Saturday, 27 August 2016

Battle Report: Push! Trident Realms vs Dwarfs

Played a casual game against my mate Matt. We wanted to test out our lists for Clash of Kings Australia (aka CanCon), and to practice the new scenarios added in the CoK pack.

Matt usually plays Elves, but is building a Dwarf army for CoKAU, using the absolutely stunning range from Scibor. Neither of our armies are much more than MDF templates and sticky notes at this stage, so no photos this time.

We had a lot of fun this game. My talk of salt and rage below is more dramatic license than anything else. The FLGS we play at (Three D6) has a pub attached to it (The Loaded Dice), and let me tell you, drinking and toy soldiers is just a fantastic way to spend an evening. However, the excellent mead MAY have contributed to us forgetting a ton of rules. Maybe. Many thanks to Matt for taking a lot of notes during the match. Makes the report-writing process way easier when you have 2 people working on it.

My List:

  • Horde Placoderms
  • Horde Gigas
  • Horde Naiad Wyrmriders
  • 2 x Regiments Tidal Swarm
  • 2 x Leviathan's Banes
  • Coral Giant
  • Kraken
  • Placoderm Defender with Wings of the Honeymaze
  • Siren
  • Trident King
This is the same list I've been running for a while now. I love it. I'm considering dropping the Kraken for another Coral Giant and some magic items, but I dunno.

His List:

Very much a work in progress:
  • Regiment Berserkers
  • Troop Berserkers
  • 2 x Regiment Berserker Brock Riders, one with Caterpillar
  • Horde Ironclad with Mastiff
  • 2 x Regiments Ironguard
  • 2 x Ironbelcher Organ Gun
  • Jorrun Bombard
  • Warsmith
  • Army Standard Bearer
  • Mounted Berserker Lord
  • King on a Large Beast with Blade of the Beast Slayer
I have only played one game against Dwarfs before, and I'm not very across them at all. But at first glance the list seemed a bit odd. A mix of war machines for shooting, heavy infantry as an anvil, and Zerks for hammers. Apart from the war machines, no can-openers. The Warsmith was interesting. He gave elite to the organ guns, but is he more useful than another war machine?

Scenario

We rolled between Push and Control, and Push won. Push is a new scenario from the CoK pack. You set up, and then place one loot token in the dead centre of the board. Then you distribute D3 extra tokens in your own deployment zone. At the end of 6/7 turns, you score 1 point for each token you control, 2 if the unit carrying the token is completely in your opponent's half of the board. It's fun.

Deployment

Deployment
On reflection this was a weird terrain setup. Matt won the roll and chose the north edge. That's a hill in the centre, another hill off to the right. The thing at the top centre is a forest, and in the bottom centre is a swamp.

I deployed in a slightly modified version of my usual Dark Tide formation. Front rank of my Def 6+ Placoderms and Gigas plus Tidal Swarm chaff, reserve rank of my Coral Giant, Wyrmriders, Trident King and Kraken. My war machines were tucked away in the swamp to get cover and to hopefully put some dents in the Ironguard. My Siren and Winged Defender were ready to disrupt his war machine battery from Turn 2.

He deployed in a more spread formation, with Brock Riders on each flank. He had a very obvious anvil in the centre with his Ironclad + Ironguard, but all of his hammers were out on the flanks.

We rolled off, and Matt gave me first turn. He wanted me to advance into his Organ Guns. 

Turn 1

Trident Realm Turn 1
I placed my two loot tokens on my Trident King and Kraken. My thinking was that the Kraken hangs around forever, and that my Trident King would always be well protected in the centre-back of my main force. Matt placed one on his Pathfinder Brock Riders on the left, and the other just behind his Ironguard in the centre.

I moved my force up pretty uniformly, shooting my Siren and Defender off to threaten his warmachine battery in Turn 2. I aimed to take hold of that vital centre token early, and force him to take it off me. My war machines missed all their shots (at the Ironguard Regiment screening his token), but it's early days right?

Dwarfs Turn 1
He shuffled his centre around slightly, but moved his flanks in aggressively. We forgot an absolute ton of rules this game, but this was the first one. Carrying the loot token reduces speed to 5, his Brock Riders on the left shouldn't have been able to do what they did. Didn't effect the outcome though.

But this was all fumbling foreplay. Like a teenage boy he was all about the shooting phase. His Bombard and one Organ Gun fired on my Winged Defender, doing 1 wound, steady nerve result. His other Organ Gun fired an optimistic volley at my stealthy individual Siren. 15 attacks hitting on 7s (so 8 elite dice on 6s). He managed 3 fucking wounds out of that roll. Three. As in one plus one plus one. And then he rolls 11 for the nerve check! And just like that my poor lovely Siren who never did no-one any harm was killed. My internal sodium levels spiked at maximum salt, let me tell you.

this guy. look at him. that's a filthy smirk if you ever saw one.

