It’s been far too long since I managed to get in a game against Justinmatters, so we remedied that situation over a couple of beers earlier this week. I was running late so we just used old lists. In my case, it was the Great Bray Shaman-based herd I’ve been playing with lately, which looks like this:
Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Jagged Dagger, Lore of Shadow (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour, Shield (BSB)
Bray Shaman, Level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)
24 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
25 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G)
30 Ungors, full command (U)
8 Ungor raiders, musician (UR)
2 Tuskgor Chariots (TC1 and TC2)
Justinmatters dragged a couple of army lists out of his cupboard and ended up with this mob of greenskinned reprobates.
Orc Big Boss, Martog’s Best Basha, Ironcurse Icon (BB)
Orc Big Boss, BSB (er, BSB)
Orc Shaman, Level 2, dispel scroll (OS)
Goblin Shaman, wolf (GS)
2 x 25 Orc Boyz, full command (B1 and B2)
2 x 30 Night Goblins, full command (NG1 and NG2), 2 fanatics each (F1 to F4)
10 Wolf Riders, full command (WR)
10 Spider Riders, full command (SR)
Rock Lobber, Orc bully (RL)
Until the end of the game, we thought that the Goblin Shaman was a Level 2, so he rolled up two spells etc. One of the Night Goblin blocks had paid for nets, but we forgot about them in the game. I don’t think it made much difference in the end. I’m also not sure why neither of the Big Bosses have any armour at all, and there are a couple of things the Justinmatters said later that he’d planned to change but hadn’t gotten round to doing (for example giving the Orcs either an extra weapon or a shield).
Anyway, we rolled up the scenario as usual, getting the same Dawn Attack that we had used in our only previous game of Warhammer. With Forkbanger‘s assistance, we randomised the terrain, and surprisingly ended up with only barricades, hills, forests and rivers despite getting 9 goes on the chart. The hill in the North West is just a normal one, the one in the South is a Scree Slope and in the middle there is an Anvil of Vaul. In the North there is a line of walls, and the South has a matching set of fences. So unless the forests and river really go wild then this’ll be the most mundane game of Warhammer ever (apart from when we played a scenario with no random terrain).
We select our spells, with the Great Bray Shaman taking my favourite combination of Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering and Pit of Shades and the Bray Shaman taking Transformation of Kadon in addition to the usual Wyssan’s Wildform. After seeing this Chimera miniature, I was looking forward to having him turn into one and munch some Orcs (in my mind’s eye of course; I don’t actually own that bad boy). The Orc Shaman got Waaagh! and Fists of Gork, and the Goblin had Brain Bursta and Gaze of Gork. The Orcs and Goblins set up first, getting a handful of units forced out to the flanks, then passed turn one to the Beastmen (who had been channeled into the middle by the dice rolls; hence the slightly odd placement of one of the Tuskgor Chariots). Before any movement, we had this arrangement.
I wasn’t actually expecting to get the first turn, but it was actually quite lucky I did since the river turned out to be a boiling flood, so I had a chance to get the Raiders out of danger before they were all cooked. Everyone else just raced forward as quickly as possible, since the best answer for artillery is surely to be in close combat; the Bestigors moving through what turns out to be a normal wood. I realise at this point I’ve put the Harpies in a stupid place so I move them into the centre to start threatening the Rock Lobber (it doesn’t look like from my diagram, but there was no where they could land safely that was in range and wouldn’t just mean them being charged straight away). My big worry is the Giant since I’ve never faced a big monster and I’m not sure how to deal with. Naturally I go to Plan A, trying to drop his initiative with Miasma (dispelled) then put him into a Pit of Shades. The big spell goes off but he passes the initiative test anyway. So at the end of the turn, all I’ve achieved is to close the distance a little.
