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Dreadwood Wargrove vs Blades of Khorne - a sobering experience


Nico

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I had a sobering experience yesterday down at the South London Legion - it was my fifth game with my Sylvaneth and my fourth defeat. Admittedly none of these were in a tournament setting. I played against the new Shinies - Blades of Khorne - wielded by John @Gitli

I took this list:

Allegiance: Sylvaneth

Leaders
Treelord Ancient (300)
- General
- Artefact: Briarsheath 
- Deepwood Spell: Verdant Blessing
Treelord Ancient (300)
- Artefact: Moonstone of the Hidden Ways 
- Deepwood Spell: Regrowth

Battleline
10 x Dryads (120)
5 x Tree-Revenants (100)
- Sylvaneth Battleline
5 x Tree-Revenants (100)
- Sylvaneth Battleline

Units
5 x Spite-Revenants (100)
5 x Spite-Revenants (100)
5 x Spite-Revenants (100)
5 x Spite-Revenants (100)
6 x Kurnoth Hunters (360)
- Scythes
3 x Kurnoth Hunters (180)
- Greatbows

Battalions
Dreadwood Wargrove (100)
Outcasts (40)

Total: 2000/2000
 

The Battleplan from the SCGT pack favoured me as I needed to use generals to score diagonally opposite objectives (failing which more models scored).  John had deployed quite aggressively on my right to attack my objective. John's general and a ring of 10 Maras were on my left.

I deployed my Wyldwood on his objective as a Les Martin Cluster. I figured that John probably wouldn't swap sides and I would be able to do some damage with 

I was aware of the availability of Brazen Runes which would be a once per game auto-unbind with infinite range. These were a horrible prospect for an army as Magic Dependent as Sylvaneth.

Dreadwood Wargrove

The basic plan was to use Ambush to redeploy the Scythe Hunters to come and smash John's general, then hopefully the rest of his army would get in the way of itself as it tried to react.

I rolled up 3 abilities on the D3 - so I could use all 3 abilities. You need to plan on the basis of one such ability.

On reflection, the unbinding is either an ability or a form of "casting spells" point discussed above should have meant that he couldn't use the auto unbinds as they were capped to a 12" range by Hidden Attackers (although this is ambiguous).

I also used Sneak Attack, although following the FAQ to decapitate the Free Spirits - this ability appears to be almost useless due to the low movement speed of Sylvaneth and the ability to use Navigate Realmroots instead. The exceptions would be Alarielle and possibly Drycha, as she would be able to move 9" and then 9" and then use Flitterfuries to hit much of an enemy bunker. Another use would be if you had no Wyldwood in the middle and wanted to lob forward a line of 20 Dryads to act as a shield - as they could move 7" plus a further 7" and a run in the movement phase.

I took turn one and used Awakening on the Wyldwood - this bounced off the 2++ ward vs spells that the Brazen Rune also provides until expended and killed a few Reavers. I realised with dismay that the Wyldwoods generated by the Ancient cannot be used that turn for the purposes of Navigate Realmroots (as they have to be more than 3" from any model) - Verdant Blessing is different. Luckily I cast Verdant Blessing and popped another Wyldwood down near my general and the rest of my forces.

I used a combination of Navigate Realmroots and 

I left the Dryads in reserve (probably a mistake). I figured that some Bravery debuffs would really hurt the Khorne forces so I moved in with them.

I shot up the 30 Blood Reavers with the Kurnoth Hunters - killing 12 - This prompted me to charge in with the Tree Revenants and 5 Spite Revenants. The hope was that the unit would pop, but that I would be able to block the Warriors and the Wrathbros behind in John's next turn . However, as I only just made the charges the Spites were behind the Revenants when I would have preferred the opposite.

On the left, I killed 8 Bloodreavers of the 10 ringing the Mighty Lord. However, when it came to charge I found that John has legally broken coherency in order to block the gaps between the tree stumps. This meant that only 3 of the Kurnoths got into range and only the Champion against the Mighty Lord. Had I spotted this beforehand I would have gone into the Khorgoraths full throttle and hopefully dropped the unit of 3 (I had taken the Damned buff in exchange for 3 wounds). The non-general Ancient failed a long charge as the Bloodreavers near the Lord who had been 9" away were all dead as did the right Tree Revenants. The general one say back a little on John's objective behind a screen of 5 Spite Revenants.

What happened next was horrific. 3 of the Scythe Hunters were out of combat even with a 2" reach. The Champion bounced off the Mighty Lord (not that surprisingly. However, John passed 2 out of 4 saves on sixes for his Blood Warriors, so the total damage inflicted was 1.5 Blood Warriors and 2 Blood Reavers from my hammer unit. I'd completely thrown away the game turn one it seemed. 