Turn 2

Trident Realms Turn 2
I was rattled and salty, so I made a pretty critical mistake. I charged his Bombard with my Winged Defender, but we both forgot about the triple attacks. So I rolled 6 attacks instead of 18. 5 hits, but no wounds. Def 5+ war machines hey. This meant that the Bombard was not disordered. I was pretty crabby at not scoring a single result of 5+ off 5 rolls. I wouldn't twig to the forgotten triple attacks until Matt attacked one of my war engines. It sucked. 

I moved the rest of my forces up, taking that vital centre token with my placoderms. So despite some terrible dice rolls, at least I was in a winning position. I left my Coral Giant behind to defend my war machines. Which missed again. Come on that's 8 rolls now and not a single result of 5+.

Dwarfs Turn 2
This turn nearly broke me. His Bombard fired at point blank range at my Winged Defender, and managed to hit and waver her. His Organ Guns landed an impressive 10 wounds on my Kraken, which got a bit lucky and held steady.

His Zerk Troop barely made a dent on my tidal swarm, a hindered charge into a unit with ensnare will do that hey. His Zerk Lord made a similar hindered & ensnared attack on my Leviathan's Bane, only landing 9 hits (despite the 3x attacks). But thanks to 4 vicious re-rolls those 9 hits translated to 9 wounds, and the Lord overran out of the swamp and more importantly out of charge arc of my guard Giant. FFS.

Overall he continued to hold in the centre and creep in on the flanks. I might have been holding 3 of the 5 tokens now, but I couldn't see that situation lasting long.

At this point I felt like basically nothing was working for me. I was enjoying the mead and the company, but internally I was pretty down on my list. Stupid toy soldiers. Civ 6 is coming out soon...

Turn 3

Trident Realms Turn 3
But I played on. My Kraken did his party trick and schlurped back 6 wounds, leaving him with 4. He then charged into the Brock Riders, hoping to knock off Thunderous and soften them up a bit. If I had looked more carefully at this list I might have reconsidered this move. 24 attacks is not something you really want to face tank if you can help it, even if you have ensnare.

My main block of units continued to advance. Things were a bit congested in the centre, so I decided to reform my Wyrmriders to support my Coral Giant and address the growing threat on my left flank. I had wanted to get them into the Ironclad Horde, but I couldn't make things fit. I double charged his Zerk Troop and killed them with my Placs and Tidal Swarm. The Swarm did an impressive 5 wounds, you go little fishies! My Trident King moved forward and used his breath attack to waver one of his Organ Guns on a re-roll. My remaining Leviathan's Bane missed because of course it did.

Dwarfs Turn 3
His Bombard managed to hit my Winged Defender AGAIN and waver her AGAIN. He reshuffled some units in his centre, trying to get his other war machines firing lanes. His Zerk Lord took out my final war machine, and in a very nasty surprise his Brock Riders routed my Kraken with a single ensnared charge and stole the token he was carrying. 24 attacks on 5s. 14 hits. Yikes. 11 WOUNDS WTF. Despite the Very Inspiring presence of the Trident King, my Kraken was not able to roll <4.

My Tidal Swarms continued to be excellent chaff, holding off a Regiment of Iron Guard comfortably. Right now he had 3 tokens, I had 2. It just keep getting worse.

Turn 4

Trident Realms Turn 4
I danced my Defender around, using the good old nimble + backwards trick to take it out of firing arc of the Bombard. For all the good it did.

My Plac horde went on on his Ironclad horde in a long-awaited clash. I did some wounds but I was never going to pop them in one go. My Trident King wavered his organ gun again (thanks to another inspiring re-roll). My Gigas decided to try and chase the Brock Riders on my right. I don't know why I thought a Speed 4 unit could possibly catch cavalry, but I really didn't want to give them a flank so that's what I did.

My Wyrmriders took out his Zerk Lord and reformed to face the King, Brock Riders and Zerk Regiment. At this point I just wanted to kill stuff. The game might be lost, but hopefully I could make up some theoretical points on attrition.

Dwarfs Turn 4
He finally shot my Defender off the table. Even though she didn't do any damage (at all), she did tie up 4 rounds of shooting, and that's not nothing. His Bombard missed my Trident King thank fuck. My tidal swarms routed, but his infantry really struggled to put a dent in my Def 6+ Placoderms, only doing 3 wounds total.

On my left flank he shuffled his token carrying Brock Riders back, screening them with his Bear King.

