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Friday, 9 January 2009

Dwarfs vs Vampire Counts 2000 points

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report summary:-

"The skellies took the bait and charged, resulting in two set-the-stone reactions."
(some useful lessons to be learned)

source : bugmansbrewery.comcredit : Karzaki_Darstok09-Jan-2009

Vampire Counts Army List

Level 4 Vamp w/ Master of the Dark Arks, Lord of the Dead, Skull Staff
Level 1 Vamp w/ Black Periapt
Wight King w/ BSB, Nightmare, Magic Standard (Regeneration on unit)
18 Grave Guard w/ great weapons, full command, banner of Strigos (all characters here)
18 Grave Guard w/ shields, full command, banner of +1 to hit
10 Skeletons w/ spears, shields, full command
10 Skeletons w/ hand weapons, shields, full command
10 Skeletons w/ hand weapon shields
3 Cairn Wraiths

Dwarf Army List

Lord w/ OS, GW, RoKragg the Grim, RoFury, RoFire, RoStone, RoPreservation
Thane w/ BSB, OS, RoCleaving, RoFire, MroGromril, RoPreservation
Runesmith w/ shield, MroSpellbinding, RoStone
Runesmith w/ shield, RoSpellbreaking x2, RoStone
17 Hammerers w/ shields, standard, musician, RoDetermination (Lord here)
17 Hammerers w/ shields, standard, musician, RoCourage, RoDetermination (BSB here)
10 Quarrellers
10 Quarrellers
10 Quarrellers
Grudge Thrower w/ RoAccuracy, RoFire
Bolt Thrower w/ Engineer, RoFire
Bolt Thrower w/ Engineer, Flaksson’s RoSeeking, RoFire

Terrain:My luck was out from the start as Mark was able to choose deployment zones. He took the side that was the most favourable to my army, with fairly open terrain and a hill. Ideally I would have wanted to go there in order to castle up around the hill. Instead I got the side with a building demarkating the left third of the table from the centre and a hill in the opposite position, just edging into my deployment area… not very good for me.

Deployment: he deployed his screening unit of skeletons centrally in a long line. Behind these went both units on Grave Guard, the right one would play host to all three of Mark’s characters. To either side of the screen went the other units of skellies and the Wraiths deployed behind a wood to the right of his army.

I was forced to string my Quarrellers out, two units in lines with a clear view of his army with the Grudge Thrower in between and flanked by the bolties. My Hammerer units deployed to either side of this line, a bit further apart than I would have liked. The other unit of Quarrellers stood in ranks ready to move up onto the hill, which would put them much further forward than I wouold have liked. Things are already looking very awkward by this stage. My Lord went in the left hand unit, the Thane BSB in the right. My Runesmiths both joined War Machine crews, one with the left hand boltie and one with the Grudge Thrower. The Gyro went central as far forward as it would go.

Turn 1:

At least I was able to roll high for first turn, even considering Mark had +1 for finishing his deployment first. I took the opportunity to move my Quarrellers up onto the hill with the Hammerers moving through to their left. The Gyro sat in front of the screening unit.

My guess with the Stone Thrower was good, could have been better as it landed smack bang on the guy behind the Vampire General (with scatter re-roll paying dividends). One of the bolties also managed to draw line of sight after the screening skellies were thinned by the two Quarreller units and the Gyro, while the other had to go for the other unit of Grave Guard. In tota

I think four went down in the general’s unit while two went down in the other. Mark managed to replace these losses in his turn while also bulking out the two flanking skelly units and the screen. He declared a charge on the Gyro with the screening unit and the left hand Grave Guard units, from which I fled, meaning failed charges for the centre of his line, but leaving the flanking units free to march.

Turn 2:

The Gyro rallied and swooped in behind the right hand side skeleton unit, ready to steam the Grave Guard’s front rank and force a few “Look out, sir!” tests for what it was worth. A bit more shuffling was required on my right flank, resulting in another turn of the Quarrellers there not firing. I was really struggling to consolidate my position on that flank. In shooting, the Grudge Thrower misfired and, you guessed it, exploded, leaving the Runesmith gawping at the tangle of blood spattered wreckage. That could have gone better! Other damage was minimal, but succeeded in forcing Mark to regenerate wounds in his magic phase rather than casting more offensive magic. The shooting phase wasn’t completely uneventful, though, as my left hand bolt thrower was just able to draw line of sight to the level 1 Vamp in the Grave Guard unit. As he was the only model they could see in that unit, the hit went onto him and he failed his first “Look out, sir!” roll. The vampire was well and truly staked! How appropriate. Also, almost as amazingly, the Gyro’s steam cannon put a wound on the army general… I dunno how that happened! Nevertheless, this wound was promtply replaced in Mark’s ensuing magic phase (I was unable to stop it). The highlights of Mark’s turn were the wraith’s charging my Gyro, but only managing to wound it once. Because we were even on unit strength I wouldn’t auto-break, and promptly passed my break test. The Gyro might be dead soon, but for now he was still doing the job of march blocking Mark’s main offensive line.

