2000 Dark Elves Vs High Elves, Pitched BattleUlthuan! Dreadlady Thasia Helltamer, Mistress of the Scions of Grief, breathed deeply the sweet air. In the distance, the white cliffs shone in the morning sunlight. The cries of the gulls were somehow beautiful, as though they, too, knew the importance of this place. Of this moment. Thasia leapt off the prow of her landing boat and let her boots sink into the golden sand. "At last."
How many decades had she spent working her way to this moment? Sweating through the dark jungles of Lustria, raiding the scorching sands of Araby, slaying goblins and rat-men in dark tunnels beneath the great mountains of the Old World--all of it in preparation for this. Every throat she cut, every scream she teased from her victims, every mewling slave she dragged in barbed chains back to Lord Khadriel had been a small step up a long, long slope. And now, here she stood, at what she knew one day would be thought of as the beginning of her long and illustrious career.
Drethien, her Reaver, knelt beside her. "Our scouts report Asur militia massing in a field just beyond the cliffs, milady. We must have been spotted by their eagles."
"It will take those peasants hours to muster properly. Get our equipment up the cliffs double-time--I want to be able to pick our place of engagement."
Drethien nodded. As he turned to go, Thasia shouted after him. "We take Asur slaves today, Drethien. This will make us all rich."
The Reaver smiled and bowed. "To our glorious victory!"
Thasia ran a gauntleted hand along the scarred half of her face and started up the beach.
So, much to my excitement, I've come upon another person living in my area who plays Fantasy. Even better, he plays High Elves
. At this point you should imagine me squealing with glee. After years of primarily playing Lizardmen with the occasional foray into Dwarves and Orks, it will be so nice to shoot at things without T4! Anyway, the lists:Thasia's Ulthuan Raiding PartyThasia Helltamer:
Dreadlord w/Heavy Armor, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Ogre Blade, Pendant of Khaeleth, The Other Trickster's Shard; GeneralHelio Deathsong:
Lv 2 Sorceress w/Tome of Furion, Seal of Ghrond (Lore of Fire: Fireball, Flame Cage, Burning Bolts)Ithis Duskwalker:
Lv 2 Sorceress w/Dispel Scroll (Dark Lore: Chillwind, Black Horror)The Black Orchid:
Assassin w/Extra Weapon, Manbane, Rune of Khaine
30 Corsairs w/Full Command, Sea Serpent Standard
10 RxBmen w/Musician, Shields
10 RxBmen w/Musician Shields
5 Dark Riders w/Musician, RxBs
1 Cold One Chariot
6 Shades w/ Extra Weapons
2 Reaper Bolt Throwers Asur Coastal DefensesPrince
w/Bow of the Seafarer, Great Weapon, Armor of Caledor, GeneralBSB
w/Dragon Bow, Great Weapon, (something else)Mage
Lv 2 w/Silver Wand, Loremaster's Cloak (Lore of Life: Regrowth, Throne of Vines, Dwellers Below)
25 Spearmen w/Full Command
14 Swordmasters w/Champ, Musician
17 White Lions w/Full Command
5 Dragon Princes w/Full Command (I think)
1 Repeater Bolt Thrower
2 Great EaglesTerrain and Deployment
We rolled for 7 terrain pieces and opted for all forests to simply be 'normal' forests. There was a hill placed in the SE, a hill placed in the NW, and the rest of the terrain (two forests, a small hill, a lake, and a pair of statues) were all spaced across the center of the board. Much of this was my own doing, since I wanted to funnel the HE infantry into tighter quarters, making it hard for them to maneuver.
My opponent (Nick) won his choice of deployment, and picked the north board edge. He spread his units out across the board fairly evenly, with an archer block and eagle on each flank, and the center going Dragon Princes/Repeater/White Lions/Swordmasters/Spearmen from west to east. The Prince and BSB hopped in with the spearmen, and the mage went with the easternmost archers.
I placed both Reapers atop the SE hill, flanked to their left by the big block of corsairs (plus Thasia, the Dreadlord). The Hydra pointed itself at the central woods, figuring it could trundle through there and eat something under relative cover. To the west of the hydra went one group of RxBs w/ Helio the Fire sorceress, followed by the Chariot (aimed at the gap between lake and forest) and finally the other RxBs behind the lake in the west (the other sorceress went there). The Shades (with Assassin hidden inside) went in the forest in the NE-ish area, and the Dark Riders Vanguarded up behind them, moving to cut around the HE army and threaten the bolt thrower and whatever else they might nab.
