Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Skaven V. Empire 2,000 points


It's been a long time since the Skaven made an appearance here on the Chatteringhorde (oddly, as this is a Skaven blog!). However, I had my first WFB game in a long time the other day, and I had such a good time I thought I would share some pictures and a report...
(...although due to the influence of alcohol, a bad memory, and trying to read the rules during the game, what follows may not be entirely accurate! I welcome my opponent to let me know, and I will update this.)

Game type? 2,000 point limit, Victory Points.

The battle of Big (Warp)stone.

Yes, that giant chunk of warpstone probably attracted all those Skaven!

Army lists:

Squeek Vermintide's horde

  • Grey Seer (General. Lvl 4 Wizard: Skitterleap, The Dreaded 13th, Plague, Scorch. Skalm, Talisman of Preservation, Dispel scroll )
  • Chieftain (Battle Standard Bearer - Banner of Clan Superiority, Shield, Halberd)
  • Plague Priest (lvl 1 Wizard: Vermintide. Plague Furnace, flail, Shadow Magnet trinket)
  • Warplock Engineer (lvl 1 Wizard: Cracks Call)
  • Warplock Engineer (Doomrocket)
  • 35 Clanrats (Handweapons, shield, full command, Plague Wind Mortar)
  • x25 Clanrats (Handweapons, shield, full command, Plague Wind Mortar)
  • x40 Skaven slaves (musician)
  • x40 Skaven slaves (musician)
  • x5 giant rats (Packmaster)
  • x5 Gutter runners (slings, poison)
  • x30 Plague Monks (Plague Banner)
  • x2 Warplightning cannons

The Empire of Man:
  • General of the Empire on Pegasus (Fencer's Blades, Armour of Destiny, Other Trickster's Shard)
  • Wizard Lord ( Wizard lvl 4. Lore of Life: Earth Bloom, Flesh to stone, Throne of Vines, Dwellers. Talisman of Preservation)
  • Captain (BSB. Armour of Silvered Steel) - High Elf Prince proxy.
  • Warrior Priest (Armour of Meteoric Iron)
  • x33 State Troops (Halberdiers. Full command) - Dwarf unit proxy.
  • x14 Militia Troops (Archers. Musician)
  • x9 Inner Circle Knights (Full command)
  • x5 Pistoliers (musician)
  • x4 Demigryph Knights (musician, Preceptor)
  • x10 Huntsmen
  • x1 Great Cannon
  • x1 Helblaster Volley Gun

Battle lines are drawn!
Empire battle line

Skaven Battle line.

Knights (L) Halberdiers with captain (c)
Pistoliers (L), Great Cannon (R)
From Left: Knights, Halberdiers, Archers, General, Helblaster, Demigryph Knights
Bottom left: Empire Huntsmen scout into position on the Skaven Flank

Turn 1: Empire.

And they're off! The Empire moves up their cav on the Skaven left flank.
The Empire marches up to the Skaven right flank. General moves into cover
The Archers garrison the tower, and the halberdiers move up.
Yes, two heavy hitting units move up on the Skaven right flank...
First blood to the Empire!
-Most of the Empire army marches forward, eager to teach the rats a lesson!
-General feels the same way, but cleverly swoops down below the chapel to stay in cover.
-Magic is a bit of a bust...the winds of magic are scarce, but the Wizard Lord manages to cast Throne of Vines (or was it Earthblood or Flesh to Stone?)
-Huntsmen forget to pick off the lone Skaven engineer, but the Great cannon scores a direct hit on the Plague Furnace, immediately causing 3 wounds, and the archers take some long distance shots at the Clanrats in the center, killing one. The pistoliers also loose off some rounds, but to no effect.

Turn 1: Skaven

The (Under)empire Strikes Back...

Meet you in the middle!
Skaven advance to meet the challenge (L-R). Giant rats, Plague Monks and furnace
Skaven slaves
"Hang about, weren't there more of us a minute ago?"
-The Skaven march up across the board, ready to meet the Empire on all fronts. On the left flank, they face off against the bulk (but not the cream) of the empire cavalry, the pistoliers and knights. In the center, they see the Halberdiers in the distance, and on the right, the Demigryph nights.
-One of the engineers, having not been noticed by the Huntsmen last turn, misses his opportunity for greatness when the Skaven Grey seer fails to cast Skitterleap on him, but the Plague priest on the left flank casts Vermintide, and a great wall of rats engulf the knights, managing to bring down one of the troop.
-Shooting is unusually successful for the verminous villains, with both a Warplightning cannon shot and a Plague Wind mortar round landing on the advancing Halberdiers, who take about 10 casualties. The mortar crew could be heard squeeling ecstatically...(if only because they had landed a shot on target and they hadn't blown themselves up!).
The Plague priest, in unholy union with the Plague Furnace, orders the pungent machine to spew forth a cloud of stinking pestilence at the Pistoliers, but fails to kills them.

