Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Battle Report 3: Orcs vs Dwarfs 20/05/2017

Orc hordes charging a Dwarf castle - the classic grudge match!

This is the second game of last Saturday's Wellington Warlords Super Series tournament (and my third report overall). After a fairly average defeat in game one I was paired up against David Stuart's highly unusual Dwarf list.

I've never played David before but we chatted before the game and both of were in a similar situation, having played a dozen games or so and one local tournament before this one. David's list raised a few eyebrows before the tournament as it has no inspiring (or heroes of any kind), and a huge number of potential 4+ shots each turn.

Personally I'd wanted to face this list because I was intrigued how it would play.


Ax Horde, Blood of the Old King 220
  - 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

Shieldbreaker Horde 215
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135

Shieldbreaker Horde 215
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135
  - Ranger Troop 135

Shieldbreaker Horde 215
  - Beserker Brock Rider Troop 135
  - Beserker Brock Rider Troop 135

Mission and Terrain
We were playing on a fairly open snow table, with a pair of height 4 buildings in the middle and a hill on either flank. It hadn't occurred to me at the time but there weren't any obstacles on the board.

The mission was invade - giving me a slight advantage over the slower, shooting orientated Dwarfs.


The orc plan was quite simple, based on the placement of the terrain they would march up on the right of the central building. The plan was to charge up using the building and forest as cover and then clear the Dwarfs out of the way and win - a very straight forward and orcish plan :p

The Dwarfs began their deployment, placing one of the ranger troops in the middle. The orcs responded with a unit of Gore Riders on the right. After placing another ranger troop and a supporting cavalry troop the Dwarfs responded by placing all of their remaining units on the right flank.

The orc deployment meant that the Gore Riders were stuck on a very short flank, and there was nothing they could do about the Dwarf units in the centre.

The orc Skulks vanguarded up 6" into the forest and in response the Dwarfs vanguarded all of their rangers up the full 10". This was an interesting decision that put them in range of the orcs if they got the first turn... which they did!

The Dwarfs line up in the snow

Turn 1 Orcs
The orcs relish turn 1 charges!
The Dwarfs' advance had left them within range of both the Skulks and Gore Riders charged units of Rangers. The Gore Riders easily broke the small scout troop and turned toward a second one. The Skulks over-performed but could only waver the troop in front of them.

The heavier orc units followed up the Skulks, however the issue of their deployment became apparent as the two Ax hordes began to get in each others' way... not good
The orcs charge

Turn 1 Dwarfs
The Rangers show that they can fight too
The Rangers had suffered in the initial orc charge but they hit back just as hard. A troop of Rangers rushed in to help their wavered brethren and chased the Skulks off. On the right the rangers were able to waver the first wave of Gore Riders with 6 points of damage.

The other ranger troops opened fire on the Ax hordes but the impact was negligible

The heavy Dwarf units followed up behind the rangers, the Shieldbreakers cresting the hill as the Brock Riders pushed through them.

The Dwarf flanking force moved as fast as they could into the orcs' territory.

The Rangers charge the Gore Riders

Turn 2 Orcs
The orc line becomes increasingly crowded
The Ax horde on the left saw an opportunity and charged the Rangers who had scattered the Skulks destroying them. 

The rest of the orc horde advanced as far as they could as the Godspeakers healed up the damage from the Dwarf shooting.

Turn 2 Dwarfs
The lines engage
The Ax horde's successful charge had opened them up to a multi-charge from two troops of Rangers and the Brock Riders. However even the combined might of three dwarf troops could only do 5 points of damage - too little to worry the pressed mass of orcs.

The Rangers continued to press the Gore Riders, but only added two points of damage to them, allowing the orc cavalry to regain their nerve.

The last troop of rangers in the main line fired at the Giant, doing minimal damage to the monster.

The flanking force sighted the Wardrum but also only did one point of damage.
The Dwarfs learn how tough Ax hordes can be

Turn 3 Orcs
The Dwarfs' first line breaks
The orcs continued the push in the centre - the Gore Riders punishing the Rangers for their failure as the Ax horde slid over to destroy another troop of Rangers. The opened up space for the Trolls to charge the Brock Riders. Both hordes successfully annihilated the smaller dwarf troops.

The orc characters pushed up to hide from the flanking force, and the Orclings turned, staying just inside the forest to prevent the Brock riders hitting the orcish rear. The Godspeakers did a small amount of damage to the Shieldbreakers on the hill.
The orc hordes advance

Turn 3 Dwarfs
The Dwarf heavy units charge
The dwarfs' heavy second line finally engaged the orcs. The Shieldbreakers charging down the hill. One horde failed to break the determined Gore Riders. The central unit also unsuccessful, only doing a couple of points of damage to the Ax horde.

The last troop of front line rangers charged into the Trolls, trying to sell their lives as dearly as possible.

The flanking force pushed around the house, and the rear troop fired on the orclings, doing two points of damage to the diminutive orclings.

