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Battle Report: Border War


flowerpot_chimp

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Another FEC report because work on my Ironjawz is currently a crawl. Have finished converting the 10 Ardboyz but highlighting the spines on the Maw Krusha is an absolute pain! I apologise for the unfinished Crypt Flayers, I'd very quickly slapped some paint on them for this game as I'd never used them before so they were bottom of my to-do list.

Border War

Originally we wanted to play a more narrative scenario and maybe try out a time of war, however once we'd gotten around to actually playing it was already quite late so we just picked one of the more interesting matched play scenarios. Once the Maw Krusha is finished I'd like to play Raging Fury as that seems like a good way to introduce the Ironjawz into narrative play!

The Armies

Few corrections to below: the Ghoul King on Zombie Dragon had the cursed book and the Varghulf had the Tomb Blade. Pretty sure the Relictor had a Lichebone Pennant (thematic!) and there was a Veritant and Gryph Hound on the table as well.

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Deployment

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I'd wanted to do a detailed blow-by-blow of the game because it was really close and had some great moments but we were on the booze and quite frankly everything after turn ~2 is a little bit more disordered in my memory. Instead I'll just pick up on the main points, especially because I brought what is probably a pretty unusual FEC build.

The Game

I finished deploying first, thanks to Royal Mordants being a pretty big drop, and elected to give The Stormcast the first turn. This very much surprised my opponent, and in truth whilst I wanted to try for a double turn I also massively underestimated how quickly the Stormcast can get across the board, not having faced the Hammerstrike Force before.

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As you can see, the Prosecutors ran forwards and used the Hammerstrike ability to deliver two units of Retributors right on top of my home objective! This is what totally caught me off guard, and why my opponent was surprised I gave him the first turn. His clutch of heroes grabbed his home objective and he got some Liberators near the side objective next to the Dragonfate Dias as well. Fortunately nothing was in range of the objective on the Ophidian Archway. The Judicators plinked some wounds off the Dragon, the Heraldor did some ineffective tooting and I sweated some buckets as the Venator tried to snipe off my Ghoul King on foot, but I fortunately passed my armour save! The Stormcast grabbed a cool 7 points turn 1 so things were looking rough.

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I did manage to get the double turn, which really helped to stop the Stormcast running away with it. I piled a unit of Ghouls and the big block of Horrors into the Retributors sitting on my home objective, whilst the Flayers took one flank and the dragon took the other. The Zombie Dragon was absolutely glorious this game, I'd never really appreciated quite how good the shooting attack on this model is! Even on an MSU army like the Stormcast with lots of 5-man units, the auto hit ability is very likely to trigger, and the massive rend and damage on the attack just rips through those small Stormcast units. On my first turn I only managed to secure a side objective and score 2 points, and got 3 more the turn after as the Horrors ground into the Retributors. 

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The Retributors did manage to blow up the Ghouls they were fighting, but never really managed to get much hurt on the Horrors. The Prosecutors got stuck in on my home objective to add their numbers to capture it, giving the Stormcast a 13 - 5 lead on me in the mid-game. Remembering that the dragon had the Cursed Book was a major factor, as I've previously struggled with the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth. Denying him all of his explodes-on-6s effects was massive and the dragon chewed up the Dracoth in a couple of rounds of combat.

The Flayers also managed to do something! They screamed one entire Liberator to death before charging into the blob of stuff on the Stormcast home objective and they managed to take down a unit of Liberators and the Venator before finally being cut down by the surprisingly choppy Relictor and Veritant. This meant that later in the game a 10 strong Ghoul unit could grab that objective for me with the Stormcast just not having the numbers to contest it, as the Ghouls have really struggled to get through Liberators in the past.

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There was a fun moment in the final few turns of the game where the Relictor lightning chariot-ed a Gryph Hound to threaten an objective, and basically forced my poor Varghulf to sit there uselessly guarding it rather than getting stuck in as the rest of my models on that flank were either dead or had been moved off to grab other objectives!

We called the game at the end of turn 4, both sides had 18 points but the Stormcast army was basically spent (please ignore the Fulminators lurking in the last pic!), it was getting late and neither of us wanted to play out the FEC getting max points for the last round.

Final Thoughts

The Stormcast lost this one on bodies, the initial shock and awe of the Hammerstrike Force was amazing and netted them a huge early lead, but they simply couldn't keep up with the grind of the FEC and though it took a while there simply weren't enough of them left at the end of the game to contest. The Stormcast heroes are all really good, but a couple units more of Liberators would probably have won them the game - they always seem to do brilliantly when we play.

For the FEC, it was fun to play with a 'different' list (though there's only so much you can do with a small faction like this). The Death forum here is full of new player FEC army composition questions and it seems like the prevailing thoughts are going heavy on the monster mash or huge ghoul patrols. Personally I've always found the Horrors have massively over-performed - they've tanked and ground Paladins, combat heroes, Fulminators. I was also pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Crypt Flayers, sure their shooting attack is ****** but they're decently punchy with rend and mortal wound output. They're also super fast and the weird movement shenanigans of the (cheap!) Royal Mordants formation actually did a lot to get them into charge ranges! Also Pestilential Breath, just, wow yeah Pestilential Breath.

The Tomb Blade was rubbish and I spent all game wishing the Varghulf had the Cloak of Mist & Shadows.

Note

So I'm one of the apparent few who enjoy super long batreps on podcasts and stuff, but if all this is way overlong or just rambling and incoherent do let me know. I'm hoping to maybe go to a couple tournaments this year, as well as do some more narrative games and stuff on bigger tables so hopefully these will get more interesting over time. 

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