750 Beasts Vs Overlords, Path to GloryThe trading post was clearly marked on the map - a carefully penned "x" in the neat hand of Endrinmaster Riprock's uncle, nestled in the foothills of the Krondspine. His uncles notes described a rugged and hardy band of humans, numbering a few hundred, who were either talented thieves or had a knack for making jewelry in the methods of their long-dead ancestors. In any event, when the Frigate
Glorious Endeavor descended beneath cloud cover in the designated spot, he was expecting to find, well,
The village - built into bone-like trees on a rocky plateau - was deserted. Completely. Not destroyed or burned, which would have meant greenskins. No, just empty and still as the grave. The frigate circled it once, keeping an eye out for signs of life, but there was a thick ground fog and it was hard to tell.
"Orders, sir?" asked Captain Stonehand.
"I'm going to drop a company on either side of the village." Riprock indicated where on the map in his cabin. "I'm expecting trouble, so keep a weather-eye open and the wind at your back."
The company captain saluted. "Nothing we can't handle, sir."
Riprock's auto-monocle retracted as he looked up from the map. "Captain, there were three hundred humans of fighting age in this settlement and they couldn't handle it. There are only thirty of us."
"Ah, sir - hardly seems fair to the poor devils, does it?" Stonehand grinned.
Riprock stroked his beard and looked out the porthole. "I certainly hope you're right."
I'm taking a hiatus from 40k - possibly a long one - but have moved into Age of Sigmar. Me and a few friends are putting together a Path to Glory campaign, and here is our first battle at 750 points. Me with my Beasts and my opponent, Roboknee, with his Overlords. Our lists were as follows:Riprock's RangersBarak-Zilfin Skyport
Endrinmaster with Dirigible Suit (Not sure on command trait, but he had a ton of guns and a master-crafted sort of close-combat buzzsaw)
10 Arkanaut Company w/Skyhook, Skypike, Volley Gun
10 Arkanaut Company w/Skyhook, Skypike, Volley Gun
Arkanaut Frigate w/CannonThe Teeth of KrondAll-Herd Greatfray
Bray Shaman w/Arcane Tome (Tendrils of Atrophy), General (Twistfray Cursebeast)
20 Gors w/Beastshields
10 Ungors w/Spears
Doomblast DirgehornMission, Terrain, and Deployment
We aren't going to be using the Path to Glory Missions exclusively, so this time around we played an Open Play game w/the twist that gave everyone a +1 to run and charge. The mission was Drawn and Quartered with deployment by board quarters. Neither of our Ruses played any part in the game, so don't worry yourself about them.
The board had a "damned" tree-village in the northwest, a "sinister" statue in the northeast surrounded by some low walls, a "damned" ruin in the southwest, and a "damned" rocky hill in the southeast. Each terrain feature had an objective either in it or beside it.
The Overlords deployed first (and would go first), everything dropping once as it was all part of a Battle Regiment. He had both the NW and SE corners, so deployed one company on the edge of the tree village in the NW with the Frigate and Endrinmaster (Thunderers aboard the ship) and one company in the SE corner on the objective there.