Turn 2: Empire

Stinky ratty flesh, meet lances ("Say hello to my long wooden friend")
What the crow saw.
Fighting outside a chapel? How appropriate for burying the dead...
...Skaven dead.
And then there were two...(Skaven Wizards that is)
Empire charges go off all over the place...
On the left flank, the knights hit the slaves like a ton of bricks, quickly eliminating the unlucky engineer embedded in their ranks.
On the right the Demigryph knights charge the other slave unit.  Although the slaves strike at the same time as the combat chickens, (and before their riders), they quickly learn that the cream of the empire cavalry is amongst them, as demonstrated by the Empire unit having a +1 saving throw! The first slaves start to be mushed, and added to a pile of broken dead...

...The pistoliers and Halberdiers move forward.

With a marginally more successful magic phase, the beardy (and extravagantly-robed) Empire wizard casts Flesh to Stone on the Halberdiers (I think?)
Shooting sees the Huntsmen artfully pick off the exposed Engineer, a long range archer attack on the Plague Furnace (not successful) and a rather more successful Helblaster attack on the larger unit of Clanrats, removing at least a rank (or two?) -which is actually very lucky considering the power of the thing!

To cap it all off, the Great Cannon lands a direct hit on one of the Warplightning cannons, reducing it to splinters (liberally coated with the remains of the crew...) Great shot!

With the two engineers dead, the Skaven note nervously that they have lost two heroes already, and only have 2 wizards left...
The Plague furnace creaks on...

Turn 2: Skaven

5 slaves down v. 1 knight down...
The giant rats and their packmaster, suddenly filled with courage (or so the plague monks have room to charge the knights) decide to charge the pistoliers...who being fast cavalry (and thinking they can easily reform, move and shoot the rats in the face the following turn) decide to flee.
The Plague Monks, led on by the Priest atop the furnace, manage to charge the side of the knights.
Despite their (well-deserved) reputation for indolence, filth and decay, the combination of frenzied attacks by the plague monks, the priest's flail, and the furnace (impact hits, cloud of pestilence and wrecking ball attack) manage to take down a number of knights, weakening their resolve...
...which is further weakened when they suffer another lost companion to the slaves (who in turn take more casualties - but who cares, they are only slaves!)
In the center, Skaven shooting again takes its toll on the advancing Halberdiers, this time from a lucky Poison Wind Mortar shot. The horrible content of the glass orb fired by the mortar leaks into armour, instantly turning flesh to dripping goo...
Skaven shooting ALSO nearly takes a heavy toll of the Skaven themselves, when the remaining warplightning cannon suffers a misfire and spins wildly in place, unleashing a stray burst of deadly lightening 180 degrees behind it, off the battlefield.
Cue huge sigh of relief from Skaven general, extreme disappointment from Empire commander!

Turn 3: Empire

Somehow, the Skaven slaves stay in the game.
...but the casualties are starting to add up.
Empire movement doesn't start well, with the pistoliers on the left flank failing to rally and heading for the hills (literally). Despite great bravery in the face of now overwhelming odds, the Empire Knights couldn't hold out out against the Plague Monks and the slaves. They also flee, but this time to the center of the board. The Halberdiers, still confident in the leadership provided by their battle standard bearer and the Warrior Priest, charge the Skaven center, which, itself emboldened by the presence of their Chieftain with his battle standard, receives the charge.

"Behiiiiiiind you!"
At the same time, the Empire general makes his play, appearing to terrorize the back line of the Skaven. This placed him directly in the line of site of the Warplightning cannon, but close enough to be a real pain threat to the entire Skaven line.

Perhaps sensing that a pivotal engagement is about to take place in the center of the field, the Wizard Lord draws strongly on the winds of magic (finally getting lots of dice!), casting Flesh to Stone. Possibly noticing the Plague furnace lined up towards the back field, he attempts to cast another spell, only to suffer a miscast that robs him of the rest of his magic!

The first blows are struck between the Halberdiers and the Skaven in the pivotal combat at the heart of the field. The Skaven and the chieftain for the most part strike first (thanks to their higher initiative), but they are unable to make much headway against the Empire Captain and the Warrior Priest, whose heavy armour stave off the worst blows. Despite this setback and losing a handful of comrades to the hated man-things, the Clanrats, still confident from their numerical superiority and the support of their Chieftain, stay in the fight.

On the right, the fight grinds on. The Demigryph Knights continue to kill slaves, and another five or six go down (adding to a growing pile!)
On the Skaven left flank, the Empire has been overwhelmed.

In the center of the battlefield, the Empire knights flee towards the Halberdiers.

