Today a friend and I headed off to warhammer world to test out my initial rules for the Ironweld Arsenal, it was my first proper chance to test the army outside of crude number crafting and math hammering in a vacuum to look at how it could perform in a realworld (fantasy world) scenario. With my opponent new to the freshly released Flesheater Courts it was the ideal opportunity to test the strength of the tome against a modern, competitive and decent build Battletome with each force deploying a variety of units without angling to tournament or overly competitive builds.
To begin with here is my army list, comprised of literally what I have assembled thus far:
Allegiance: Ironweld Arsenal
House Allegiance: Midnight City
The Midnight Aspirant (220)
Ironsworn Templar (260)
Command Trait: Artisan Engineer (May repair friendly Cogwork units as though an Engineer)
Masterwork Design: Attentuated Protector Valves (May deal mortal wounds to enemies nearby at the start of the combat phase)
Heraldry of the Midnight City
Master of Shot (80)
Command Trait: Leader of Men (Second character granted a command trait from city of midnight allegiance)
Ironduke Coghauler (300)
Artificer Cogwork: Ironbark Bulwark (ignores the first point of rend)
Heraldry of the Midnight City
Weld Militia x 10 (90)
Weld Riflemen x 20 (200)
Weld Phalanx x 10 (100)
Cogstrider Lancers (120)
Heraldry of the Midnight City
Ironweld Helblaster Volleygun (120)
My opponent ran a variety of lists throughout the day, mostly centred around 2 blocks of 20 man Ghouls, a pair of Ghoul Kings (terrorgeist and zombie dragon respectively) and an Arch Regent. In various builds there were either Horrors or Flayers in the list, and often it involved summoning in a Vargulf Courtier.
GAME 1 -
In the first game three objectives were deployed on the battlefield, one to the centre and one in each of the deployment zone. In fluff this was little more than a border skirmish as the Weld began to encroach onto the barren lands ravaged by the Courts and provided a good framework for us to test our initial forces out without heavy objectives weighig over us.
Having lost both the deployment roll and moved into taking the first turn I had little to do other than inch up the battlefield, utterly failing with the long rifles both on the Steam Tank and Master of Shot (A pattern throughout the day, neither did a thing across 18 turns in 4 games). With my turn over the flesh eaters tore across the battlefield, out of range to charge but able to deal a good number of mortal wounds from both the flayers and the terrorgeists to punish the low bravery of my Weld Guard and Labourers.
With the tides of Ghouls now supported by advancing horrors I commited far too much of my force to blocking down his larger units, committing firepower to levelling some horrors and ghouls but struggling with his multiple saves (Armour, Unnatural resilience (spell), bonus death save)), as I lacked mortal wound output it really began to show here, with the Rifles hitting and wounding on 4's a mere quarter actually delivered wounds with my opponent able to wittle down 200 points of shooting down to a mere one or two damage I began to feel that perhaps I had made mistakes in the unit design.
The Weld Phalanx ability to inflict defensive mortal wounds on an enemy proved effective not only in wounding those who approached but in deterring later charges. Only having 10 of them limited their ability to form a proper defensive line and I believe that in larger numbers they might prove an effective deterrent to oncoming enemies. When committed to melee however their low number of attacks were poorly placed against this particular foe but would have been better served against less resilient opponents.
Highlights of the game for me came by way of the Lancers and Ironsworn Templar delivering a fatal blow to his Zombie Dragon, combining the two on the charge allowed me to deal a high amount of quality damage that did something to mitigate my lack of mortal wound output.
At the end of the game i had a mere 3 models remaining and my foe was at 1400 points left.
- The Midnight Aspirant command ability became a crutch in a game it was poorly placed, there is no outlasting Flesheaters in combat, allowing myself extra saves cannot compete with summoning, revivival, and triple save units.
- I forgot to use the command ability from the Master of Shot to increase the to hit and wound for riflemen units, in later games I would come to appreciate the ability of it.
- In the entire game I forgot the plentiful cache rule on my Cogfort allowing me to attempt to shoot an embarked unit in the hero phase, whilst only a 5+ chance this combied with the above command ability would have dramatically increased damage output.
After the first game we broke for lunch allowing us a chance to chat over what had gone well and what needed to change, the concensus was largely that the Riflemen were a poor mans Handgunners, a 4+ 4+ is simply not in the same ballpark as the handgunners units, and at a cost of 100 points per 10 it is a poor points efficiency. Going forward we trialed them as a 4+ 3+ with the to wound stat matching other gunpowder units now to see if this brings their points costs back into effective levels.
Here in the second game we moved into a relic mission, it was a good way of drawing both armies into a bitter fight at the centre of the board and allowed a game the focused on my opponents desire to move his army forward rather than baby sitting a central objective. Again I lost pretty much every priority roll throughout the game, however this time he opted to take the first turn in order to summon in flayers and a vargulf in close proximity to my starting army followed by moving and advancing the rest of the force up the field. Doing so left his army strung out in three stages, with the flayers and vargulf far in advance, the two behemoths sat in the midfield and in the rears all of his ghouls and the archregent.
In my first turn this allowed me to approach his piecemeal army as a series of targets of opportunity, having split my riflemen down to two units of ten for the course of the game and managing a hero phase set of shots with one from the Cogfort I levelled the flayers to a single model. Combining fire from the riflemen, helblaster and the lancers into the zombie dragon I dropped it to half wounds before sending the Ironsworn templar in to valiantly impale the now wounded beast and end the combat in the turn it began
Losing yet another priority roll allowed his horrors and terrogeist to impale into the Phalanx, destroying the fragile ten man wall in a single combat phase whilst his ghouls encircled the Ironsworn Templar. On the far side my lancers could finish off the final member of the flayer unit and I directed the Ironduke, Aspirants and all of my handgunners into the Terrorgeist in an impressive hail of fire that made it fragile to the charge of the Ironduke.
Ending my turn both behemoths were dead (or redead in the case of the zombie dragon, his knights all fallen and with just ghouls and an archregent in play he conceeded the game
The Ironweld are lacking the sheer speed of the courts, but their defensive mortal wound output and short range firepower are strong deterrents to oncoming forces. Poor dicerolls on my part made both the Ironduke and Master of Shot questionable in terms of damage output however the command ability on the Master of Shot was an invaluable asset.
The Ironsworn Templar command ability better suits a generic faction command ability, removing it from the warscroll and adjusting points accordingly may see him fall better in line with his potential.
The Midnight Aspirant is fun, but not game swinging, her command ability would be better served against foes that could be outlasted or with larger Weld Guard units to benefit, still she really added alot of personality to the game so I enjoyed her.
Labourers are made of tissue paper, suitable really but their handful of damage output was a nice boost to what essentially came as ablative wounds for the Volley gun.
NEVER FORGET TO REPAIR, with half the army Cogwork and between my Command Trait and the Aspirant I could of healed two units a turn but got over excited and often forgot, same with healing the Ironduke by a wound a turn.