The mistake I made in this turn was placing my Gyro poorly. I hadn’t counted on the 12” charge range of the Wraiths and a flee reaction would have taken the Gyro through the Grave Guard unit, destroying it. My magical defences were just about managing to divert all Mark’s power dice into regenerating his units, although at this stage not much of his offensive magic was in range anyway. I was gutted about the Stone Thrower, but these things happen. With a couple more turns of firing this baby I could have really put the hurt on.

Turn 3:

This turn was fairly uneventful. My shooting whittled away at his General’s Grave Guard and screening skellies, but up to now I wasn’t managing to do enough damage to really make Mark worry too much. In this turn I marched both Hammerer units out towards the middle of the table, presenting flanks to both skelly units. They were still quite a way apart from each other, meaning a wide gap between them (and no BSB re-rolls for my General if he should take the bait), but time was running out. The wraiths had managed to wound the Gyro again in their last turn, but were still tied up. This time they finished it off, leaving Mark’s Grave Guard free to march in his turn.

The skellies took the bait and charged, resulting in two set-the-stone reactions. The Grave Guards units advanced, wheeling towards the Hammerers for charges next turn (or this if he managed the use the Dance Macabre). The Wraiths jumped over his general’s unit to cover them from a flank shot at his general’s unit from one of my bolties, but the other was open to my second. In combat, the Lord issued his challenge, only for it to be declined. The Hammerers on the left lost this first combat due to fluffed rolls for me both in the hurting stakes and the armour saves I was forced to make, fortunately the unit held firm. I’d opted to use hand-weapon shield with the unit while my Lord used his great weapon. On the other side I issued another challenge, which was similarly declined. Winning the combat by a small margin had very little effect on this combat.

So the scene was set for the rest of the game. Mark was determined to take down my two big blocks, he’d well and truly taken the bait. The only thing he had left to take out the rest of my army were the Wraiths, who looked set to join the combat with the BSB. I’d succeeded in limiting Mark’s heavy hitters to three turns of combat, not ideal, but at least he was committed. I just had to hope my stubborn troops could hold on and deal out enough damage to win the game. Unfortunately, Mark’s tactic of putting all his eggs in the one basket by placing all his characters in the heaviest hitting Grave Guard Unit (with regenerate) was a sound tactic. He only had to kill one of my units to win…

Turn 4:

Movement this turn was nonexistent for me. Two of my Quarrellers unloaded on the General’s Guard unit, while the other attempted to strip a rank from the other unit headed for my General. They hit loads (as they are wont to do) but casualties were minimal. The left hand bolt thrower took town a Wraith while the other took the flank shot on the Grave Guard, removing that rank but only killing two to do so. Combat was fairly stale, both my units won, resulting in more crumblage, but Mark had increased these unit’s to at least 20 strong before they charged in (I had pretty much allowed him to do so, saving my dispel dice for other things) so they stuck around in both cases.

In Mark’s turn he charged both Grave Guard units in and moved the remaining Wraiths around to to the BSB’s flank so that he could get them both in with their great weapons (otherwise he’s only get one). My BSB challenged and took a wound from the Grave Guard Champion before summarily dispatching him. The Unded won this round and I failed my first break test, but passed on the re-roll. That was tense. The Vamps had done a reasonable amount of damage for not much in return. The Lord swung the other combat with overkill. Mark threw the Grave Guard champion in on the offchance that he was able to get a killing blow (which wouldn’t matter as the Lord and BSB were both immune). There was quite a substantial crumble on the skelly unit (which was provided rank bonuses), but the Grave Guard were within BSB range so lost slightly less.

I made a major mistake in this turn, and that was failing to move my Quarrellers up to support the Hammerers. My central boys should have ranked up and moved forward, allowing the bolties to shuffle around ready for next turn. I allowed myself to get fixated on the units that were still in the open, where the damage would have been minimal anyway. My desire to shoot hampered my original plan when I should have just sucked it up and sacrificed the extra shots. In the long run they had very little effect on the game. Sure, Mark’s Wraiths could have taken their pick of targets, but rank and outnumber would stand in my favour in any one of them and that would leave the others free to move in.

