80 Clanrats! Sheesh! I knew this game was going to rely on my ability to dictate the flow of battle--if I got bogged down, I'd be toast. Having fewer placements than the rats pays off in this regard, so I nab first turn with the +1 to the roll. My priority is to assassinate the weapons teams as quickly as possible--they are, as far as I'm concerned, the most dangerous thing the Skaven are fielding, since they can hit me at range and cut into my already modest numbers. Killing them means shooting, at the moment, since I'm too far away to do much else. Of course, the Cold One Chariot promptly goes stupid on the first turn, denying me it's RxB shots. The Cold One Knights saunter forwards and calm few inches, wheeling so they'll be able to skirt the forest next turn, and the Dreadknight fires off his magic ring in the magic phase. The ring goes *pop*, thanks to an irresistible force roll, but I blow up the plague mortar in the forest. Blackwing glides over the ruins in the center of my deployment and easily puts a few magic crossbow bolts through the warpfire thrower flanking the enemy general's unit.
On my east flank, the Hydra moves forward as far as possible and the Harpies fly over to threaten a number of units with a charge next turn. The corsairs, not wanting to get a plague mortar on their head, shuffle backwards an inch or two. The idea here is to keep out of range of their shooting until it's taken down, and then pounce on them later, when their juicy blocks are ripe for the picking. So far, so good.
Top of Turn 1:Shrieker bucked between Blackwing's armored thighs, but he dug his spurs into the beast's flanks and took to the air. Lifetaker tingled in his hands, eager for blood. Even through the midnight gloom, he could see the glow of the ratmen's bizarre war machines, green and sickly, as it reflected off the rocks and trees around them. He hardly had to aim--the bolts flew from the enchanted crossbow with bloodthirsty zeal, and one of the machines burst into unnatural yellowish flame. "All too easy." He muttered to himself, and spurred Shieker through the night sky.
Paraplegic's counterattack was primarily magical in this turn. Though I stopped his attempt to fire Warp Lightning at my harpies, he slapped them with a Scorch, instead, killing three. Fortunately, the beasts were close enough to my general to keep from panicking. Three of his four blocks moved forwards, the one in the east hustling around the edge of the giant hill to hopefully flank me on future turns, I imagine. Only the group atop the hill stayed put. The warlock there targeted the Hydra with his warp musket, but caused no damage. Likewise, the plague mortar fired at the Hydra, only to fail to wound it.
Bottom of Turn 1:Turn 2
In my second turn, the chariot crew is able to get control of their beasts and move forward, keeping pace with the Cold One Knights, who have to do some wheeling to avoid getting stuck behind the central forest. Blackwing flies behind the westernmost rat unit and picks off a pair of clanrats in the warlock general unit. With no more Ruby Ring of Ruin, I have no magic phase, so it's a pretty quiet turn in the west.
The east flank, however, more than makes up for it. Firstly, the harpies charge and run down the plague mortar atop the hill (who tried to run but didn't get far enough with my harpies monumental 22" charge!). Then the Hydra marches up to the rat unit on the hill, cooks about 7-8 of them dead with its breath weapon, and the rest of them run away, never to rally nor return. The way clear for the Corsairs, they march their full distance to get into the fighting, though I am, as yet, unsure where they're going to be asked to engage.
Top of Turn 2:Warlock Apprentice Thisher stood rooted to the spot, fear-tinged musk leaking out of his grey, furry body in great clouds, as he watched the many-headed warbeast of the elf-things stride ever closer, red flame spurting from its many fanged mouths.
"Warlock!" the clawleader snarled in his ear, "Use your arts. Kill-kill!"
Thisher tried to shoulder his musket, but his paws were trembling too much to get off a clean shot. The creature was large, though, so he hit it. The warpstone bullet just bounced off the monster's thick, leathery hide. "Flee! We must flee!" Thisher screamed, pushing to make his way through the crowded ranks of clanrats.
It was too late, though. The monster was upon them, its fiery breath pouring down on the Skaven warparty in blistering sheets. Thisher felt his whiskers singed off by the blast, and looked back in time to see a half dozen clanrats burning alive, screaming as their armor melted to their flesh and their fur burned up like so much dry cotton. The air was thick with blood, musk, and the earth-shattering roars of the horrible monster. Thisher no longer needed to prompt anyone to run--they were fleeing for their lives, never looking back.
