Amulet 150


Horse Raider Regiment - Bows 180
 - Magos – Blood Boil, Boots of Levitation 160

Terrain



I got to play on the same board as my first game, and Neil picked the same side as Ryan. I was pretty happy about this firstly because there was plenty of cover in the middle, and also because that the odd shaped hill on his side would provide some protection for my advance.

This time we were going to play scavenge from clash of kings, which neither of us had played before. Neil placed his token on the left (from my perspective), and I placed mine on the same side. This is something which I always do as I'm usually the slower army so closing down the game is always in my favour.
 

Deployment
Neil placed his Horse Riders in the middle, with the hill giving two units a nice angle of fire, and the other two in a good position to rush round the flank. He placed his tougher units on his right, with the Magi distributed though out the line.

I was really concerned that he would move up to the scavenge points on turn 1, and then just chaff me up for the game before winning - Pete had pointed out that he could have done something similar in an earlier loot game with his herd army. because of this I wanted to rush up and claim the tokens as quick as possible.

With all of the tokens on one side of the board, I placed my main body in the middle, with the Ax horde just avoiding the obstacle to rush up a few extra inches. The Giant was deployed on an angle to rush into the forest and take cover, all of the other infantry hid behind the Ax - fueling the Godspeakers.

We rolled for turns and again I won and chose to go first.
Varangur ready to kill some orcs

Turn 1 Orcs
The orcs rush forward to take cover in the forest
The orcs charged up as quickly as possible, trying to claim the scavenge markers and take cover in the forest.

On the left the Gore Rides also advanced to secure the left token. The plan was to spend one turn looting that point and then retreat and destroy it if needs be.

The orcs advance
Turn 1 Varangur
The Varangur climb the hill and open fire
The Varangur horde raiders advanced to get sight on the orc hordes and open fire. The Skulks were quickly shot out of the forest, and a few points of damage was done on the Ax and one of the Gore Rider regiments.

On the left the Fallen moved up to just out of range of the Gore Riders, as the Devourers re-positioned to respond to the orc cavalry.
 
The horse riders open fire
Turn 2 Orcs
The orcs claim all the scavenge points!
The orcs continued their advance, unperturbed by the Skulk's demise and moved into the forests, claiming all of the scavenge points. The Godspeakers healed the damage done to the Ax.

One regiment Gore Riders produced a loot token and began to fall back with their bounty. The other Gore Riders advanced to cover their retreat.

Turn 2 Varangur
The Devourers get into positon
The Horse Riders fall back down the hill, moving out of range from the orc advance. On the right the Devourers moved up into the field getting the Gore Riders in range of their noxious breath. Combined with the Magos' lighting bolts they7 were able to route the lead unit of cavalry.

The horse riders on the left continued firing but the damage was minimal.
The Varangur present a strong flank
Turn 3 Orcs
The orcs loot and continue to march up
The orcs continue their advance in the middle, the Giant and Ax stopping briefly to scoop up loot. The Ax horde advanced, hoping to hide within the curve of the hill. The Orclings and Trolls turned to protect the flank of the Ax horde.

On the left the Gore Riders retreated another 2.5 inches, not willing to brave a rear charge from a Devourer. The Flagger charged forward to block the advance of one of the Devourers and buy the Gore Riders time.

Turn 3 Varangur
The Varangur heavy units charge into the forest
The orc advance had exposed their flank to the Fallen, and one of the Devourers and Horse Raiders joined in the slaughter. Despite piling on 21 points of damage, Neil snake eyed the nerve roll, perhaps the orcs relished a fight after all the cowering?

Things went better for the Varangur elsewhere, as the other Horse Raider units put 4 points of damage on the second Ax horde and the Devourers finished off the Gore Riders, leaving the loot unguarded.
The Varangur envelop the orc infantry

Turn 4 Orcs
The orc counter-attack is unimpressive
(Wow I was lucky with that double 1, I honestly didn't see the Fallen flank charge coming!)

The orcs breathed a sigh of relief, and the Orclings charged into the forest into a gap opened up by the Godspeakers, but couldn't do any damage to the Fallen.The Ax horde dropped their loot token and charged into the Devourer, badly damaging but not killing the monster.

On the right the orcs continued to scavenge for loot, the second Ax horde following in the Giant's wake.

The Flagger retreated as fast as possible, hoping to inspire the Morax and Giant.
The orcs still presenting a strong front
 Turn 4 Varangur
The Ax horde finally breaks
The Varangur continued to press the orcs - shooting down the remains of the Ax horde. The Fallen redirected their attacks toward the Orclings, doing 9 points of damage but failing to break them.

