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Battle Report: LoG vs Cities of Sigmar - Phoenix Guard

Battleplan: Places of Arcane Power

Total Points Played: 1520

Terrain: Random per GHB, no terrain with warscroll cards

Armies

  • Legion of Grief
    • Heroes
      • Dreadblade Harrow
        • General - Command Trait: Vassal of the Craven King
      • Necromancer
        • Artefact: Aetherquartz Brooch
        • Spell Lore: Dread Withering
      • Guardian of Souls
        • Spell Lore: Dread Withering
      • Knight of Shrouds
    • Battlelines
      • Chainrasp Horde x20
      • Chainrasp Horde x20
    • Other
      • Grimghast Reapers x30
      • Dreadscythe Harridans x10
      • Dreadscythe Harridans x10
  • Cities of Sigmar
    • Heroes
      • Celestial Huracanum
      • Annointed
      • Freeguild General
    • Non-Heroes
      • Phoenix Guard x20
      • Phoenix Guard x20
      • Freeguild Crossbows x20
      • Freeguild Crossbows x20

Deployment

Gravesites: I deployed three of my gravesites in a triangle. The first two went to either side of the center objective, just outside 9" from it. I had to place one fully in my territory,  but the other I placed just on the other side of the dividing line. The third point of the triangle was just outside 9" from the center objective on my side of the field. The fourth gravesite I placed in my opponent's deep field, a full 9" from both board edges. This meant that the first turn would be spent outside of any of their auras, but counting on my opponent's traditionally slow speed I wasn't concerned that I couldn't reach them even if he went first.

Cities of Sigmar won the roll-off and deployed first. He opted for a tight formation, hugging the offset side of the board in order to keep everything within the various auras available to him. This placed him just opposite the center objective from me, but closer to the one on my left than the one on the right.

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I decided to split my deployment. In the center I deployed my Grimghast Reapers, bulking them up in front of my Necromancer. To the objective on the right (hidden by the haunted house) I placed both units of my Dreadscythe Harridans and my Knight of Shrouds. That left both of my units of Chainrasp Hordes to deploy as close as I could get them to the far left objective. The terrain there pushed me a bit further out than I'd like.

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Gameplay

CoS finished deployment 4 units before I could, so priority went to him to decide the first round. He opted I move first. This was unusual. He usually moves first, and in half measures to bait you to into range of his crossbows. But, me putting the bulk of my forces directly opposite him, as well as a grave in his backfield, he needed a moment to try to figure just what I was up to. Passing the turn to me I moved normal moves on all my units, making sure to stop just short of where his crossbow range would be after his move, and ran my heroes toward each objective behind their screens. 

On his move, his slowness meant that even after his move I was out of range of all but a couple spells. He cast them, some mortals were dealt to me that I couldn't shrug successfully, but in the end round 1 passed without much incident.

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Round two came to me first. I spent my Hero phase giving my Reapers Mystic Shield, which was successful and not unbound. I didn't have anything else defensive to cast, and he was still out of range for Dread Withering, so I spent my round just making sure my heroes could cap each objective and that they were protected by a ton of models for fencing. His half was spent pelting both my Reapers and Chainrasps with his ranged while moving his melee closer. Still, just out of range for a charge. Some easily-passed Battleshock rolls later and the turn was over.

End of Round 2 Score: LoG 3 points, CoS 0

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Turn 3 was my opponent's. This...did not go well for me. It was a bloodbath. It was a goddamned massacre! Spells ripped through my Reapers, ranged attacks eviscerated both them and my Chainrasps, but only after he focused Guardian of Souls for 4 wounds and melted my Necromancer off the board. My Deathless saves just didn't roll high enough, and after losing my Necro I was losing Reapers by the handful. Heroes were targeted and erased. Reapers were softened. Rasps were mostly intact.

My response was swift. Rasps and Reapers charged, but only the Reapers made it. Without my artefact I opted not to spend any CP yet for the charges in case I need them to bring back my units. The Reapers engaged, and after the exchange I wiped out half of one of his Guard units and splashed a few MWs onto the hero parked with them, but on the counter attack my Reapers were no more.