John attacked back with the depleted Blood Reavers, who were only 2 attacks each at the moment. They killed 3 Tree Revenants but no Spites. In response I activated the Spite Revenants who had also charged the Mighty Lord - they actually did a wound before the Mighty Lord deleted them.

Then came the Khorgis at 3+, 3+, -1 rend, 2 damage. All 3 managed to get in and John rolled up 8 wounds. I proceeded to fail 6 of the saves - which came to 12 wounds plus the 3 earlier ones - 3 Dead Kurnoth Hunters in my turn! Plus this activated a Bravery debuff.

The Spites and Tree Revenants did poorly. It's inexplicable to me that Tree Revenants aren't 3+ to hit (considering the army has no buffs to hit rolls whatsoever) and these chaps are the same cost per model as Phoenix Guard and Temple Guard. Battleshock meant that all bar 2 of the Blood Reavers popped. 

However, the tragic news was to come as I rolled badly for the Kurnoths and a further 2 models fled. 5 dead in my turn! Perhaps my worst first turn ever in AoS. I also lost the Tree Revenants even with the reroll - I think they are awful for 100 points - they should be 90 at most. 

I was considering whether to concede at this point. I was at least on a 3-0 lead and I wanted to see what the BoK could do.

In short John moved his Wrathbros towards my general and the Mighty Lord came out to try to get him as well with the Reality Splitting Axe. This time the Les Martin Cluster worked in my favour as the fat base of the MLoK together with the remaining Spite Revenants meant that he had to go a long way round or waste a turn on the Spites. The Blood Warriors on the left went into the other Ancient, who had done nothing so far. The Moonstone was a complete waste of space on this. The plan had been to have him up with the Kurnoths unleashing the stomps to help keep them alive, but due to my bad positioning, he had ended up in the wrong place and out of combat. 

The Blood Warriors chomped up the Ancient, while the Khorgis thankfully failed a mid range charge. John cleared up my front line on the right flank.

John won the initiative and got his General and the Wrathbros into my Ancient.

I skillfully forgot about Gnarled Warrior for some reason, so John chipped away some wounds. An elaborate multi turn dance began whereby the Ancient with extra attacks from the Wrathbros hoped to do serious damage to the Mighty Lord only for it to pass its saves or its 5++ vs melee attacks (new trait)! John got to roll on the Reality Splitting Axe (now it kicks in immediately rather than at the end of the phase, which resolves the previous rules query as to whether you still have to roll if the MLoK is dead - Rule of Cool said yes!). However, he failed.

Several turns later I still had a lead of 4-0, but in the pivotal combat, the MLoK took D6 damage from my Branch attacks, only for me to roll 2 wounds and then for him to save both of them with the Ward. Then the 2 Talon attacks (still one Wrathbro) hit him and again the ward save held!. John responded as only Khorne could - splitting my reality. I promptly conceded

Reflections

The positives were that despite the bad start, the army was still able to stand up to the Khorne forces for some time. The stars were the 10 Dryads who alone managed to hold up 10 Blood Warriors for 2 turns. 

The negatives were the Spite Revenants the Tree Revenants, the Bow Hunters and the Battalion itself. The Spites only seem to function in a scenario where they enemy are coming towards you and you're hiding in Wyldwoods. This jars with the Dreadwood Battalion itself which seems to operate as an alpha strike list (although it could be used as a bunker perhaps).

The Tree Revanants melted so easily and even when they were able to pounce on the Bloodsecrator in my second turn, they didn't achieve much. Managing 2 wounds (admittedly against a 3+ save) over 2 turns of combat. 

I simply don't understand the supposed power of Bow Hunters, the 4+ to hit just puts them in mediocre or swingy land to me - the range is great, but I'm more impressed by Raptors (let alone Skyfires). I resorted to taking the Damned buff (even without Regrowth as John unbound it automatically), but they still underwhelmed.

The Khorne Book looks solid. The Pilgrims with the rerollable saves and the autounbinds were huge. John rapidly got to 8 Blood Tithe (good work Spite Revenants....sigh) and used the 7 ability.

I'm going to tear up the list - a paid of Ancients seems like a complete fail.

On the plus side, I then got to go and be a guest a few hours later on Warhammer Weekly with @Vincent Venturella and @Thomas Lyons, which was epico! #MostlyGrots

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I wanted to field a similar battalion but if Sneek Attack only moves units on the board it seriously neuters an alpha strike list which the battalion needs if it hopes to work.  That's just is disappointing if it's true.

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