Justinmatters shows me how dumb I am with the Harpies, predictably (now that I look back) charging them with the Giant. The only good things here are that 1) if the Giant splats them and overruns, he’ll be heading away from the combat and 2) if the Harpies manage to hold, then at least the Giant is standing in the boiling flood. Elsewhere, the Boyz with the Big Boss and BSB squabble, and the Spider Riders move forward a bit thanks to ‘We’ll show ’em!’. I guess that this wasn’t part of the plan since they don’t move further. With no shooting in my list there’s no rush for the Orcs to get stuck in quicker than necessary. In the magic phase, a cheeky 1 die casting of Brain Bursta on the Ungors fails to make the necessary roll, so that’s it for the Goblin Shaman. The Orc Shaman irresistably casts Fists of Mork on the Bestigors, pummeling 4 of them to death. The miscast causes him to become stupid and frenzied which doesn’t sound too bad to me. The Rock Lobber lobs a rock with pin-point accuracy onto the Bestigors, squashing another 4 of them. It’s not a great day to be a Bestigor so far today. The Night Goblins in the West loose their arrows at the Gors but incredibly don’t cause even a single wound. We move onto the fight between the Harpies and the Giant with me expecting a serious beating for my winged menaces. It doesn’t go that way though – the Harpies manage to get a wound on the big guy, and he swings with club, rolling only a single hit which fails to even wound. Since he charged, it is a draw, but to add insult to injury he takes another wound from the river.
Unfortunately I’m still not in charge range so my goats will have to take another round of shooting before the ‘safety’ of melee. The winds of magic only roll 2,2 and I blow them all on trying to drop the Rock Lobber into the Pit of Shades. This also goes off irresistably, and the resulting explosion wounds the Great Bray Shaman and vapourises another 3 Bestigors (that’s why he’s in the corner of the unit, of course). Even worse, the template scatters so far that it doesn’t even hit the war machine anyway, meaning that I’ll get another rock dropped somewhere unpleasant next turn. The Harpies incredibly put another wound on the Giant who again swings with club, rolls only 2 hits and then rolls 1,1 to wound. I think he’s swinging a piece of foam at them or something. Then to top it off, he fails his stubborn 10 leadership check and is sent packing. The Harpies try to pursue but unfortunately I roll low and they don’t catch him (which would have been epic).
Orc & Goblin turn 2 begins with a mighty Waaagh! being called. The Spider Riders, both Boyz mobs and the Night Goblins in the East move toward my units menacingly. This brings the Night Goblins within 8″ of the triumphant Harpies who are duly smashed to paste by the pair of Fanatics released. The Raiders promptly fail their panic check and leg it back to the ‘safety’ of the boiling flood. Morons. All this and we haven’t even declared a charge yet. So the Spider Riders hit the Chariot, Wolf Riders hit the Ungors and the Orcs contact the Gors and Bestigors. Well, at least that stops my beasts from being pincushioned by Night Goblin arrows or squashed by lobbed rocks. The Giant rallies, reforming to face the flank of the Bestigors. Finally, the Night Goblins in the middle move up and release another two Fanatics, one of which pulverises another couple of Bestigors. The magic phase is even less impressive than the last turn, with 2,1 power dice available. The Orc Shaman throws all the dice at another Fists of Gork on the Bestigors, but to my relief it fails to cast. The Rock Lobber shoots at virtually the only possible target, the Raiders who are slowly cooking themselves in the river and obligingly misfires; it’ll take the Goblins two turns to repair the machine. In close combat, we decide to begin in the West and move East. The Spider Riders lose a couple to the charioteers, but win combat easily and catch the fleeing cart. The long overrun leaves them a long way from the rest of the action though. After a bit of slapping each other with handbags the fight between the Ungors and the Wolf Riders is a draw, but numbers are on the Ungors’ side in this one. The Shaman’s Boyz regret charging primal furied, extra hand weapon Gors and are nearly halved in number after a round of excellent rolling from me. They kill a couple in return and hold on a BSB re-roll; they’re not looking forward to the next round though (especially since Justinmatters knows full well that it’ll be hex o’clock in my magic phase). The Boyz kill a few Bestigors, but not nearly so many as the Bestigors kill Orcs. Due to the losses on the way in, the Bestigor ranks are depleted, allowing the Orcs to hold steadfast. Finally, a couple of raiders are cooked by the river, and the Bray Shaman takes a wound.
