Date: 16th November 2019
Army: Legions of Grief with Buff-o-Rama
Opponent: Regan O'Halloran - Legion of Night with Debuff Focus
Game Type: Matched Play 2000pts
Scenario: Border War 2019 (rolled at random)
We rolled out the random terrain and ended up with a healthy blend of new and old rules, with the large centerpiece terrain model and the piece next to it yielding overgrown which would have been neat if either of us had shooting attacks or any ranged focus. We placed our Gravesites predominantly on (my) left side, both clearly planning to strongly contest the point there. Regan won the rolloff, but with no Commanding or Arcane terrain on the table he opted to take the side with the least terrain to prevent him moving around, being fully aware that my army cannot receive cover saves from terrain anyway. In a canny play of tactics Regan didn't deploy his Vargheists till the end, and opted to NOT ambush anything in his army. Of course by the time this revealed itself, I had placed my 40 Chainrasps behind my army to cover off any potential ambushes (last game we played he ambushed and killed two support heroes nearly immediately), his subtle mind-game tricking me into deploying my army further back from him than I normally would, ensuring I would be making no massive moves into his army turn 1. With both sides set up and Regan having the choice of who would start, he categorically selected me (man loves that Double Turn potential) and gave me the first move.
(Besides what is visible above, Regan has paid for a Balewind Vortex and an extra Command Point. I have also paid for an extra Command Point)
Battle Round 1 - Bore-der War
Having been given turn 1 in Border War, I began the process of doing exactly what everyone playing Border War on turn 1 EVER does, moving up to tag the side objectives and score 5 points. My hero phase was brief, immediately failing to cast Mystic Shield on turn 1 always gets my hopes high. I had some good runs, had to spend a Command Point to nab a 6 to run after the Chainrasps on the right rolled a 1 and was rewarded by receiving 2 Command Points back from my Vassal/Broach combo. My troops moved up on all fronts to insulate my home objective (and Gravesites) and the flanks secured both objectives with enough models to make sure Regan would need to seriously commit to take each from me. Confident I had taken the best available course of action, I passed to Regan.
Regan's hero phase was a lot more exciting than my own. He immediately summoned a Balewind Vortex while dropping Morbeg's Claw, granting his Necromancer and Mannfred von Carstein +2 to their casting rolls. Largely out of range for now (and with my Myrmourn Banshees close at hand) they kept their casting succinct, laying down Mystic Shield and Van Hel's Dance Macabre on the leftmost unit of Skeletons with Swords. Neferata blessed the unit of Vargheists nearest to her with Dark Mist, and both units then immediately closed in on my unit of Myrmourn Banshees.
I had left a 5" gap between my unit of Dreadscythe Haridans and my Myrmourn Banshees, ensuring that no massive boost to movement could place a model between the units in the move phase, and that a charge that carried the unit over the front rank would draw both into combat and guarantee the destruction of the enemy. Regan rolled a modest charge and instead opted to dump all of his attacks into the Myrmourn. Half the unit was immediately evaporated, and the other half was able to kill a Vargheist in the other unit before meeting the same fate themselves. Regan's other flank failed to get enough skeletons into range of the point to capture it from me, and he scored 3 points.
Priority Phase came around with myself winning the toss. With no Predatory spells in play and me being close enough to Regan to immediately cop a charge from him should he go, I elected to take the turn.
End of Battle Round 1 Score: Aiden 5 - Regan 3
Battle Round 2 - Dirty Debuffs, Done Dirt Cheap
In keeping with the grand tradition, I opened my turn by attempting to cast Van Hel's Dance Macabre on my Grimghast Reapers and immediately failed to cast it. Disappointed but not surprised, I ordered my ghostly legions into a full advance. The Dreadblade Harrow warped into being within 9" of a Gravesite, and the 40 Chainrasps moved up to replace the 20 Dreadscythe Harridans as they began their advance forward to the Varghiests. On the left flank, the 10 Chainrasps advanced JUST far enough to recap the objective from Neferata and her backup Skeleton dancers. On the right flank, the Chainrasps and Dreadscythe Harridans heavily consolidated their grip on that objective, and the Grimghast mobilized forward to charge the 40 Skeletons with Spears. With the moves finished, the Dreadblade Harrow called to beyond with a Command Point (and got it back) to return my slain Myrmourn Banshees to existence. The Grimghast Reapers then swept in, intent on sweeping the skulls from the skeletal bodies of their opponents.