Deployment:DE Deployment (note that several units are proxied on both sides)HE deploymentHE deployment from the westTurn 1
Having finished deploying first, I win a pretty easy first turn. The first objective is to get in range with my RxBs, so the crossbowmen march to the lake and move to the edge of the forest, respectively, while the Dark Riders move from behind the wood to threaten the easternmost Great Eagle. Corsairs, Hydra, and Chariot all move forward as far as they are able, though not so much to get me in charge range as it is to coax the HEs out of their deployment zone and, hopefully, convince them to expose some flanks.
The real meat of the turn, however, comes with magic and shooting. I have a pretty good opening magic phase, killing 4 archers in the western unit (and chilling them from shooting too) and another 4-5ish in the big spear block. It would have been a *better* magic phase if I could roll to damage with my fireballs a bit better--I scored 10 hits on the archer unit, but I only killed like 3 guys. Boo! Anyway, shooting went very well. One Reaper killed two Dragon princes while the other took a wound off the western Great Eagle. The Shades and the Dark riders showed the war machines up, however, by shooting down the eastern Great Eagle in short order. I am pleased--I'm pretty well on my way to crippling his capacity to compete in the movement phase.
Top of Turn 1:Cthosa and his Shade brethren waited quietly in the treetops, still as the moss that clung to the gray branches. They saw the great eagle first, soaring on the honeyed winds of Ulthuan with a kind of arrogant ease Cthosa thought ill suited to a common beast. He couldn't help but smirk as he saw it fleeing before the dark shapes of druchii riders, harrying it from behind. Its plaintive screech echoed across the battlefield.
No order needed to be given. Each of the shades quietly readied his uraithen, training it on the golden flanks of the great bird as it swept closer. Cthosa's nose twitched--he could smell it. It smelled of rocks and the sea and rainfall, each scent fouler than the last. He hissed a single word in the druchii tongue which, translated, said 'make it suffer'.
At the last moment, the great bird spotted them, but it was too late. The midnight-black bolts were already on their way; they caught the eagle in the wings and legs, knocking it out of the sky in a gout of blood and a weak cry. It hit the ground with an audible crunch, but was not dead, flopping around on its crippled limbs, trying to find an escape from the barbs lodged in its body.
The riders chasing it did not bother to reign in their mounts. The last Cthosa saw of the eagle was a puff of golden feathers beneath obsidian hooves.
In the bottom of turn 1, Nick moved his infantry blocks up, though not as far as he might have. Given how well my shooting and magic phase had gone, this seemed unwise to me, but I was willing to accept it. The Dragon Princes moved foward as well, facing off against either the Hydra or the Chariot. I believe his hope was that the knights could hold a charge against one or the other and allow the White Lions to charge whoever was left. The remaining Great Eagle flew behind the spearmen, seeking cover, while the archers with the mage in the east quick reformed to fire at the Dark Riders, who lost 3 guys and fled off the board (bang up armor save rolling, guys). Magic was uneventful--I prevented Regrowth on the Dragon Princes, but couldn't keep Throne of Vines from going off (and kept forgetting about it every successive magic phase, so I never actually dispelled it). The remainder of the elven shooting phase was directed at the corsairs (as it should be). I'm not sure how many I lost, but the Bow of the Seafarer bounced off on a damage roll of 1 (yay!) and I lost 5-6 from the Dragon Bow and the Repeater. Fair enough.
Bottom of Turn 1:The Asur move upWestern Archers look onTurn 2
My second turn starts with my Chariot going stupid (thanks guys). So, my fun plans about funky double-charges and such are now gone. So, I revert to the safe plan, which is to charge the Hydra through the woods at the Dragon Princes. The knights are slaughtered, predictably enough, and the Hydra helpfully overruns well out of the charge arc of the White Lions. Elsewhere, I shuffle my Corsairs back a bit (the Chariot is out of the picture, and I don't want to get combo-charged or risk getting flanked by swordmasters). In shooting, the Shades finish off the other Eagle, the Reapers knock a couple off the White Lions, and some repeater crossbow shots into the archers in the west kill another two. As I recall, the magic phase is rather uneventful.
Top of Turn 2:When a war hydra's blood is up, the sound of its many-throated trumpet is unmistakeable. The handlers dance at its flanks, barely needing to prod it onward; it has the smell of the horseflesh, and that's enough. The Dragon Princes meet the monster head-on, but they've overextended themselves, and they can't get a clean hit with their lances. The hydra is faster than it looks; the first two heads miss their marks, the horses shying away, but the other three strike, killing two Asur and tearing their bodies apart. Silver armor flutters and scatters in the midmorning sunlight. The last Dragon Prince is ready to die, shouting something no doubt noble, but that is overwhelmed by the hydra's roar. The handlers are watching at this point, catching their breath as their charge does its work. There is nothing graceful about the final Prince of Caldedor's demise--he vanishes beneath the great, grey-green bulk of the monster. The horse shrieks, and then falls silent.