The Horse Archers continued shooting at the second Ax horde, bringing them up to 7 points of damage.

On the left the Devourers moved to secure the loot left by the deceased Gore Riders.


Turn 5 Orcs
The orcs re-position to protect the loot
With the collapse of the Ax horde and the army flanked the orcs began to retreat, the Morax moving up to take a loot token from the Giant as the support characters flee behind the Ax horde.

On the right the Orclings and Trolls attempted to remove the threat of the Fallen and move on the Devourers, however they could only do 9 points of damage and could only waver the mutants.

Turn 5 Varangur
The Fallen fall back as the Devourers move in to finish off the orc auxiliaries
Seeing the orcs' retreat the Varangur advanced, two Devourers attacked the Trolls and orclings, breaking the Orclings and stalling the Trolls. The Fallen fell back to claim their share of the loot.

The Horse Raiders continued to fire on the Ax hordes as the Magi moved forward to release their final weapon - boiling the wounded orcs' blood, slaughtering the entire horde and dropping their loot counter on the floor.

 Turn 6 Orcs

The orcs are in full retreat

The remaining orcs continued their retreat, protecting what loot they still had. The Morax scooped up the loot dropped by the Ax horde and retreated mostly behind the wall, providing them some cover. The Flaggers and Wardrum retreated behind the Morax doing all they could to keep them in the fight.

The Giant repositioned himself in the forest.

The Godspeakers remained in the forest to slow the Varangur down and even manage to finish off the wounded Devourer!
 
The remaining orcs try to flee with their loot...

Turn 6 Varangur
..but the Varangur are closing in
The Varangur continued their bombardment as the Fallen claimed their loot. On the left the combined shooting from the Devourers melted the Trolls.

The Varangur were running out of time. All of the Horse Archers and Magi advanced on the Morax, hoping to annihilate them and claim victory before the clock ran out.

However despite firing a massive amounts of shots into the elite orcs, and then two bloodboils, Neil rolled twice for nerve and got a 3 only wavering the Morax... then the clock timed out.

As things stood, that (un)lucky nerve roll left things as a draw, but we rolled and the orcs got another chance to claim victory.
The Morax refuse to die!



Turn 7 Orcs


There was only two things the orcs could do - charge the Giant into a Magus to claim the victory points and launch one last volley of fireballs into the Fallen to claim victory.

The Godspeakers proved their value yet again, burning the already damaged Fallen enough to force them to drop their loot, giving the orcs an undeserved victory.

The Giant failed to kill the Magus.
The few remaining orcs claim victory and rub salt in the wound.

After-battle thoughts

Hmm, I won... yay?

Firstly thank you to Neil for being a fun opponent. I've played him twice now and, whilst his army is horrible, he is really pleasant to play against. Also whilst I joked about his flail bows above I think it's one of the best looking armies that I've faced.

Tallying up the kill points, he had 885 more points on the table than I did (although this was incorrectly tallied up on the day as 795 points). I'll write an after-tournament report where I discuss this in more detail, but sufficed to say I got really, really lucky in this game. It also meant that I finished joint 4th of 9th with 2 other people.

This is the first time I've faced someone who has run out of time and I felt guilty immediately afterward because, had Neil had one more minute I have no doubt he would have easily destroyed the last of my orcs. On further reflection though timing is part of the game, and something to be aware of. Still I imagine Neil will be favourate to win if we meet next week!

As for things I did wrong, the most obvious one was not spotting the flank charge on my Ax horde. I had no real need to move them up on second viewing, so that was a blunder that I was lucky not to be punished more severely for.

I again misused my cavalry. I obviously should have dropped that token and charged earlier, I just thought that every turn the Devourers were moving toward the flank, the fewer turns that I would have to deal with them in the centre.

I also should have held the Gore Riders back and just covered the loot marker instead of attacking early - Neil had a far stronger flank than me so it was always going to be trying to stall him. I advanced because I was really worried that Neil would rush forward, take 3 - 4 tokens and then just chaff me up, preventing me from generating tokens. As I mentioned at the start, this was based on an earlier conversation with Pete's equally fast army in a loot game. I think I misjudged the scenario and Neil's play style there, but hey I am still learning :)

I'm scheduled to play Pete tomorrow, so I'll put the battle reports from that up next week. Heck he may roll enough 1s that I may even win another one ;) Thanks to everyone for reading these, and to Pete for organising and running the tournament. As always feel free to give critiques and suggest ways that I could improve.