Monday, September 20, 2010

WHFB Battle Report: Dark Elves vs. High Elves

I lost.  How often do you see bloggers posting battle reports where they get WTF PWNED?  Not very.  I didn't really want to lose my MASSIVE Fantasy internet cred (street value: zero cred) but I'll post this anyway as a lesson in how to lose, or maybe how not to lose.

I'll start by saying that just based on lists I was at a decided disadvantage.  I played this list.  My HE opponent played roughly the following...
Level 4 Archmage with Heavens.
Level 2 Mage with Life
Noble BSB with Great Weapon

Horde of 30 Swordmasters with the banner of +1 movement
15 Silver Helms
5 Bolt Throwers
30 Seaguard
20 Seaguard
20 Seaguard

This doesn't look especially threatening.  However, what DE really fear is small arms fire.  Seaguard are really tough on Black Guard.  They get a turn or two of shooting to pepper me, then they get to stand and shoot.  And then they get to hit first in combat with 20ish attacks.  So you can see, their basic troops can put my elite troops in an awkward situation.  Add to that the best way to kill small elite units is... bolt throwers.

We roll for mission, Dawn of War.  Meaning that deployment will be random within my deployment zone.  Each bolt thrower rolls a flank, and my Hydras both get the center along with the Black Guard and spear Warriors.  The crossbowmen both roll left flank.  The following is my deployment from both sides...

My Deployment Left Flank
Deployment Right Flank

So he got the luxury of deploying second, but I got first turn. 

***Game Breaking Mistake***

I should have deployed the Hydras in front of the Black Guard and used them as a screen to advance.  To be fair, I didn't see his list before we played so I had no way to know it would be so shooty, but that would have been the smart move against any comers.  Will you really shoot at the BG with a -2 to hit and ignore the Hydra?  OR will you shoot the Hydra which is virtually immune to small arms fire?  And the plus side is, both can both multi-charge since the Hydra is relatively small based and everyone can get in on the fun.  So I fucked up and deployed in a way that allowed him to pick one unit per turn and shoot it off the board.

***End Game Breaking Mistake***

His deployment

Turn 1 I advance everything forward.  During the magic phase I throw 7 dice at a Purple Sun.  No Irresistable Force, but successfully cast on a 31.  He throw his 4 dispell dice at it... double sixes.  No Sun.  There is a pattern here.

End of my Turn 1
His Turn 1, he peppers my guys, with shooting.  His Silver Helms advance to charge my Bolt Thrower.  His magic does nothing.  His Sword Masters charge (thanks to the +1 movement banner) a Hydra and wipe it out.  The Beastmasters put their attacks on the Level 2 Mage and kill it.  They lose combat by a ton and break and run.  His pursuit carries his Swordmasters into the 2nd Hydra.

End of HE Turn 1
My Turn 2 I charge a unit of Black Guard into the Swordmasters hoping that together they are enough to at least get mutually assured destruction.  I use some Death magic to give -1 strength and -1 Toughness against his Silver Helms in order to make my shooting more effective.  I throw 7 more dice at Purple Sun, cast it on a 27.  Dispelled on 5 dice thanks to double sixes.  My shooting was decent and I killed 5 Silver Helms.  They passed their leadership test thanks to army wide rerolls vs. Dark Elves.  It's pretty nice having an army wide BSB.  During combat he allocates 16 attacks on the Hydra, and does... 0 wounds after regen.  The remainder of the attacks kill 18 Black Guard.  I hit back with the 2 BG, breath weapon, 7 Hydra Attacks and Thunderstomp and kill the Noble and 15ish Swordmasters.  I lose combat by 2.  The Hydra rolls an 11 for leadership and bitches.  The stubborn BG roll and 11 and bitch as well.  Neither rolls well for fall back distance and both get wiped out.  Brutal turn.  I honestly expected the Hydra and BG to win, or at least hold.  The SM didnt have enough attacks to kill the Hydra and another turn would have left me with an intact Hydra and him with no assault units that worry me.  Instead my center is completely wiped out.

End my Turn 2.

His Turn 2 he charges his Swordmasters into my Spearmen horde containing my Level 4.  His Archmage casts a comet right in his left flank corner anticipating my two units of Black Guard.  Comet does not go off.  He peppers my Black Guard wiping one whole unit except my Dreadlord.  His Silver Helms kill my Bolt Thrower.  He kills a few Spearmen with his Swordmasters.  The Spearmen kill all but the Champion back.  I still lose by 1.  I roll... an 11 and my 25ish Spearmen and Supreme Sorceress flee from one remaining Swordmaster.  Sigh.  They get run down.  Fantastic luck there.
My Turn 3 My Dreadlord and Black Guard charge the Sea Guard on his far left flank.  My sorceress fails to give the Silver Helms -1 Toughness.  Comet does not come in.  My bolt thrower kills the last Swordmaster.  My Dreadlord and BG kill a bunch of Sea Guard, fail to catch them.  

End of My Turn 3

His turn 3, his Silver Helms charge my xbowmen.  His Seaguard pepper my other xbowmen who contain my level 2.  They, ofcourse, break and flee leaving me with no mages left.  He shoots the heck out of my Dreadlord with 4 bolt throwers, and does no wounds.  Comet fails to come in.

My turn 4, the Dreadlord and BG charge the Sea Guard that rallied.  Comet goes off and goes nuclear killing everything on the left side of the board.  I lose the Dreadlord and BG.  He loses 4 Bolt Throwers and two units of Sea Guard.  At this point all I have left is a bolt thrower and I scoop.  He wins 3000ish points to like 2000, a sound beating.


So what did I learn?  Well, against any shooty army, hide behind the Hydras.  Against Swordmasters, just shoot them with Bolt Throwers and Crossbows, there is no point trying to kill them in hand to hand until they are weakened.  I think I let the random deployment from Dawn Attack get to me, and I didn't deploy wisely.  I had some bad luck with Leadership and Magic, but there is nothing I can do about that.  

He suggested a BSB could have made those bad Leadership rolls go away, but my response is the only reason I had to make those rolls in the first place was by playing like a dumbass.  If I play like a dumbass, I deserve to lose.  If I play smart, I win the combats I need to win and don't make tests that the BSB could save me from.  I'm going to try to get games in vs Daemons, Ogres, Skaven, and Brettonians this week to finish up my testing.  Looks like I won't be making it to 'ard Boyz, but I still want to get as many games in as possible so I can actually talk about 8th Edition with some authority.


  1. Great write up. Losing sucks, but learning from it and sharing what you've learned are great ways to deal with it. So much better than crappy whining (which I've seen).

    Just an aside, what's the board size on WHF?