Very much against my expectations, the Raider manage to rally, thus ensuring that they’ll get another round of being burned by the river and that my only movement is the glacial pace of the chariot going round the forest in the East in an attempt to influence the game at all. The winds of magic are good to me, giving me 6,3 dice to play with. Enfeebling Foe on the Boyz fighting the Bestigors is dispelled using all the dispel dice, so I’m feeling good. Unfortunately, the Bray Shaman fails a simple casting of Wyssan’s Wildform on the Bestigors (they are seriously outnumbered at this point and I’m not expecting them to hold on for much longer). The Great Bray Shaman does manage to put Withering on the other Boyz unit for -2 toughness to ensure that the Gors will wound them on 3s instead of 5s. We begin the combats in the West again, with the Ungors killing most of the Wolf Riders and making the survivors head for the hills with their tails between their legs (note that I forgot they were fighting over an Anvil of Vaul which should have made the Wolf Riders fear the Ungors). The Ungors reform to face the fights in the middle, which I’m expecting to last for a while. I am pleasingly proved wrong when the Gors do another number on the Orc they’re fighting. The Boyz can’t manage the insane courage they’d need to stay in the fight (even on a BSB re-roll) and are run down by the Gors. The only slight sour note is that they pursued about an inch short of contacting the Night Goblins, which would have saved them from a lot of arrows. The dice come to my rescue with the Bestigors, allowing me to make an improbable number of armour saves and keep them in the fight. Plenty of Orcs are hewn apart by the return strikes, and when it’s all done we count up for another draw.
The Night Goblins in the East squabble, presumably unaware of the Chariot creeping up on them from behind. The Giant is in the mood for taking out his earlier failings on the Bestigors so he charges in with a hungry look on his face. The Fanatics whirl round causing carnage; one of them falls in the river, the other 3 kill a couple of Orcs and Beastmen between them. To my great irritation, one ends up in a position that I’ll need to land on him with the Gors if I want them to charge the Night Goblins. Which of course I do, otherwise they’ll get another round of shooting like this one, which downs seven of them (they don’t panic though, fortunately). In the main combat, the Giant tries to eat a Bestigor, but he is fought off (so that’s him still not caused a single wound). After another round of amazing armour saves, the Orcs are down to just the General and the BSB. The Giant stays in combat, but even he needs a re-roll for that. The General legs it, with the BSB heroically/idiotically hurling himself to his doom amongst the Bestigors, who gladly despoil his banner and raise it as their own. The Bray Shaman finishes being cooked by the river, as do another couple of Raiders.
The Gors charge the Night Goblins in the centre, losing another 6 to the fanatic, and the chariot finally does something by charging the rear of the other Night Goblins. The Ungors reform to face the Spider Riders, and the surviving Raiders finally drag themselves out of the river. In the magic phase, The Great Bray Shaman, as the only surviving spell caster, starts to take control. The Night Goblins get Enfeebling Foe (-2S) on them; the Gors are dangerously low on bodies and it would be embarrassing to take more wounds from the Night Goblins than necessary. Withering reduces the Giant’s toughness by 3 which will make dealing with him a lot easier. The Raiders finally do something useful by dropping a Fanatic. Even including impact hits the chariot only manages to kill a single Night Goblin (admittedly for no loss) and the pesky little blighters hold. The Night Goblins in the middle do a lot less well, failing to inflict any wounds and fleeing despite being steadfast against the depleted Gors; they don’t make it to safety. In the main event, the Great Bray Shaman winds up and gets four hits against the T3 Giant, but rolls three 1s to wound, so the Giant gets one last chance to redeem himself. Going with what he knew best, the mighty foam club was swung, getting four hits but again rolling three 1s to wound. I think that the Bestigor must have died laughing. The rest of the Bestigors duly fell the huge monster.
The Big Boss rallies, saving himself the shameful but useful position of being first to the pub (the Wolf Riders get that honour). The Spider Riders head past the Ungors to avoid a charge, and that’s about it for movement. The Rock Lobber continues its rich vein of form by misfiring again and collapsing (shoddy workmanship I suppose, although Justinmatters’ artillery dice do seem to have a lot of misfires on them – he should use Furycat’s which appear to have none). The chariot takes a wound from the Night Goblins, does none back and flees, escaping them by only a few inches. Very disappointing, especially after all the build up of driving round that forest.
At this point, it’s already late, so we agree that the Beastmen are probably winning and aren’t likely to let go. So, victory for the Beastmen!
Quite a good close game, but I think that I was kept in it by the dice. The Bestigors made more than their fair share of armour saves, and the Giant in particular couldn’t roll high except on leadership tests. It was only when writing this up that I remembered that we forgot to do the falling Giant rules when he was killed, and (more importantly) that he should have been thunderstomping all my pesky little dudes into the dust. That alone would have radically changed the course of the game, so I’m probably due a defeat on this one.
Anyway, I think it is time to try out a new list, so I’m thinking of losing the Ungors and chariots and replacing them with more Gors and testing Razorgors. I should probably give the Lore of Death a chance too. I’ll chuck a list together and see how it pans out.