My silent wish? To get the top of the next round and bring back my Reapers, either at the gravesite where my Dreadblade was already parked, or at the gravesite in my opponent's backfield.

End of Round 3 Score: LoG 7 points, CoS 0

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My wish was denied. CoS got the top of turn 4. Woe was my poor Guardian of Souls. Woe was another handful of Chainrasps. Worse than that, his magic and his advancing ranged line brought woe to my Dreadblade. Say a silent prayer for him, because he did all of nothing this entire game and on the verge of his entire worth being paid for in the form of Endless Legions, he popped like a Nurgle pustule, unable to move out of the way before they came gunning for him. (He's in the picture near that far gravesite because I was talking out what my next move was going to be to my friend, and now he's taunting me.)

After his cloud of bolts was over, he was able to advance onto the center objective and claim it. Meanwhile, his other Phoenix Guard split off to head for the next nearest objective, engaging my Chainrasps and removing them from the board.

Mid-Round 4 Score: LoG 7 points, CoS 1

On my half of the turn, I took stock of my situation. My only hero left was my KoS. My only units left were my Dreadscythes. It looked pretty bleak. But then I started counting. Despite losing almost everything, all I needed to do was hold my last objective. My Dreadscythes finally moved (represented here by some Glaivewraith proxies).  2 CPs on their runs to net a full 14" movement, they barreled into the bottleneck of the terrain to deny my opponent movement toward my KoS. The KoS himself moved back just enough to still cap the objective at the edge of the 3" this battleplan demands. I formed the Hot Gates from 300 (not really) using my Dreadscythes as the doors and the terrain as the walls. Now, the ball was in my opponent's court.

End of Round 4 Score: LoG 10 points, CoS 1

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He won the roll off for turn 5. He capped his second objective. He engaged my Dreadscythes, who despite their lack of buffs and lack of Deathless managed to hold their own with minimal losses. They swung back hard, those 2 damages on nat 6 wounds hurting his melee line. The turn passed quickly.

Mid-Round 5 Score: LoG 10 points, CoS 3

At the top of my turn, all I could do was laugh. I had cinched the game. All I had to do was pass the turn and take my 4 points. But first, I had to press my attack with the Dreadscythes just for fun.

I had never fielded them before, and while my original plan was to spend some CP on them and get them close to a GoS and see just what they could do at full tilt, I was very surprised how they performed without all that. I'm so used to my Bladegheists only having 3 attacks on a charge, but now that I have used my Dreadscythes I think their -1 hit bubble is way more powerful a buff than a 3's-across-the-board attack profile by a mile.  My opponent, my friend, is used to seeing the same from me, so he was eager to see how they performed as well.

They piled in to attack his ranged line and managed, at 6 or 7 models, wipe half of his unit. Their counter-attack was nerfed to near-ineffectiveness. The other unit came at his Guard which took the beating much better, but I rolled well enough on the wounds and he not so well on the saves that even a number of them fell. We both were very happy to see these guys swing for the fences, and they will be a staple in my games to come.

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Final Score: LoG 14 points, CoS 3