Turn 5:

With very little to shoot I was dying to move my Quarrellers up to support the two combat’s swinging the grind in my favour. Unfortunately to do so would have meant blocking my Bolt Thrower’s lines of sight to thw Wraiths. Only the unit on the hill had any scope, so they angled towards the flank of the right hand skeleton unit. Everyone else just ranked up, while the Runesmiths joined the Quarreller units closest to them. In combat the grind continued. My Lord was consistently beating up the Skeleton Champion with massive overkill bonuses and his Grave Guard seemed incapable of rolling any killing blows, meaning they Lord’s unit was winning combat consistently. If only I could stop him regenerating those units these boys were in with a chance of outgrinding their foes. The other combat didn’t go so well. In my turn we held on by the skin of our teeth, but in Mark’s turn he managed to slay my BSB (he was only wounded twice all game, but of course he failed his save on both occasions). This was all too much for the Hammerers and they broke, only to be run down by both units.

My bad luck was Mark’s misfortune in this turn, but I also made a critical error yet again. Knowing that I had no re-roll to fall back on I should have used my Rune of Determination for an auto-hold. This could have meant the different between losing and drawing the game – at this stage there wasn’t much I could do to force the win in my favour. This combined with my other mistakes earlier in the game were a welcome gift for Mark’s Vampire Counts.

Turn 6:

I had to do what I could to win some points back, though things were looking grim by now. My right hand side Quarrellers had a sweet flank on the skelly unit that had just run down my Hammerers. Passing their fear test saw them crash in and win the combat substantively, reducing them to about 10 or 11 models. The Lord carried on the good work he was doing, but Mark finally managed to make some killing blow rolls to reduce this unit below half strength, they didn’t break though. My bolt throwers finished off the wraiths, scoring two sweet hits and causing enough wounds to wipe the unit out. In Mark’s turn he debated using Van Hel’s to get his vampire lord into the other main combat or charging the closest unit of Quarrellers. In the end he went for the Quarrellers, reasoning that I might choose to flee and he could then use the Dance to move his characters. Obviously I chose to hold, as that was the only way I had any chance of denying him full points for the unit and the character. A slim chance, but a chance nevertheless. He killed five Dwarfs and wounded the Runesmith, netting him half points even before the break test… so it was all down to that elusive roll for Insane Bravery! DOUBLE ONE!!! The doughty lads succeeded where the Hammerers had failed and that without the aid of any poxy runes!

With that combat over all that remained was to total up the points.

Victory Points

Mark scored 1322 from me, while I scored 750 from him, making it a 572 difference and a Minor Victory for the Vampire Counts.

Post Game Summary:

In this game I suffered from a number of deficiencies. First of all my deployment area didn’t really suit my army. Perhaps I should have sacrificed some of my shooting in order to have a more cohesive formation from the beginning. My shooting, while fairly lacklustre, did succeed in diverting most of Mark’s power dice into supporting his unit strength, but I have gained some experience in what to let through and what to stop. And that, at the end of the day was my biggest disadvantage: my lack of experience in fighting the Undead. Here is a summary of what I learned:

Selective dispel: some spells can be allowed to get through, others should be stopped if at all possible. Mark’s Skeletons were his main source of rank bonuses, focusing my efforts here rather than on the Grave Guard may have paid dividends. The fact that he had +2 to his attempts to raise Skeletons made it more difficult, and so I was inclined to put my dice where they would have more chance. This may have been a mistake.

A cannon or two with the RoBurning would have allowed me to force more “Look out, sir!” tests on his general (and he failed a couple during the early turns

This could have won me the game before combat was even joined.
Missile troops are little more than a distraction vs the Undead, a third combat block would have given me an enormous advantage. It’s the War Machines that deal out the damage.

All in all it was still an enjoyable game, it had it’s highlights for me with the Gyrocopter lasting a lot longer than it should have, the Vampire getting staked in turn 2 and that Insane Bravery roll in the final turn. My limited experience vs the Undead has generally been of a rather dull grinding match, but Mark is a great opponent and this was his first victory against Dwarfs EVER! So a great game was had by all.

If only my Hammerers hadn’t run away…


John said...

Very nice report, really like the reflective commments

John said...

How do you get the Rate it Star thing on each of your posts?

Sigmar said...


I've posted you a private message through the forum with the instructions.

You are the member "Kiwi" aren't you ??

All the best,

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