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Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Bretonnians vs Dark Elves 2000 points

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report summary:-

A nasty dose of panic at the end (a long report made easy with a friendly writing style)

source : roundtable-bretonnia.orgcredit : Extartius24-Dec-2008

Ive only just turned my hand to Bretonnians and wanted to report back on my most recent game as it was rather entertaining. This is an army I started in coalition with my Elf-loving fiancĂ© (sounds like a dream come true, Ed.) but she’s since lost interest after painting 6-7 of the Knights of the Realm. I'm aiming to get 1200 points ready for a tournament at the end of June, so I thought I’d best get some practice because generally I play Dwarfs!

So, without further ado, here’s what happened.

I was due to play a Vampire Counts army, but my opponent didn’t turn up so instead I arranged to play Beardy Pete (so named because he has a beard, not necessarily because he uses beardy armies – though bless him, he tries) and his Dark Elf Menagerie.

Dark Elves are one opponent Ive very rarely played. I once took an Anvil army against them with disastrous results (4 failed leaderships tests of various kinds) leading to many new grudges written in the blood of my slain Dawi. I was determined to get some kind of indirect vengeance for these losses. Here are the lists as far as I can remember them.

Bretonnian Army List:

Paladin on Royal Pegasus with the Grail Vow, Lance, Shield, Armour of the Midsummer Sun
Paladin w/ Barded Warhorse, BSB, Banner of the Lady, Virtue of Duty
Damsel w/ 2 Dispel Scrolls, spell: The Beast Cowers
Damsel w/ 1 Dispel Scroll, Prayer Icon of Quenelles, spell: The Bears Anger
8 Knights of the Realm w/ FCG, Conquerors Tapestry
6 Knights Errant w/ Twilight Banner
10 Peasants w/ Villein, Musician, Skirmish
3 Pegasus Knights w/ Musician
6 Questing Knights w/ FCG, Valorous Standard
5 Mounted Yeomen w/ Standard, Musician
9 Grail Knights w/ FCG, War Banner

Dark Elves Army List

Dark Elf Lord w/ Black Dragon, Black Amulet
Dark Elf Sorceress, Level 2, +1 to cast, spells Black Horror, Chillwind
10 Repeater Crossbowmen
10 Repeater Crossbowmen
20 Corsairs w/ FCG
5 Dark Riders
2 Cold One Chariots
2 War Hydras

Terrain: The only features of note were a hill near the middle of the table in his half, a building guarding his right flank and a wood nearby that allowed me to scout my peasants into a good forward location.

Deployment: He went for a fairly central deployment with his Corsairs (harbouring the Sorceress) in the centre behind the hill, flanked by chariots, who were in turn flanked by RXBs. The Dragon deployed just west of the building, with a Hydras behind it, while the other beastie deployed east of the building, hidden by the wood. The Dark riders went behind the RXB’s on the western flank.

I had my Grail knights on the left, about 6” from the Knights of the Realm (harbouring the BSB and Bears Anger Damsel) with the Yeomen behind them. The BSBs unit was central with the Questing knights 6” to their right. My Pegasus Knights went behind a hill in the far eastern corner, flanked by the Knights Errant who were ready to ride down the flank. The peasants were deployed ahead of these as close to the wood as they could get (12” from the Hydra and out of sight)

The Bretonnians prayed, and the Dark Elves opted to go first.

Dark Elves - turn 1: The RXBs each advanced 5” with the Corsairs and Chariots in between advancing onto the hill. The Dark Riders advanced their full 18” out onto the western flank. The Hydra behind the wood moved out to breath on the peasants while its twin moved in support. Magic was ineffective, shooting was similarly ineffective, mostly bouncing off my armour. The only thing of note was the death of 4 peasants, whose nerve miraculously held.

Bretonnians - turn 1: I started my advance cautiously, making my first mistake by giving the Black Dragon a charge on the Questing Knights, advancing my central units 5”-6” forwards, just enough to give the Grail knights a charge on the western RXBs and the Realm Knights a charge on the Corsairs. The Pegasus Paladin and his retinue played cautiously as well, moving up onto the hill and keeping their options open. The Knights Errant moved a bit faster, hoping for a charge on the exposed War Hydra while at the same time staying out of its own charge range. The Yeomen moved out to try and counter the Dark Riders, guarding the flank of my Grail Knights, who were supremely confident that the Dark Riders would decide against a foolhardy flank charge on them. My magic was all dispelled, and in fact when I read the Bear’s Anger I realised it would be useless to me unless my Royal Pegasus expired leaving the Paladin on foot. I’ll take the Lore of Life, next time… My shooting was similarly pointless as the Hydras tough hide resisted every rusty iron arrowhead that came its way.