Activating the Grimghast Reapers first (being consciously aware that the massive pile of attacks from the Skeletons would be adequate to brick the unit entirely) I started swinging my scythes around. Without a single buff the unit managed to strike down half the unit, clipping it's combat effectiveness on the strike back. Regan then activated his Vargheists into my Dreadscythe Harridans on the other side of the table. Fortunately, I rolled extremely well on armor saves and Deathless Minions saves, and lost barely a handful. In retaliation they shaved away both Vargheist units, leaving a single model in each unit. The Skeletons struck back on the other flank, but their reduced numbers and impressive saves from the Grimghast Reapers saw only 3 fall. Regan spent a Command Point (and got it back) on the Skeletons to dodge the brutal Battleshock test. I scored another 5 Victory Points and the turn passed to him.
Regan's hero phase began with no less than 10 Skeletons returning to his unit of Skeletons, giving them their combat buffs back. Then he began casting some magic from his Necromancer, Mannfred and Neferata. After a few unmodifed 9's to cast on Fading Vigor and Overwhelming Dread he had turn my Dreadscythe Harridans into having 1 attack and hitting at -1, then popped a Command Point to use Neferata's Twilight Allure to make sure the turn went his way. Regan's moves were relatively conservative - Mannfred drifted behind the Balewind Vortex to bide his time, Neferata advanced to make sure she could charge the Chainrasps holding the left objective on a 3, and everything else largely stayed where it was. With no shooting either, he went straight to charges. Predictably, Neferata and her entourage of Skeletons thundered into the 10 Chainrasps. Predictably Regan opted to activate his Skeletons fighting the Grimghast Reapers first, and pumped 100+ attacks into them. Amazingly 3 Grimghast Reapers survived. The Dreadscythes were pumped up by the Knight of Shrouds to have a more reasonable hit rate and were able to slice apart the last Vargheist in one unit and leave the other bitterly wounded. Neferata obviously killed 10 Chainrasps, though it was actually a close thing. The Grimghast Reapers spitefully murdered another handful of Skeletons before disappearing in the battleshock phase.
Going into the Priority Phase, Regan was able to beat me in the roll and take the turn. While a double turn at the start of the third battle round would be damning, his unit of Skeletons with Spears had a unit of Chainrasps in front of them to prevent their easy advance (I had a feeling this could happen) and the other flank had to stay where it was to prevent a mass sweeping advance from my main force.
End of Battle Round 2 Score: Aiden 10 - Regan 8
Battle Round 3 - Vampire Queen, Deceiver, Mortarch... Assassin?
The Gravesites once again were good to Regan, bringing his large Skeleton unit even closer to full fighting strength. The debuffs (almost) all went off again without a hitch, this time Neferata's Dark Mist was unbound by a unit of Myrmourn Banshees, netting themselves an extra attack in the process. The Dreadscythes had been once again heavily clipped in their effectiveness, and in an extreme display of believing in the heart of the cards, Regan burned his last Command Point for Neferata's Twilight Allure, and was rewarded for his faith by getting the point back. The movement phase was largely uneventful, with the Skeletons with Spears advancing to the 3" mark from the Chainrasps, and Neferata moving into position to tag the entire left half of the table with her aura. Mannfred smelt weakness on the wind and charged the debuffed Dreadscythe Harridans, and the Skeletons then expectedly charged the Chainrasps. What wasn't expected however was Neferata then charging 11" to place herself behind my army and in range with my... Dreadblade Harrow. Having horrific flashbacks of the last time Regan pulled a similar move, I spent a Command Point at the start of the combat phase on All Out Defense, scoring a Mystic Shield-esque reroll of 1's to save. I also popped the Knight of Shrouds Command Ability Spectral Overseer twice to grant +2 to hit rolls to units wholly within 12" of himself, offsetting Twilight Allure's -1 to hit. Neferata went first and threw everything she had into the Dreadblade, who, astoundingly, only took 3 wounds total. Neferata's infamous Dagger of Jet failed to instantly slay the Dreadblade Harrow, and her assassination attempt was foiled. The Dreadscythes, pumped up to not being completely worthless by Spectral Overseer, were able to score a few hits on Mannfred's Armor of Templehoff, which negated one wound and saw him take a meager 3. The Skeletons swept away the Chainrasps immediately, and Mannfred was able to kill half a dozen Dreadscythe Harridans with sweeping blows from Gheistvor. Neferata faced 8 attacks from 4 Myrmourn Banshees, and with their hit and wound rolls buffed by the Knight of Shrouds and Guardian of Souls respectively, she was torn to pieces and banished to Nulahmia. Regan had recaptured the side objective and scored a solid 5 Victory Points and pulled ahead to 13.