Turn 4 Orcs
The scrum continues
The orcs love a scrum - the Ax horde returning 8 points of damage to the Shieldbreakers. However, the Trolls were less successful, failing to break the Rangers.

The Gore Riders continued pushing, this time into the Shieldbreakers, doing 6 points of damage to them, selling themselves dearly.
The Dwarf line thins

Turn 4 Dwarfs
The Dwarfs stall the orc advance
The Dwarfs continue the scrum and are able to make progress. The Shieldbreakers did another 8 damage to the Ax horde, waving them as both Ranger troops combined to try and break the Trolls.

On the far right the Shieldbreakers finally finish off the lead unit of Gore Riders.

The Brock Riders were more successful, despite charging into the forest they did 8 points of damage and wavering the Orclings.

The rangers in the flank peppered the Wardrum, doing another two points of damage to it.
The orcs are flanked

Turn 5 Orcs
Trolls in the thick of it
The Gore Riders open up a gap in the dwarf line

With the Ax horde wavering the main orc advance stalled. The Trolls however were still able to fight - chasing down one of the Ranger units as the Godspeakers charred the other engaged unit.

On the right the Gore Rider reserves were able to smash through the Shieldbreakers, becoming the first orc unit in Dwarf territory. The Morax saw an opportunity (should the game go into its seventh turn) and moved into the gap.

Turn 5 Dwarfs
The Shieldbreakers hold the line
The hole on the right didn't concern the remaining Dwarf infantry, instead it encouraged them to break both the Ax horde and the Trolls.

The Brock Riders finished off the Orclings and turned to face the rear of the orc lines.
The Shieldbreakers finally destroy the orc lead units

Turn 6 Orcs
Things were looking less certain for the greenskins with their lead units routed. However this opened up a charge from the second Ax horde.

The Giant and Wardrum also charged the Shieldbreakers to protect the flank of the Ax. Lastly both Godspeakers turn to face the slightly damaged Brock Riders.

At this point I knew that I would win if the Ax horde could finish off the Shieldbreaker horde with 8 wounds on it, and I rolled anything but a 1 on the advance, or if there was a seventh turn, or if the Giant and Wardrum somehow broke the other unit of Shieldbreakers. I would also draw if the Godspeakers were able to break the Brock Rider troop, although given that they only had 4 points of damage on them that last one was unlikely...

Firstly the Godspeakers fired at the Brock Riders. The first Godspeaker failed to do any damage, so the second one turned to banechant the Ax horde... but also failed to hit!

The Giant, Wardrum and Flagger also rolled poorly doing a measly 2 damage to the Shieldbreakers.

This left the main attraction. The Ax horde drank the blood of the old king, and charged, scattering the remaining Dwarfs. They then advanced 1 inch! Leaving 3mm of orc out of the Dwarf side of the board.

The Wardrum also bounced, leaving 2mm of a corner in the orc side (thankfully we had a 3rd party on hand to check!)
The orcs finally break through, but they'll need a 7th turn to win

Turn 6 Dwarfs
The Dwarfs' final position
The Shieldbreakers charged the Flagger and the Brock Riders charged a Godspeaker, neither orc hero broke however.

As things stood the Dwarfs were winning 3-2. David rolled for a seventh turn and got a 3, giving the Dwarfs victory!
The final position of the orcs - just short

After-battle thoughts

Congratulations to David, his waves of Rangers proved harder to break down than expected and he played the scenario without getting distracted. He also won his next game against the undead so I think he's got the core of a really nice army in there.

At the time I wasn't sure about his decision to double-time his rangers up. However, on a closer look it did have the advantage of ensuring that the engagements were at the narrowest point which really limited my ability to get units into the fight so there were advantages to the move.

I made some serious mistakes which cost me the game. Most obviously was my choice of the short side which seriously cramped my advance reducing the number of units which could fight and amplifying the impact of wavering units. It certainly reduced the number of shots coming my way, but I think I should have just braved a hail of arrows in the centre of the board. I also missed a few sneaky charges but there you go.

I also really shouldn't have ignored the small units in the middle. Had I placed one of the Brock Rider units and the Giant there with Flagger support I probably could have won the fight and easily taken the game. So there are some good lessons to learn!

I'll be honest that after this game I was feeling pretty bad. Once I broke that Shieldbreaker horde with the Axes I had an 11/12 chance of winning the game odds that I (unfairly) focused on immediately afterward. After a few minutes I felt a bit better about it - luck is part of the game, and it wouldn't be as fun if everything went as expected! (grabbing lunch also helped my mood) Credit to David for being magnanimous as I grumped afterward.

Overall though, whilst I was upset after this game looking back on it it was a fun and tense game to play and I look forward to facing David again.

Tallying up the kills, I had 1255 points left to David's 620 - giving him 10 tournament points to my 6. This left me rock bottom, which meant that I had a bye for the third round. This means that I only have one more report to make from this tournament, against Neil's horse-archer Varangur, which I'll put up on Saturday