Turn 1 Analysis: With no really nasty shooting in this army I was in no rush to engage my opponent on turn 2, I was quite happy to wait if necessary, knowing that I had the speed and weight advantage in all fights except perhaps against the Dragon (hence my holding back with the Pegasus Knights, who I saw as a possible counter to this monstrosity). I was also wary of exposing myself to a combined charge from the chariots, so content to sit back for now.

Dark Elves - Turn 2: Well, it seemed I had already made my first mistake by moving my Questing Knights into the Black Dragons reach. This was the first charge he declared. Secondly the Dark Riders just had the angle on the Yeomen, although I am a bit dubious about this in hindsight as they would have had to have a hefty wheel to get them in and even with an 18” charge it was a stretch. Anyway, I wasnt going to fuss too much at the time and reasoned Id made a mistake. The Questing Knight’s opted to hold as likely theyd be off the board if they ran, while the Yeomen took a Dark Rider from the saddle with their stand and shoot reaction. The War Hydras both moved into the woodland (about 1 ½” deep) ready to breath on the Peasants again. The Corsairs and Chariots shuffled a little on the hill, but were reluctant to give me any useful charges.

Again magic was useless, and his shooting managed to down one Knight of the Realm while the Hydras panicked the Peasants and sent them fleeing under the hooves of the Knight’s Errant, who aside from the odd curse, blithely ignored them.

Close combat was another matter. The Dark Riders killed two Yeomen for one in return, meaning a drawn combat (I had a standard and we were equally matched on numbers… thank the Lady for the Peasants Duty). As the Dark Riders had no musician, the Yeomen actually won the combat by 1, by the Elves held their nerve. The Dragonlord issued no challenges, which was fine by me as at least Id then get my Champion back if he failed to kill them all. The Lord and Dragon combined smashed three Questing Knights to gory shreds. Then the champion struck back, fuelled by his fervent faith in the Lady, striking at the lithe figure seated atop the dragon and causing two wounds, one of which was rebounded by the Black Amulet, sealing the champions fate.

This moment would prove to be pivotal in a game in which the Bretonnians were obviously held in high regard by the Lady of the Lake. Outnumbered by a fear-causing enemy I required a successful roll for insane courage. The first was an abject failure, but with the BSB nearby I rolled again, scoring a 3. I thought I had failed, but before we could roll for flee and pursuit I remembered the 50 point standard Id given them, which allows them to roll three dice for all leadership based tests and discard the highest. The third dice came up a 1. WE HELD!!! There may only be two of them left but they had pinned the dragon in place by the skin of their hairy teeth!

Bretonnians - Turn 2: Still exultant from my unexpected good luck I stood back and surveyed the possibilities. The Yeomen had held the Dark Riders out of the action for now, while my two remaining Questing knights were obviously doomed without immediate help. My charges were as follows:
~Pegasus Knights vs. Black Dragon, Im only glad they passed their fear check or else Id have had to react to having a Black Dragon loose in my backfield.
~Knights Errant vs. War Hydra, thankfully the boys of the army are immune to psychology on the charge, however, I was out by 1” due to terrain (shucks!).

The Knights of the Realm had a possible charge on the Black Dragon but as I didn’t want too many of my units tied up by the big beastie (and I reasoned the Pegasus Knights would be sufficient) I opted not to send this unit in. Instead they moved up alongside it ready to provide a potential crossfire, with the Grail knights to their left to help on this front. It being a flier, hed likely have flown straight over one unit, but two gave me better odds of catching it as it came in to land. Of course, first Ive got to break the bugger! Both these units had a number of potential charges in turn 3.

My magic was dispelled and my shooting was by now dead or in combat, so we moved to the Close Combat phase. Starting with the Yeomen, I lost two of my boys for no return and fled, though the Dark Elves opted to flee (probably noting that the unit standard was little more than a dead dog on a stick and therefore not much of a prize). In the middle of the table, the Pegasus Knight champion was honour bound to accept the Dark Elf Lords challenge. Rising to the task magnificently he struck the arrogant beastlord down with his trusty lance, piercing his armour and bypassing his magical ward. In a rage, the Black Dragon struck the worthy knight down. It failed its Monster Reaction leadership test and rolled a Whimper! meaning it would stay in place for the entire game, guarding the body of its master. In all fairness, not the best result I could have hoped for, but a good one nevertheless as an immobile Dragon is not as much of a threat as a flying one.

Dark Elves - Turn 3: Faced with a double War Hydra charge the Knights Errant, no longer immune to psychology, had a choice whether to stand and face them or flee like girls, off the table top, taking the Damsel with them. They opted for the more honourable alternative and stood their ground. The Dark Riders moved around behind the Grail Knights, while the Corsairs and Chariots moved back behind the hill, all except for the Sorceress who somehow managed to move forwards out of her unit to stand in between the Realm and Grail Knights… a very strange choice, but I suppose it made sense somehow.

Magic was again non-existent or resisted and shooting bounced ineffectually from my sturdy armour. Oh for some Repeater Bolt Throwers!