Having never exchanged a word, the two druchii handlers trot after the rampaging bulk of the hydra, their break over.The Hydra considers its next meal
The bottom of turn two showed a rules dispute develop in the movement phase. Nick, my opponent, wanted to move his archers to within 1" of the Hydra's left front, preventing it from turning or escaping, while the White Lions reformed to hit it in the backside next turn. I and an impartial observer argued that the Hydra could still turn, since single models can turn in place without restriction. After further review (and consultation with others), I've determined that my interpretation is wrong
and that should have worked. The game would have been a bit different in this case, no doubt, though whether the overall outcome would have been affected is difficult to predict. Anyway, having talked Nick into our way of thinking, he opted instead to charge the White Lions at the Chariot. They lost 3 guys in the fight, but the chariot lost combat by a good margin, ran, and was run down. Meanwhile, the Spearmen and Swordmasters moved up and everything that could shot the Corsairs. For the second time the Seafarer Bow rolled a 1 to wound initially, sparing me those casualties, but I still lost a good 5 or so to bowfire and repeater bolts.
Bottom of 2:Turn 3
In the third turn, things get ugly for the High Elves. First off, the Reapers kill a good 7 swordmasters, reducing them to one rank. Then, both crossbow groups turn on the White Lions, but despite my best efforts, my magic and shooting there only kills about 1-2. Finally, the Hydra stomps over to the backside of the Spearmen mega-unit and kills just about *all* of them with one mighty spout of S5 fire, and the Shades pour on their own hail of death, too. I killed 17 guys, all told, which was all that was left in that unit. My Corsairs back off just a bit, seeing no pressing reason to join combat yet.
Top of Turn 3:"My Lady," Drethien shouted over the call of druchii war-horns, "shall we charge to support the monster's attack?"
Thasia watched the Hydra looming over the panicking Asur militiamen. She found herself smiling. "No, Drethien, we wait."
"But, my Lady, what about the slaves to be captured?"
Thasia pointed and, as if by her command, the Hydra unleashed its unholy breath on the massed ranks of Asur spearmen. "But we don't want those slaves, Drethien--they're burned."
In the bottom of the third turn, the White Lions reform to face the furthest west Crossbow unit, while the remaining heroes from the destroyed spearmen join up with the swordmasters, who also spin around to face the hydra. The remaining archers and the bolt thrower manage to put two wounds on the massive beast, but it becomes clear to Nick that there's little chance of him collecting too many more victory points this battle. He concedes the field.
Bottom of Turn 3:Final ScoreDark Elves:
117Thasia watched as the remnants of the Asur force retreated in dissarray, Drethien at her elbow. "Shall we pursue?" The Reaver said. Thasia could tell he was angry, frustrated even--his first battle on the homeland and no taste of Asur blood to sate him.
"No, not yet--they are going to reform, call for reinforcements, adjust tactics."
"And we let them?"
Thasia smiled at him. "Pursue them and we overextend ourselves, and the next thing we know we are thrown back into the sea. If I learned one thing from Lord Khadriel, it is that one must understand the time for swiftness and the time for caution and never confuse them."
"How did the Lord Khadriel teach this thing, if I may ask?"
Thasia smirked, calling up the memory. "He got himself run over by his own chariot, actually. Come--we've work to do. That battle you crave is coming, and we had best prepare." Post Mortem
Well, that went rather well! I do feel badly about flubbing the rules on turn 2, but I don't think that changes a huge amount. I probably lose the Hydra to the White Lions, but I have a chariot to smack into a weakened swordmaster unit, and then a chariot threatening the flank of the spear unit, and so on. Plus the hydra would get to eat the western archers before it went and, if it was very lucky, weaken the White Lions enough to get them shot down.
No real complaints about my army. I like the lightweight magic approach--I got more done in these three magic phases than I ever did or do with a Lv 4 Supreme Sorceress casting Shadow. Waaaay too high profile, high casting values, etc.--it's difficult to trick the enemy into dispelling pointless stuff in lieu of the good stuff unless you spend all day sacrificing your own spearmen. Anyway, I'd probably swap which sorceress has which lore (no real reason to have three
Fire spells), and might try out Metal instead of Dark. Nevertheless, nice game and I'm going to enjoy playing against the High Elves more often.
I had fun, and I can't wait to do it again. Thanks for reading and thanks to my opponent!