In Paraplegic's second turn, he moved his two western blocks forwards and wheeled them to face my approaching corsairs--a deadly error. This was mitigated somewhat by the warlock again dropping a Scorch spell, this time on my corsairs, killing 6. Elsewhere, he sprung his rat-ogre counter-charge at the Hydra, killing a handler and doing two wounds to the beast itself. In response, however, the Hydra and its handlers killed three full rat ogres. They fled, only to be run down by the rampaging monster. Paraplegic's final eastern block made it around the hill, but things weren't looking good for the Skaven.
Bottom of Turn 2:Turn 3
Last turn, Paraplegic made a fatal error--one I would have pointed out to him in an open game, but, being a good druchii, I couldn't be shy about exploiting. Both of his western blocks had exposed flanks and, in one case, exposed rears to my forces. This called for some brutal charges. The Cold One Knights hit the flank of the western block while the chariot hit them in the front; meanwhile, the Corsairs hit the front of the general warlock's unit while Blackwing hit them in the rear. The ensuing slaughter was impressive: The western clanrat block lost 15 rats (and I even forgot to attack with my cold ones) while the general's unit lost 16 or so, including a wound on his general in a challenge with my Reaver. Both blocks broke thanks to staggering combat resolution scores, and both blocks were run down, though the Cold One Knights were forced to ride through the forest (I didn't lose any, though). I had torn the heart out of the Skaven force.
Elsewhere, the Hydra and harpies arrayed themselves to isolate and destroy the last Skaven block and its warpfire thrower.
Top of Turn 3:Darthan's heart thrilled at the sound of battle around him. The foetid stink of the ratmen was quickly covered over by the warm scent of their blood spraying in the air and staining the ground. Darthan danced among the clumsy, cowardly beasts, cutting throats and severing tendons as he sought a foe worthy of his attention. Then he saw it--the selfsame warlock who had met with them earlier and made such foolish threats. Twirling his blades in his hands, Darthan grinned at the goggle-eyed skaven, noting how it was fumbling with the crude devices on its body. "Your clever trinkets won't save you, rat." He sneered, "when the druchii come for you, there is no escape."
The creature drew a pistol; Darthan severed its hand at the wrist. It squealed like a stuck pig and fled, scurrying through the battle as only a rodent could. Darthan cursed, and then chuckled. The thing could only get so far with one hand. Couching, he noted the trail of blood, and began to follow, whistling as he went.
In Paraplegic's next turn, there wasn't a whole lot of action. He reformed his remaining block to face the Hydra and moved his weapon team up. Nothing else really happened.
Bottom of Turn 3:Turn 4
As the rest of my army re-oriented itself to address the final, remaining threat, I moved my Cold One Knights out of the forest, losing 3 (!) to dangerous terrain. The Chariot was stupid again (ignore the map in that regard), but Blackwing was able to kill the last weapon team with Lifetaker while the Hydra and Harpies charged the last Skaven block. Even though I inflicted another heavy slaughter, killing 10 or so, the rats killed a harpy and were steadfast, sticking around for more hydra-related punishment.
Top of Turn 4:
In the bottom of the turn, my Hydra finished devouring the rats, killing them to the last. Let it not be said that Skaven *never* show courage. They charged right down my hydra's throats, weapons out.
Bottom of Turn 4:Final ScoreDark Elves:
Well, that went a *lot* better than I thought it would. 80 Clanrats was, frankly, terrifying. My army, however, performed flawlessly--my dice were on fire. My success was also, in part, due to the inexperience of Paraplegic in Fantasy. Exposing his flanks like that on turn 2 was a deadly mistake, and he remarked after the game that he felt he could have placed his weapons teams better. I also think having fewer, larger blocks of Skaven would have helped him a lot, too. 20 is too small--it's too easy to knock off ranks and, therefore, leadership, getting them to break.
What little taste of Skaven magic I recieved has engendered a healthy respect for the power of that phase in the Skaven army. Lots of destructive stuff in that spell list, and in larger games I'd definitely invest in more anti-magic capabilities.
As my first time facing Skaven, it was a very fun game, and since I so rarely get to play fantasy, I'm glad there's finally somebody I know who can play, even if he does live pretty far away. I'd like to thank Paraplegic, again, for driving out in a blizzard to play--bless his stout, New Englander heart.
Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!