I deployed a pack of Ungors in the NE behind a wall right by the objective up there and the Gors + Bray Shaman in the SW inside the ruins. Both the Cockatrice and the Bestigors would Ambush to make the most of the +1 to charge for this game (added to my pre-existing bonuses to charge, giving me +2 or even +3 after an ambush!). My Herdstone went just outside my deployment zone in the southern central area which, now that I'm looking at the herdstone rules more closely, shouldn't have gone there. Not that it really mattered where
it was at any time. DeploymentGors in the RuinsUngors cowering in the northIllegal Herdstone! 10 yard penalty!Sky-dwarves in the SE!Sky-dwarves in the NW!The whole boardTurn 1
Since the Overlords finished deploying first, they went first. The company in the NW moved to claim the objective in the tree-village and the company in the SE moved a bit to have harpoon range to my gors (but failed to connect). The frigate flew high and dropped in about the dead center of the board, dragging the Endrinmaster along. I think maybe it was my opponent's hope to wipe out the Ungors in the NE easily and then throw some other shots back at the gors, but it didn't work out that way. The Frigate choked
trying to blow up the ungors, killing no one. Then the Thunderers on board fired on the ungors and killed just two or three. Then the Endrinmaster fired and killed another 3-4, still leaving 3 of them alive. A pretty poor shooting phase for the sky-dwarves, for sure. I issued Inspiring Presence to the ungors through their half-horn and they stuck and then, adding insult to injury, the All-herd saw 6 of their number replaced meaning, on net, the dwarves had only killed one guy. As a side note, the All-herd ability is really
good if you plan on taking a bunch of brayherd guys--they go from being paper thin to having surprising sticking power, assuming they aren't all wiped out.
Top of Turn 1One Company in the villageThe Frigate commands the center!Stonehand and his lads stole quietly into the abandoned village, pistols cocked and loaded, lanterns lighting columns of fog as they swept the ground for surivors, for loot, for
McHale, Stonehands best tracker, knelt in the dust, "Sir...these tracks - hooves, but two-legged."
Glorious zoomed overhead, its cannons barking at some distant target, way off to the east. Almost...almost like a distraction.
Stonehand's neck prickled and his spun. Huge shadows loped out of the gloom, moving faster than anything on two legs ought.
"Lads!" he screamed. "It's a trap! Behind you! Behind you!"
My basic strategy in this game was to wipe out my opponent's best scoring units (the Arkanaut Companies) while sustaining the damage the frigate put out until I could get it into a position where I could kill it or cripple it. My experience with the Overlords in the past has been watching those things flit around the board and, even if you hit it, you can't hit it hard enough to keep it from flying away again. So, basically, I'm ceding board control, in a sense, in favor of holding objectives long enough to run up the score.
The game twist (+1 charge) made my ambushes easy - the Bestigors popped out in the NW and charged the Arkanauts, killing all but the captain, who used a share of aether-gold to stand his ground and dig a knife-sized cutlass into a Bestigor for no effect (poor little bugger). The cockatrice popped out and charged the company by the SE hill, though they Unleashed Hell with their harpoon and managed to take off 3 wounds. In combat, however, the cockatrice turned three dwarves to stone and tore apart 4 others with no return damage. They, likewise, remembered how much they were being paid and stuck around to get eaten some more.
The Ungors broke cover and threw spears at the frigate, which used All-Out Defense and, surprise surprise, their pokey-sticks did nothing to the armored airship (though the All-Herd ability saw the last ungor be replaced by reinforcements). In the SW, the Bray Shaman cast Mystic Shield on the gors and they all moved towards the center, in hopes of securing a charge in future turns.
Bottom of Turn 1Bestigors!The ungors try to pop the frigate's balloon.Gor Stampede!Stonehand has a very bad dayLittle guy's got guts, I'll give him that.Death by Battle ChickenCurrent Score
Beasts: 3Turn 2
We roll the priority roll - calamity for the forces of Order! I get the dreaded double turn!
Well, the Bestigors make short work of Captain Stonehand and the cockatrice turns the last few dwarves of the other company into more statues--my objectives are secured.
In the center, I sacrifice two gors to use the Blood Taunt, pulling the Edrinmaster towards the big gang of Gors. Then I cast Tendrils of Atrophy on the enemy general and Mystic Shield on the Gors and the Gors mob the blimp-riding dwarf. They lose a couple to Unleash Hell and a couple more in combat, but they do a collected 6 wounds to the big boss (leaving him with 2 - man, those guys are tough!). Most of my casualties are replaced as a result of the All-herd rule and use of Inspiring Presence. My Bray Shaman hangs back from combat - a crucial error.