Combat saw the last of the Questing Knights slain by the Black Dragon, while the Pegasus Knights and Paladin managed a single wound in return. We had outnumber, and the flank to swing the combat in our favour, though I’d have gladly fled about then. Over on the other side of the table the Hydras ten strength 5 attacks proved less effective than the Dark Elves shooting to date claiming the lives of exactly zero knights, who were unable to even score the beasts hides in return. I won on rank and standard to his outnumber, meaning the Knights Errant had pulled another unlikely win in close combat. Nevertheless, both war-beasts held in place, determined to have a meal before the day was out.

Bretonnians - Turn 3: The time had come to start charging things properly. With their options depleted, the Grail and Realm Knights each declared on a respective RXB unit, both of which opted to flee, leaving me with failed charges. Fortunately, the Knights of the Realm wouldnt be facing any charges, although the Grail Knights had a Cold One chariot right in front of them. The Corsairs couldnt see anyone (by a hairs breadth).

My magic was dispelled (Beast Cowers on the chariot).

In combat, the Paladin and his retinue failed to scratch the Dragon, losing just one of their number in return, now outnumbered, they needed snake eyes and fled. The War Hydra were unharmed once again and (once again) failed to do any damage to the Knights Errant, who won combat again through sheer luck. This time one of the Hydra’s fled through the wood, while the other proved more belligerent.

Dark Elves - Turn 4: With no viable charges, Pete rolled to rally his troops. Both RXB units and the War Hydra rallied. The Hydra turned to face the centre of the battlefield, possibly hoping to counter the Knights of the Realm. The chariots both moved onto the hill, facing the Knights of the Realms left flank, while the Corsairs turned to move around the back of the hill. My opponent was a little careless by now, and I could see hed left me with a possible charge, he hadnt counted on the reduced cost of a wheel when using the lance formation.

There was no magic or shooting to speak of, or what there was proved as ineffectual as it had all game (even the Dragons Breath directed at the Knights of the Realm), so straight to combat, and the only one in play at the moment was the Knights Errant vs. the lonely looking War Hydra. Again the Knights couldnt find a chink in its armour, but again the Lady’s favour was well and truly with the Knights Errant whose armour and ward had protected them from all harm in three successive rounds of combat. The Hydras had enough by this stage and ran for it, escaping by a mile, although the Errant pursuit carried them through the wood and gave them a juicy flank charge on the recently rallied Hydra in their next turn.

Bretonnians - Turn 4: My confidence was soaring by this stage, albeit mostly by pure dumb luck, or so it seemed. Charges consisted of Grail Knights on RXBs (whose stand and shoot reaction was wasted effort), Knights of the Realm on Corsairs (who were in line of sight and had the charge range) and Knights Errant on War Hydra (who held). My Paladin and Pegasus retinue rallied.

Combat saw the RXB’s slain to an elf by the Grail Knights who were most disappointed by the standard of their opponents. They held position, fortuitously in a position to crossfire the Corsairs should they break. The Knights Errant caused a wound or two to the Hydra, which then failed its break test and ran off the board. The Errant pursuit carried them into the other, still fleeing, War Hydra, which followed hot on the heels of its twin. Due to their pursuit angle they were left in a position that gave them a dubious potential charge on the recently rallied eastern RXB’s, and even if they werent in there was always turn 6.

So we moved to the important central combat. If the Corsairs held Id be getting two chariots in the flank, but this was my breaking unit, so I was fairly confident of winning by a hefty margin. Needless to say my 15 attacks (non of which needed more than a 4+ to wound and the majority of which killed outright on 2+) were sufficient to slay 8 models. The Champions return was resisted. This put the combat resolution at 13-1 in my favour and no snake eyes was forthcoming. Although our pursuit roll wasnt high enough to catch them, the Grail Knights were perfectly positioned to destroy them as they fled. Furthermore, as the Knights of the Realm had the Conquerors Tapestry, the Corsair standard would be worth double the VPs.

My luck did not end there, however, as now Pete had to roll two panic checks for his Cold One Chariots, and guess what, he failed both rolls. One of the barely missed hitting his Dark Riders (basically it would have hit them if Id been strict about it, but what need was there at this stage?). The other ran over his sorceress, killing her outright.

We called the game after that. His Chariots werent going to get into the fight, his Dark Riders were no longer really viable and his other RXB unit was surely doomed. On top of that his Black Dragon had singularly failed to have any meaningful impact upon the game, and thats one heck of a points sink right there.

I was the first to admit that much of what went on was down to blind luck. Sometimes you just have games where everything goes your way on the turn of the dice, and believe me Ive had my share of the other kind too… Nevertheless, Pete is a good bloke and was sporting enough to take it in his stride, so a good game was had by all.

Does anyone have any comments on what I used and how it could be improved? Im still pretty much a noob at this galloping lark!

(ed. yes, I have a comment... very nice battle report)

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