My turn opened with a massive power-play. From my Gravesites. Dreadscythe Harridans had their numbers restored fully to 20 as they conga-lined off the fight and over the central terrain piece to wrap around Regan's exposed home objective, and the Chainrasps that had taken by-blows from Mannfred's repeated Winds of Death blasts returned to full strength. The Necromancer, likely suddenly aware that his point cost was coincidentally the same as bumping my unit of Grimghast Reapers to 30 and taking a Prismatic Pallisade, suddenly pulled his finger out and cast Van Hel's Dance Macabre successfully on the 15 Dreadscythe Harridans near him. The Dreadblade Harrow, playing it safe after his brush with death, warped into the center of the Chainrasp Horde holding the home objective. The Dreadscythes near Mannfred promptly retreated and wrapped themselves tightly around the opposing home objective, After the forces had moved into position, the Dreadblade Harrow once again exercised his mastery of the dark arts and returned 20 Grimghast Reapers to the table. The Dreadscythe Harridans thundered into the Chainrasps, supported by remaining wholly within 12" of the nearby Knight of Shrouds. The Myrmourn Banshees, retaining their bonus attack due to the wording of Spell-Eaters, closed in on Mannfred and his supporting units to ensure he didn't chase the retreating Dreadscythe Harridans. The Skeletons had their numbers obliterated by screeching Dreadscythe Harridans finally having a chance to trade blows, and the Myrmourn Banshees took the brunt of Mannfred's enraged fury, halving the unit. The remainder struck back, crippling Mannfred down to a mere handful of wounds remaining. The Skeletons received Regan's last Command Point to stay on the table and denying me the side objective by a single model.
Taking the home objective from Regan while retaining my own netted me 5 points, and I won the priority roll. Surveying the table, Regan opted to surrender as my return of the Grimghast Reapers and ability to summon 2 units of 10 Chainrasps onto the left objective meant I would capture all the points in the concurrent turn.
End of Battle Round 3 Score: Aiden 15 - Regan 13
Final Outcome: Major Victory to Aiden and the Legion of Grief.
What went well
- Not investing points into buffing the Grimghast Reapers and instead supporting the less efficient factors of the army (Myrmourn Banshees, Dreadscythe Harridans) gave the army a consistency it carried all game.
- Reviving slain units every battle round after round 1 ensured a brutal attrition game that favored me.
- Screening my heroes (mostly) well ensured all 4 lived till the end of the game.
What went poorly
- The Dreadblade Harrow nearly dying to Neferata was a massive misplay by me, he should never be in a situation where he can have an enemy successfully pile into him.
- I should have just tagged the unit of Skeletons with Spears on the flank with Grimghast Reapers and waste their combats rather than fight them head on.
- Make more use of All Out Defense rather than just when desperate to stay alive as it will improve the durability of my threat units, which are almost always illegible to receive it due to being wholly within 12" of a Knight of Shrouds or Guardian of Souls.
All around a great game. Regan's debuff list caught me off guard at first and almost stole the game early on. After his recent defeats of me I was however able to apply what I had learned and pull out a win to bring our scoreboard back to an even 3/3.
Regan's twitter: @PaintPyrow
My Twitter: @ThreeTwoPrince