Top of Turn 2Kill the Balloon Man! Take his head!Riprock blasted at the wretched things with his aethercannon, watching them get ripped apart, but the creatures seemed to be everywhere - streaming out of every little gully, crawling out from behind every rock. They were vastly outnumbered! He was considering withdrawal when he heard it - the screams of two human children. He looked, his aetherscopes focusing his gaze towards the back of a big mob of monstrous, horned beastmen. the children were in a cage, being burned alive by a gaunt creature, taller than its fellows, wearing a patchwork cloak of skin and hide. He heard its braying laugh, could almost see the glee in its eyes as it tortured the poor defenseless creatures to death.
Riprock didn't think much of humans, but that didn't mean he would stand for such barbarism. He charged headlong towards the onrushing mob, blasting away with his weapons. "Damn you, you soulless bastards! I'll make you pay!"
But then the children were gone--not children, but the shaman's own fellows were being burned alive. A trick! Some kind of foul sorcery!
The damage had been done, though. The beasts were upon him.
In the Overlord turn, I assumed I had ol' Riprock tied up and done-for, except I hadn't anticipated dirty overlords tricks! The frigate was just close enough in the hero phase to yank the Edrinmaster up with them as they flew high, using Barak Zilfin's special footnote. They sailed up and over my lines, landing in my backfield and securing the SW objective. The Thunderers disembarked and then the frigate and the thunderers shot and charged my Bray Shaman, who was just a bit
too far from his friends to enjoy any cover or any special abilities. Fortunately, my opponent's bad dice held out and I only lost 4 of the general's 5 wounds from various bombs, bullets, and mortar shells. The Shaman smites one Thunderer into the dust.
Bottom of Turn 2Well, I bushwacked his general, so turnabout is fair play, I guess! The Bray Shaman is still standing!
At this point, the shop was closing. My opponent won initiative, so it seemed likely in the coming turn that I'd lose my general, but there was little chance of him overtaking me in VPs, given how few units he had left (and that the thunderers probably wouldn't survive my counterstroke). We called the game there. Riprock and all the guns of the
Glorious fired their weapons at the profane creature - the thing that Riprock knew was the architect of this devastating ambush. Dust mixed with fog and the explosions echoed off the hills. Then, stillness. The thunderers, their advanced weapons trained on the smoking crater, approached carefully. The first poked his head over the rim.
A crude staff, twisting with the energy of raw chaos, struck him on the helmet. The poor duardin exploded in a puff of green fire. The shaman was alive! It leapt to the rim of the crater, its cloak even more ragged, its body charred and bleeding, but in its eyes...pure hatred. A flap of dark wings and a cockatrice flew overhead, low.
"Avert your eyes!" Riprock shouted, turning away for a moment.
When he turned back, the creature was gone, as was his murderous band. All that was left was the echoes of their howling laughter and the desecrated bodies of the dead. Final Score
Beasts: 7Post Mortem
It's worth noting that my opponent's dice were really bad this game and my own were pretty solid (a welcome change, actually, considering how that is usually reversed for me), so any tactical lessons I can learn about the Overlords' damage output have to be taken with that in mind. That said, all of my units performed pretty well. I am very pleased with just how resilient my bray units are thanks to the Allherd's rules. Given those, it seems you would have to devote exorbitant
quantities of firepower to actually remove those guys, which makes them much better anvils than I was planning on.
The Cockatrice performed very well, also, though much of that is luck. It should do pretty poorly against shooting armies, but the ambush worked in its favor. My opponent discussed how he would remember to move his guys more to the center of the board in the future to avoid ambushes like that, but given the 9" range of Ambush, you'd have to get yourself >18" onto the board to avoid it entirely - I don't think it will be that easily avoided. I think maybe the more important consideration for me (and for him) is how to keep scoring objectives against an army that has the numbers and the added maneuverability (through ambush) to secure objectives all over the place. As I get more units, more and more effective ambushes will be possible.
It was a fun game and I learned a lot! I wish we could have finished it out, but such is the price of playing at a shop on a Sunday. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!