Battle Report: Consumed
I guess starting a hobby blog with a battle report is a bit back to front, but in truth I've mostly finished with my first army (Flesh-eaters), haven't made much progress on anything else and the weather's been too miserable to get good army shots in. So:
I played this battleplan with my Flesh-Eater Court against my friend Tom's beautiful Stormcast on his kitchen table. We've played a few games before, with Generals Handbook scenarios, to get a better feel for our armies. Playing Consumed was a conscious effort to work some more narrative into our games - we'd enjoyed the 'Matched Play' style games we'd played before but wanted to try out the more narrative style of gaming that AoS does so well.
Consumed was an easy choice for our first stab at narrative, the Lord Relictor's relationship with death makes him a great candidate for being captured by any Death faction! As I start to think about the background for my Court, I like the idea of them being an earlier, darker, mirror to the Stormcast. When Sigmar abandoned the mortal realms, some of the remaining free peoples would turn to anyone to deliver them from Chaos, and the infectious madness of the Abhorrent Ghoul Kings made their succor an easier pill to swallow. Tom's background is a bit more fleshed (heh) out, as he explains quite well on his podcast.
As we were setting up the game I had a few thoughts about the battleplan. Firstly it was clearly written with Khorne Bloodbound vs Stormcast in mind and my army doesn't have access to any Priests, so we houseruled it to being any Courtier could attempt the ritual. Secondly I was a bit worried about the balance. The prodigious shooting the Stormcast have access to had me concerned about losing all of my heroes very quickly, which made me want to spam Courtiers, but then having too many on the site of ritual would make it almost impossible for Tom. It struck me as a difficult balance to achieve.
As best as I can remember.
So in this game I think I made two pretty major mistakes. One of which should be pretty obvious from deployment!
Playing on a 4x4 does not leave a lot of room for error and I got greedy with the huge territory I had to deploy in and badly misjudged the outflanking possibilities of the Stormcast. Because of the outflanking rule in this scenario (and keeping the Retributors in Azyr), Tom managed to pretty handily outdeploy me, leaving an extremely exposed Zombie Dragon. In retrospect, if I wanted to be so aggressive with my dragon's deployment, I should have split the unit of 20 Ghouls into 2x10, and used one to bubble wrap the dragon and protect it from early game charges.
This is where I immediately made my second mistake, so I can't even blame it on the wine. Predictably, Tom got off a first turn charge with his Fulminators and Lord-Celestant on Dracoth, right into my Zombie Dragon. He popped the Quicksilver Draught to activate both before I could swing, and promptly did 14 wounds, killing it. I had, of course, completely forgotten about the Cursed Book. With so many Stormcast abilities exploding on 6s, this was very silly.
The Liberators moved to screen the Judicators, who shot a couple of wounds off of the Ghast Courtier on the dias. The Venator failed to hit with his star fated arrow on my Haunter Courtier, which was a nice break. In my turn I 'ritualed off' a couple of the Relictor's wounds, leaving 3 remaining and putting some pressure on Tom after the failure of the arrow. The Horrors proceeded to do horrible things to the Liberators, and a couple of Ghouls managed to pile into the Judicators, but mostly bounced off their tough armour.
Turn 2 saw the outflanking Liberator + Judicator combo ground off by the combined might of 30 Ghouls and 9 Horrors. The Judicator Prime and Venator did manage to kill the dias-mounted Ghast Courtier, but the Horror Courtier remained alive and put another wound on the Relictor. Tom did a nice move here, pulling his Fulminators back, as going forward would have left them in range of some mystical terrain, and he didn't want to take the risk. Because the Veritant had Lightning Chariot, he'd be able to propel them forward the turn after anyways.
Turn 3 and the Retributors finally passed their 3+ to teleport in and managed to make the long charge onto the Dias, pulping the Horror Courtier beneath their starsoul maces, but not before the noble Courtier had managed to perform another part of the ritual, leaving the Relictor on just one wound! I only had one Courtier left, and he was sat in the middle of the blob of Ghouls further up the table. I moved my units to best try and block the Fulminators and Retributor charges whilst leaving a funnel for my sole remaining Courtier to make a mad dash back towards the dias.
In order to have a hope in hell of making it to the dias I really needed to win this priority roll, something I'm infamously bad at! We rolled the dice and...
I won it a by a whisker! The Ghast Courtier kept running towards the dias, and my remaining troops charged to fight the elite of the Stormcast Eternals. The Horrors really surpassed themselves here, tanking the Fulminators AND Retributors beautifully.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, despite my best efforts the Stormcast managed to shoot off the Courtier before he made it to the site of the ritual. My deployment mistake had given the Fulminators free reign of their flank and whilst I'd wheeled the bulk of my army around as best I could to block them, they still got in range to shoot him down together with the Venator. Here's the board at the end of the game - the Stormcast had suffered some casualties on one flank, but it hadn't been the bloodiest game we've ever had.
I'll keep this brief if I can because this is super long already!
I really enjoyed this battleplan, even though not much died relative to games we'd played before it still felt tactical. I could probably have pretty easily won the scenario by camping the third Courtier on the dias, but by not doing so I think we struck a pretty good balance and had a fun game where Tom was under a lot of pressure but my position would always be precarious. My losing the scenario, and the Relictor's soul remaining intact, was probably the 'right' outcome for us going forwards as well!
This is my first 'finished' Warhammer army and even though I'm not a great painter it felt great pushing them around the table, it's amazing how much of a difference it made actually. I'm really looking forward to adapting more narrative scenarios (especially some of the ones that change up the format of AoS a lot, the Fiend's Lair looks great!) and starting to tweak the lists we bring based on the outcomes of the games.