Turn 3: Skaven

Skaven Gutter Runners appear behind enemy lines...
The Grey Seer and Clanrats head towards the center and the Halberdiers
The Skaven movement phase starts OK, with the Gutter Runners coming on behind enemy lines. They begin to swing their slings above their heads, ready to unleash a wave of poisoned ammunition at the hated warmachine...
...meanwhile the larger Clanrat unit and Seer, noting that the Halberdiers have so far weathered all attempts to stop them advancing, abandon the notion of supporting the slaves against the Demigryph Knights and rush to reinforce the center of the line.
The Skaven left flank (Slaves, Giant Rats and Plague Monks) is now free to move forward again, but they ironically find themselves hampered by the giant slab of warpstone that dominates the center field (or was this a conspiracy to hang back?)

In magic, the Grey Seer attempts to cast Plague, hoping to further weaken the Halberdiers, but to no effect.

Even worse, it what could have been the most important shooting rolls of the game, the Warplighting cannon, firing at point blank range, overshoots the Empire General (leaving him free next turn to attack one of the hated Plague Wind Mortars) and the Gutter Runners only take one wound off the Helblaster! CURSES!

Amazingly, the Skaven slaves have managed to only lay one wound on the Demigryph Knights, despite losing almost half their number, but they pass their Leadership test (again, thanks to the presence nearby of the Grey Seer) while continuing to die in droves (who are much more lethal than their riders!).

Moving with the Clanrats, A Plague Wind Mortar crew notices the Huntsmen, who still dominate the hill and have been firing into their Clanrat parent unit. With a "Whomp" the glass globe sails into the air and smashes amid the target, covering six of the woodsmen in poisonous fluid. This is a better result than the Gutter Runners, who only manage to take one wound off the Helblaster (oh dear, oh dear...)

Turn 4: Empire

The Huntsmen charge the side of the slaves...
The remaining Huntsmen decide to abandon their exposed position on the hill, and charge the side of the Skaven slaves, hoping to hasten the end of the troublesome rats. If only the Slaves will break, then the Empire will be able to swing around and roll towards the Skaven flank, where the Halberdiers and the Captain are dangerously outnumbered.
Proving again just what an awesome asset cannons can be, the Great Cannon hits and destroys the second warplightning cannon! (EDIT: My opponent tells me that it was actually his general who took out the second cannon. Considering the quantity of "Bugman's Finest Ale of the Orient" consumed, it doesn't surprise me I can't remember this, or when it happened!)

Speaking of the Halberdiers, they gamely fight on, but the combination of Skaven weight of numbers, and the flank attack of the Grey Seer and his unit finally proves too much for them, even with their Captain and Warrior Priest in the fray. They flee, only to be cut down by the Grey Seer's unit. To protect their Seer, the Chieftain and his unit reform and turn to face the rapidly approaching general and his mount.

After the Halberdiers are destroyed, The Grey Seer and his body guard
end up near the left flank

The Empire general and the Skaven Chieftain's unit face off
(the PWM does his best not to be noticed...)

Turn 4 Skaven:

The Skaven Battle Standard bearer, wanting to keep the Empire General engaged (and perhaps wanting to be at least somewhat proactive in the face of his impending doom), leads his unit in a charge, only to be easily cut down.
Meanwhile, the sizable Skaven force on the left flank begins to reform and move to return to the center, hoping to threaten the Empire general and deal with the Demigryph knights (who must surely finish off the Slaves soon...)

...and that is where, due to time, we called the battle!

A Skaven pile o' dead.

Casualty lists.

The honoured dead:

Empire: Captain (BSB), Warrior Priest, 33 Halberdiers (+Standard), x9 Knights (+Standard), x10 Huntsmen, x5 Pistoliers.
Total Points lost: 1066

The not-so honoured dead:
Skaven: x2 Warplightning Cannons, x5 Gutter Runners, x40 slaves, x2 Engineers, Chieftain (BSB), x1 Plague Wind Mortar.
Total Points lost: 731

So, in the end, a draw WIN! (EDIT: I thought this was a draw, but according to the WFB Errata, but if you are more than 100 points ahead of your opponent, this is a win. Thanks to my opponent for later pointing this out!) 

Mice of the Match: 
The Skaven slaves that battled it out with the Demigryph knights. After 3-4 turns they still held the line against a 252 point elite unit, even though they only cost 80 points.

Who knows what might have happened in the 5th turn? The Empire still had their strongest unit, the Demigryph Cavalry, their wizard, general, a unit of archers and their artillery. On the other hand, the Skaven still had x2 units of clanrats, a unit of slaves, a Plague Furnace and around 30 Plague monks, and the Grey Seer.

"I'll have you next time time!"

In my next blog post, I'll share some of the lessons I learned from this battle ("lessons" = "things I should NOT forget next time I play WFB with a Skaven army!")


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