Turn 5

Trident Realms Turn 5
This was the turning point. I managed to get a filthy filthy charge on his token-carrying Brocks with my Wyrmriders, bypassing his screening King and Zerk Regiment. At first glance, it looked like his Brocks were out of charge range. But they were in arc, and from my leader point to a corner of his base they were just in 16" (the line passing over the Bear King). With a pivot and an effective charge range of like 20" I got in. I've had this same maneuver pulled against me and let me tell you it sucks.

My Coral Giant managed to sneak past the King and Zerk Regiment too, setting up for a follow-up flank attack into the Brocks if necessary and avoiding all arcs. My Wyrmriders managed an impressive 13 wounds, but the Brocks held.

His Ironclad Horde routed under combined attacks from my Plac Horde and a flank from my Trident King.

All of a sudden the situation changed. I held 2 tokens, he held 3, but I was threatening 2 of those hard. Did I dare to dream?

Dwarfs Turn 5
He countercharged and reformed generally. He kept his Brocks on my right flank out of the fray, setting them up to easily score the 2 points by crossing into my side of the board turn 6. Again he struggled to make any dent in my Plac Horde, only doing 1 more wound. Rather than charge my Trident King (he wanted to shoot at him instead), he moved one of his Ironguard regiments in a position to rear charge the Placs next turn. This was one of those situations where I denied the flank he was in because he couldn't fit in there (due to my king). It's one of those rules that I understand, but don't really like.

He managed to land 5 wounds on my Trident King with his Organ Gun, and I got a bit lucky to get a steady result. He needed a 7 to waver me.

His King and Zerks reformed to face my Giant and Wyrmriders. His countercharging Brocks put 6 wounds on my Wyrms and wavered them. Was going to go down to the wire.

Turn 6

Trident Realms Turn 6
My Wyrmriders regenerated 1 wound and reformed, giving up flank charges instead of rears. Not a great alternative, but I didn't have much in the way of options. My Coral Giant got in the flank of the Brocks, popped them, stole the token, reformed to face the Zerks and Bear King. Now I had 3 out of the 5 tokens and was in a winning position!

My Trident King charged into and finally routed that damned Organ Gun, reforming to move his arse out of the Brock's line-of-sight. My Gigas got a flank charge into his Iron Guard Regiment, but didn't even manage to waver it. My Placs put 8 wounds on his other Ironguard, but they also held.

Dwarfs Turn 6
We were set up for a very tense final turn. He double charged my Giant with his Zerks and Bear King. He double charged my Placoderms with one Ironguard Reg in the front and another in the rear. He fired at my wounded Trident King with an Organ Gun, Warsmith and Bombard.

But it was just not enough. He wavered my Giant and Trident King, but all his attacks on my Placs only resulted in 1 wound. Def 6+ against naked attacks is just crippling.

The Trident King was wavered by the remaining Organ Gun, and my Coral Giant was wavered from a double charge by the King and Zerk Regiment.

We rolled for Turn 7, but the game ended there, with me winning 5 points to 3.

If we had gone to turn 7, I was reasonably confident in picking up one more of his tokens, even if I lost the one on my giant. That would have put the final score at 6-4 to me, so no change in outcome. However if the dice had rolled a little differently on his final turn he could have ended up with like a 6-0 victory.

This was a very strange game. Between massively skewed rolls and us forgetting basic rules, I'm not sure it means a lot. Like sure, I like to win, but we forgot SO MUCH STUFF. In the end I think the absurd rolls and forgotten rules balanced out. Still.

Thoughts

I need my Leviathan's Banes to actually hit. 4 attacks on 5s each round should get me at least one hit right.

My Kraken cannot hold a flank by itself. Considering dropping it for another Coral Giant and a couple of magic items. But regen 4+ and ensnare does make for a great mobile tar pit, so I dunno.

This was only the second time I'd played the Push scenario. Grabbing that centre token first is a huge advantage. I understand why Matt gave me first turn, he wanted to be able to use his 24" range Organ Guns, but giving up that centre token is a huge price to pay for a single round of shooting.

I probably should have placed a token on my Plac horde instead of my Kraken. But I don't want to overreact, 11 wounds in one round from a disordered & ensnared charge of Brocks is... let's say an outlier outcome.

Scibor models are gorgeous. I mean they'd want to be for the price, but they really are spectacular even unpainted. I am very excited to see what Matt does with these. He insists that he hates painting and doesn't like hobby and isn't very good, but anyone who's seen his elves will know he's no slouch with the brush.

Berserkers are ridiculous. High Nerve and unwaverable. Ridiculous.

The Zerk Lord on a mount is a mongrel of a thing to deal with. Like the Abyssal Halfbreed Champions, has a massive threat range.

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