What went well

  • Battleplan
    • Not only did I have more heroes on the table with which I could grab an objective, their even distribution meant that the battles themselves were fairly easy to predict. Deployments alone were enough to know where the pain points were going to be.
  • Terrain
    • Terrain will almost always favor Nighthaunt units, and here was no different. Being able to fly meant that I could ignore most of it, where my opponent could not. I was able to make use of the pinch points on the sides (again, these were determined randomly via GHB, and he chose the side of the table we started on) and force the battles to occur on my terms.
  • Speed
    • Once again, Nighthaunt's speed is one of our stellar qualities. Being able to cover the distance to the objectives so quickly meant I had the early advantage on points. This speed also meant that I could take the fight to him further out away from those objectives in case I needed to recoup before he could cap them.
  • Gravesites
    • Placing three of my graves so close to each other proved a game-changer in terms of keeping my opponents occupied longer than he wanted to be. He had to eat up 3 turns just getting through my regenerating Reapers, which while that went by fast and I couldn't stand up to the sheer amount of wounds he could put out, it didn't matter in the end. That bought me all the time in the world. My fourth gravesite? He eyed it every turn, every move. He had to factor it in with every choice he made. The only time he was ever confident with a choice he was making was after he realized he had my general dead-to-rights and knew he could kill him.
  • Deployment
    • For the first time I felt solid about my deployment strategy. This is in part due to the battleplan and partly the gravesite locations. I felt confident that I could meet his challenge head on instead of an uphill battle. And it helped that I put so much pressure on my opponent from turn 1 that a whole detachment on the right side of the board was ignored until it was too late.

What went wrong

  • Hero placement?
    • I should have either turfed my Necromancer to the left side and the GoS center, or some other mix similar to that. The Necromancer got a Danse off, and while it was nice I was throwing attacks against a battleline that was saving on 4s with a save-after-save of 4s, who could strike back with 2+s or 3+s with lots of attacks. Perhaps with a GoS backing my Reapers more of my own wounds would have gotten through instead of buffing my Chainrasps that saw no real action. In addition, I was afraid of advancing my Dreadscythes because I knew they would go in buffless.
  • Dreadscythes
    • They took too long to do anything. If I had parked my Necro where the KoS was I could have had them swinging for 3A/2+/2+/-1/1 and sometimes 2 damage, assuming my GoS was nearby as well. Instead, I benched some of my best ghosts on the sidelines to watch the whole battle. In the end that was probably the better move, but I'm thinking not.
  • OMG DAT DAMBLAGE
    • Since getting the Cities book I have not won a game against them until now. Hallowheart, Hammerhal, and now Phoenix Guard, my friend is really good at finding unit synergies that this book offers and bringing out the pain. He regularly can put together a kill team that can swing with the best damage profiles, save with the best protections, and toss in the right buffs at the right time to make it all just an overwhelming force. I am saying this is something that went wrong because we're capable of this, too, albeit in a more focused manner, and I didn't pull that off. But, this proves a point that Nighthaunt are an objective-game army. I tried to meet him in the middle and take on his entire army with 30 Reapers. That didn't go so well. We're ethereal, and we're already dead, but that doesn't stop us from being sent back to the grave.

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EnixLHQ, great battle report, thank you for sharing.  Did you understand what could be our answer to shooting armies?

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21 minutes ago, Ferrus65 said:

EnixLHQ, great battle report, thank you for sharing.  Did you understand what could be our answer to shooting armies?

You've got a couple of options.

  • Gravesites, several of them, where you are going to be taking ranged damage. Since you can designate a unit per gravesite, and that can be the same unit, you stand to heal up to 4d3 models from that alone. If you tuck a Necromancer in with the unit, minding not to let him get pelted, you can throw in another d3. Minimum 5, maximum 15 models back per hero phase before considering GoS's Spectral Lure or any other source of healing.
    • I suggest no more than 3 gravesites in your battle zone. Put that 4th somewhere that keep your opponent hesitant to move their deployment too far.
  • Speed. We have a lot of units that can move 8", and a few that can move 12". Before I took my turn I made a few calculations; I measured my opponent's full move and full move+run to predict where they were going to be at their shooting phase, and then measured how long their ranged attack was. I knew I could move X" on my turn, let him move on his, and still be out of range the first turn but be close enough for a charge roll on my next after move.
    • If this means running on your first turn in order to set that up, then consider it. But don't leave your heroes too far behind or risk not shrugging wounds.

Despite any of the above, your most important move is to read the objectives of your particular scenario carefully. Play for points. We're sneaky, resurrecting, fast units, so your best bet is always going to be to amass your points. We have horde units that are great at camping, and fast units that are great at claiming. If you can take a point early and hold it longer, then you'll likely win despite taking heavy losses.

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